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Issue No. 131 12 April 2002  

Cry Freedom
If there's a common thread running through this week's issue, it's the continuing crisis faced by workers around the globe confronting the practical reality of Free Trade.


Interview: Cross Wires
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief Chris Warren surveys the fluid state of the Australian media.

International: Two Tribes
As the Middle East burns, Andrew Casey shines a light into one of the world's darkest corners.

Activists: Beneath the Veil
A young Afghani woman has travelled to Australia to put a human face on the suffering of her people - and her gender.

Unions: Terror Australis
When push comes to shove, it appears the Howard Government is more scared of the Maritime Union than Osama Bin Laden, Jim Marr reports.

History: A Labor Footnote To The Royal Funeral
Stephen Holt reports that an intriguing Australian connection has been overlooked amidst the supposedly blanket media coverage of the end of the Bowes Lyon era.

Economics: Private Affluence, Public Rip-Off
New Labour's enthusiasm for business is matched only by its lack of business sense, as the private finance fiasco shows.

Review: The Great Hall of the People
In an extract from the latest issue of Labor Essays, the ARM's Richard Fidler looks at the symbolism behind the Republican debate.

Poetry: Waiting for the Living Wage
The Living Wage Case was heard this week. The workers� voices in this poem have been adapted from the evidence presented by low wage earners to the living wage case.

Satire: Israel Recruits NAB To Close West Bank
Israeli security forces have successfully enlisted the expert help of the National Australia Bank to close down the West Bank.


 Baby Company Punts Netball Mum

 Dairy Workers Win Global Breakthrough

 Treasury Modelling Backs ACTU Claim

 Bank Nabs Huge Sales Targets

 Come Clean � Insurance Giants Challenged

 May Day Jam and Toast

 Job Security Win For Cabin Crew

 Workers Gear-up For Pollution Fight

 Shuffling The Deck On The Yarra

 New Push On Workplace Crime

 Super Child Care Win

 Doubts Over Ettalong Wharf Funding

 The Sane Monk Stands Down

 Fabians Debate Refugees

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Unions and the Web � Where to Now?
Peter Lewis argues the time has come to revisit how trade unions interact with workers and how the Web could be the catalyst for such a change.

The Locker Room
Free To Where?
Parents with kiddies who play a bit of sport will have noticed the escalating costs associated with their kids being involved in sport.

Week in Review
The Joys of the Chop
Workers come and workers go, right? Well, it�s the way of the world but while some get stiffed, others are stuffed with obscene amounts �

 Labor and Unions - What About the Workers?
 A Voice for the Shareholders
 Noses in the Trough
 Bugger Off
 Memo: Carmen Lawrence
 Police: Make the Boss a Woman
 Baby Faced Brogden
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The Locker Room

Free To Where?

By Phil Doyle - Kicking long into a stiff southerly breeze

Parents with kiddies who play a bit of sport will have noticed the escalating costs associated with their kids being involved in sport.

As elite sportspeople haggle over millions in player payments, registration costs for junior sports often end up in three and even four figure sums.

Where's all this advertising and TV revenue money that's supposed to be filtering down to the grass roots?

Besides, I thought the game plan with modern sport was to concrete over the grass anyway, so we don't have to worry about these mysterious grass roots.

Big sport is in trouble; declining advertising and Tv revenues andescalating elite player costs are pushing entire codes to breaking point.

Phil Cleary, the former footballer and left-wing MP who enetered Federal parliament 18 years ago this week, identified tribalism as the great strength of the winter codes. He argued that TV breaks the nexus between fans - the tribe - and the sport. When the game becomes a commodity it's value falls. One of those ironical little quirks of capitalism that leaves lefties giggling.

But not the punters!

The treatment the AFL has received in NSW by Channel Nine is a case in point. Watching AFL games at two and three in the morning will do wonders for the AFL's exposure in the traditional Rugby League states.

So what do the punters do?

Local footy may be an option. Competitions like the Sydney Football League and the Metropolitan Cup offer that intimate encounter that's sadly lacking from the corporate game.

Besides, you get to watch Newtown run around at Henson Park. Which can only be a good thing.

In fact rugby league is back everywhere except Melbourne - where the Stormies are experiencing the same problems as their AFL counterparts in NSW and Queensland.

But that's OK. The NRL wisely considers South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania to not be part of Australia, at least in terms of a National competition, which can only be a good thing.

Who knows where this financial crisis will end?

Maybe they'll have to raise the registration fees for kiddies playing junior sport.

As usual, it's the kiddies that suffer.


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