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Issue No. 137 24 May 2002  

An Aussie Icon
The public deification of the Last Anzac, Alec Campbell, proves the adage that when you scratch the surface of an icon you'll invariably find a far more interesting reality.


Interview: Just Done It?
Nikewatch's Tim Connor gives his verdict on the global giant's latest innovation: ethics.

Tribute: Lest We Forget
Rowan Cahill goes looking for the real Alec Campbell and finds a story the Telegraph will not be publishing.

History: Solidarity Forever
Neale Towart looks at the enduring relationship between the union movement and the defence forces and finds it all comers down to solidarity.

Technology: Unblocking the Superhighway
Michael Gadiel argues the case for Open Standards as a way of breaking the grip of big business on the IT industry.

International: Gloves Off
Workers and their unions are facing a battering throughout South America as a wave of economic turmoil sweeps across the continent.

Unions: Out Of Work
Jim Marr travels to the frontline to witness the impact of the Howard Government's decision to close Employment National.

Review: Strange Business
Tara de Boehmler looks at a new flick that exposes the dark side of the Material World.

Poetry: The Lawyer's Lament
One of the big issues of recent weeks has been the explosion of insurance costs for public and community events, many of which have had to be cancelled as a result.

Satire: Government Mourns Loss Of Last Anzac
Treasurer Peter Costello has lamented the death of Alec Campbell, the last surviving ANZAC, bemoaning the lost revenue the government could have gained at his expense following the Budget.


 Workers Honour Radical Digger

 Retailers in Outworker Spotlight

 Nurses, Teachers Snare Agenda

 Syd in Vicious Backpacker Stand-off

 Microsoft Monopoly Under Challenge

 Kiddies Not Exactly Having a Ball

 NSW ALP Faces Asylum Seeker Test

 Canberra Acts on Industrial Manslaughter

 Carr Delivers on Dismissals

 Santa Claus Strikers on Christmas Island

 Abbott Believes Management Should Dictate

 Low Paid Not To Blame For Beer Price Rise

 Casino Award Covers Eastern States

 Security Workers Want Bosses Sacked

 Sydneysiders Rally For Western Sahara

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
The Cold Hard Truth
The Rail,Tram and Bus Union's Nick Lewocki argues our hard-hearted treatment of refugees is a betrayal of our proud immigrant history.

The Locker Room
The South Melbourne Football Club Pty Ltd
A spectre is haunting football; it is the spectre of revolution; a free market revolution, writes Phil Doyle.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Jobs are under threat in the textile and trye markets; but there's better news in the Newcastle mills and the Nike factories.

Gas Treaty - The Raw Deal
East Timor is getting less then 40%ónot 90% royalties from the oil and gas revenue in the Timor Sea, reports HT Lee.

Week in Review
Origin of the Species
Phil Gould, Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus may have buried the laughable notion that Rugby Union is the sport they play in heaven, but outside Stadium Australia life goes on, as Jim Marr discovers.

 Dancing With Trotsky? Not Bloody Likely.
 Your Tools Page is Down
 Big Dave Foster
 Give Us a Click!
 Will the Real Mark Latham Please Stand Up?
 Unified Labour
 The Last Survivor
 Not Hate Mail
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Tool Shed

Blind Ambition

NSW Opposition IR spokesman Mike Gallacher achieves what is perhaps his first tangible achievement in politics this week by gaining access to the Tool Shed.


The seldom-sighted Upper House MP has sidled up to Workers Online on several occasions, pleading for a gig in the Tool Shed, apparently a badge of honour amongst the publicity-starved Shadow Cabinet in Macquarie Street, who still subscribe to the philosophy of 'honour amongst rogues'. We have repeatedly told him that it's not that easy - the Tool Shed does not come as a right for every upstart Lib - they have to do something to pay the rent. For Gallacher, 'do something' were the words that proved the biggest hurdle.

If anyone notices Gallacher, they'd regard him as something of a misfit. A former police officer and active member of the NSW Police Association, he prides himself on being the only Liberal front-bencher to have attended a TUTA training course. Whether it was the intricacies of organising that ruined him; or the recognition of an ambitious upstart that the Liberal talent pool was more like a puddle, is unclear. Suffice to say, that he emerged from his union education as a Tory MP.

It is in this guise that Gallagher inherited the industrial relations mantle; first under the leadership of Kerry Chikarovski - then after leading the plot to unseat her under Baby John Brogden. Over this period, Gallacher has yearned the spotlight without ever delivering a single word of policy; a strategy that ensured that the IR debate was dominated by the unions and the ALP - the one's who actually know what it's about.

But at last week's meeting of the Industrial Relations Society, Gallacher finally came out with some ideas. Sure they were free-form, largely ill-informed comments, but they were comments. His thrust? There should be a state-version of the Employment Advocate and non-union enterprise agreements should be able to bypass the Industrial Relations Commission.

Objectionable? Sure. But, against the high standards of union-bashing set by Reith and Abbott it was all pretty lame stuff. Where were the secret individual contracts? Where were the attacks on the independence of the IRC? Where was the vow to hand over the NSW system to the feds? Was this man a Tory or a delo in disguise?

Memo: Michael Gallacher. If you want to spend quality time in the Tool Shed you need to do a lot better than this. You could start by studying Tony Abbott's Five-Point Plan for Perpetual Tooldom. For your benefit we have got our hands on the Mad Monk's blueprint.

1. Play The Man Not The Issue. Any breakdown in industrial harmony is an opportunity for political advantage. Attack 'union bosses'; 'the IR club' and 'lazy job-snobs'; never get bogged down in idle chatter about the best way to civilise the employment relationship. That's for wimps.

2. Unions Are the Enemy: None of this talk of not being anti-union - out with it man; unions are your class enemies and the only reason Labor Governments ever win elections. Hit them and you hit your political opponents. A moment working cooperatively with unions is a moment that could be spent attacking them.

3. Pursue Your Objectives With a Religious Zeal: Extremism works. The columnists love it. Think of what you want to say, exaggerate it, go crazy with it; then open your mouth.

4. Progress Through Chaos: It's not good enough to wait for a breakdown in workplace relations to occur. Make it happen yourself by geeing up mad-arse employers to take the unions on. Then watch the feathers fly and skate in on the back of it.

5. Year Zero Begins Today: The idea that Australia enjoyed 100 years of civilised labour relations is a myth perpetrated by the Left. Tear it down and build a new history - no tribunals, no unions, no awards. 1850 could be tomorrow - and remember productivity was way higher when we sent the kiddies down the mines.

So there you are; the ball's in your court, Mike. Start acting like a madman or stop bugging us for coverage.


The most inspiring interpretation of this week's tool get's a souvenir edition of Ship of Tools. Deface the Tool of the Week, click the button above to post your artwork, fill out the form and send your entry in and we'll post the winners next week in the Tool of the Week Gallery.


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