||Issue No. 142||28 June 2002|
Interview: Safe as Houses
Safety: Ten Steps to Safety
History: Staying Alive
Unions: Choose Life
International: Seoul Destroyers
Corporate: Crash Landing
Activists: The Refusenik
Review: Dumb Nation
Poetry: Helping Out The Rich
The Locker Room
Week in Review
Good News from the Pilbara
Go Mark, Go
Week in Review
The Weight of Office
Canberra saw Her Majesty's loyal oppositions slide further into the zone marked disarray. In the washed-out-pink colours, Simon Creen was smacked about the melon by schisms in his Victorian power base and would-be, if-he-could-be, Mark Latham, generated more heat than light. As the sharemarket stumbled, again, workers around the country breathed sighs of relief that their incomes weren't dependent on Latham's "aspirational" share portfolios.
Meanwhile, over in Democrat-land, the girls were locked in another unedifying hissy-fit. Meg wrote off Natasha, again, reminding us of the golden rule - honoured only in the breach - that former leaders should, if possible, be neither seen nor heard.
No wonder the Teflon John is hanging out the prospect of a double dissolution.
There are rumbles in Liberal-land as well, however, even if they remain low and distant. Peter Costello has kept his belly-aching to himself but Tony Abbott is looking to the unions to give him a boost in the ascendancy stakes.
Abbott's double-pronged approach centres on standing over the Senate to pass unfair dismissal legislation, while greasing the wheels of the Cole Commission with $60 million of our money.
Abbott's Commission was treated, this week, to reports of a six-year-old telephone conversation; an anti-CFMEU employer, virtually conceding union claims that he had been ripping off Workers Comp, tax, and doing a bit of phoenixing for good measure.
Call us simple if you want but sometimes it seems the Abbott formula can be summed up thus: Royal Commission + Unfair Dismissal = Early Election.
On a more serious matter, would-be Aussie rugby league skipper, Gorden Tallis, throws a wobbly of gargantuan proportions to see off Origin for another year. Tallis directs expletives, and a finger, at a section of the Sydney crowd after the series decider ends in an 18-all draw.
More importantly, in a brilliant piece of tactical leadership Tallis crows in every interview about Queensland's series victory. The line is followed by every other Queenslander who addresses the subject and is so successful that Sydney radio broadcasters also award the series to the northerners.
We at Workers Online were perplexed so ran the actual results past a panel of leading mathematicians. Having wrestled with the core equation, NSW 1, Queensland 1, Draw 1, they came up with the proposition that Origin 2002 had in fact been drawn.
We all know that business leaders have become de facto political leaders, deciding national policy and in the case of transnationals, international polices but, gee, some of them are naughty.
Hot on the heels on Enron, giant US telco, WorldCom, is found to have been engaged in devious accounting practices. Caught inflating cash flow by something around $8 billion it reacts with typical leadership, announcing plans to axe 17,000 jobs.
WorldCom's doubtful future sends shockwaves around the financial world, including Australia where, take note Mr Latham, $10 billion is wiped off the local market in 24 hours.
George Bush, would-be leader of the known universe, gives his unique take on democracy and national independence with a lecture to the Palestinians on how they might finally cash in on UN resolutions about their entitlement to statehood.
The cornerstone, according to Bush, is dumping elected leader Yasser Arafat for someone more to American tastes. Apparently unmoved by the fact that Arafat got a vastly bigger share of the Palestinian vote than he managed in the US, Bush ups the ante by saying vital aid will also be withheld unless his demands are met.
To their credits, US allies around the world, including Australia, the UK and France, distance themselves from Bush's latest takeover bid.
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