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Issue No. 144 12 July 2002  
E D I T O R I A L

The Lotto Economy
The failure of George W Bush's much-hyped pitch for corporate responsibility underlines the current crisis facing unregulated global capitalism: the system is corrupting all before it.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Capital in Crisis
ACTU president Sharan Burrow outlines the global union response to the corporate carnage gripping an increasingly shaky system.

Industrial: No Sweat
Neale Towart surveys the international debate around sweatshops and what can be done to regulate them

Bad Boss: Super Spam
Several late scratchings have seen Workplace Relations Department secretary Peter Boxall win this week´┐Żs heat of the Workers´┐Ż Online Bad Boss handicap.

History: Living Treasures
Labour History is 40 this year. Greg Patmore looks back at what it took to get a regular journal of the labour movement in Australia up and away.

International: Axis of Evil
George W Bush´┐Żs scarecrow trio of Iran, Iraq and North Korea is not an original invention, argues Stephen Holt

Solidarity: Pride of Place
NSW Labor Council and CFMEU flags sit alongside the mounted jersey of former Kiwi Rugby League hooker Syd Eru in a modest home at Manurewa, south Auckland.

Technology: The Art of Cyber-Unionism
More Unionism? Transformed Unionism? Peter Waterman looks at a new handbook for unions and the internet

Poetry: The Masochism Tango
Tony Abbott's comment we should accept a bad boss like a bad husband or bad father has made us all realise that instead of fighting bad bosses, we should love them. Anyone for a tango?

Satire: Foxtel-Optus Merger 'Anti-Repetitive'
The ACCC has ruled today that the proposed content sharing arrangement between Foxtel and Optus Vision would constitute anti-repetitive conduct

Review: Bob Carr's Thoughtlines
Stephen Holt reviews one man's journey from collectivism to the centre

N E W S

 Sweat Shops ´┐Ż Coming To A Street Near You

 Glassworkers Walk for the Umpire

 Family Friendly For A Buck

 Abbott in Slow GEER

 Royal Commission Bugs Workers

 Drivers Frozen Out by Corporate Spin

 Coca-Cola Brews Storm In A Tea Cup

 Bush Prepares for War on the Wharves

 Safety Summit A Hit With Unions

 Beattie Faces Bargaining Face-Off

 Casual Work Exploits ´┐Ż Catholic Church Agency

 More Effort Required On Disabled Workers

 Protecting Security Officers From Disease

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Why Modernisation Matters
Labor frontbencher Mark Latham argues that the ALP's reform agenda must go way beyond the 60-40 debate.

The Locker Room
Playing To The Whistle
Phil Doyle takes a look at the man in the middle, and he doesn´┐Żt like what he sees.

Bosswatch
Inquiry Into Executive Pay
The ACTU Executive this week called for a public debate on spiralling executive pay packets, seeking feedback from workers, community representatives and unions.

Postcard
Up In Smoke
Wobbly Radio's Nick Luccinelli reports from England where drug law reform is on the political agenda.

Week in Review
Bulldust and Boofheads
Jim Marr casts his eye over a week in which bullshit and bad bosses fought for headlines´┐Ż

L E T T E R S
 On Aspiration
 GST Agenda
 Amanda's Mediocrity
 Capital Ideas
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Week in Review

Bulldust and Boofheads


Jim Marr casts his eye over a week in which bullshit and bad bosses fought for headlines´┐Ż
 
 

Jim Marr

Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock's is proving an adept student of the American art of obfuscation. You know the sort of thing - "collateral damage" as code for killing 40 innocent wedding guests.

Ruddock describes as "humane" a new detention facility in which escapees are zapped by 9000 volts of electricity. Officially, the isolation block at Baxter will be known as "the separation unit" while the 9000 volt electric fence arrangement is to be called an "energised detection and deterrent system'.

Kind of appropriate really, given that the media, normally barred from detention facilities, was given an official guided tour at a time when no inmates were actually in residence.

.............

The Teflon John uses a meeting with controversial Italian PM, Silvio Berlusconi, to back Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott's outspoken support for bad bosses.

Howard endorses the hardline right winger's three-year freeze on the rights of Italian workers to mount unjustified dismissal claims. He urges Labor and the Democrats to support him in removing protections from Australians who lose employment without justification.

................

Meanwhile, good ol George Bush is dishing up the biggest load of hogwash ever heard on the subject of corporate responsibility. Denying his status as a wholly-owned subsidiary of US Inc, Bush lectures big business on morals and American values.

It is Bush's response to Enron, World.Com and other corporate failures casting a pall over the US economy. Trouble is, the Bush administration is packed with hand-picked big business executives and he owes his entire political career, at state and federal levels, to the support of the most extreme end of US capital, men like his one-time personal buddy, Enron's "Kenny Boy" Lay, who demand, and get, complete deregulation.

Bush also neglects to mention the examples set by himself and vice-pesident Dick Cheney. The President is at the centre of a storm over selling $800,000 worth of shares in an energy company he was a director of just weeks before the price plumetted. Cheney, meanwhile, is being sued over claims of fraudulent accounting at the giant oil field services company, Halliburton, which he ran for five years. Cheney was chairman and chief executive of the company during the years in which the suit alleges it overstated revenues by $US445 million.

A US shareholder-support organisation is also suing for access to records of the Cheney-led energy taskforce that drafted the Bush administration's energy policy.

..........................

Meanwhile, there is no oppostion from either Bush of the Teflon John when their allies in the Israeli Government enact legislation that decrees certain towns will be "Jews Only", specifically barring Arabs from buying homes in them.

The bill effectively overturns a landmark decision of the Israeli High Court which had ruled that the one million plus Israelis of Arab descent were entitled to live on settlements on state land.

The Israeli cabinet also passes special legislation denying Palestinians the right to claim compensation for damages sustained during the army's invasion of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

........................

When first we practice to deceeive ... and all that.

Poor old Cheryl's had a shocker. Not only is she no longer Speaking For Herself but just days out of a media campaign designed to sell the book, she is warning journalists who approach her that they will be breaching her privacy.

Workers Online wonders if you can flog yourself about print, radio and television outlets one week, then unilaterally pull up stumps and declare the game is over?

Honest, just one week after putting herself in the hands of a publicist, she's decided she would be better served by lawyers who warn that anyone from the media caught "following loitering near, watching, approaching, contacting in any way (whether by telephone, mail, email, facsimile or through the use of any other technology)" Kernot, or any member of her family, will be donkey deep in the smelly stuff.

......................

Meanwhile, back in Sydney town, the Ayotollahs at State Transit are not being very nice to their bus drivers. In the middle of a cold winter they've come down like a tonne of bricks on the wearing of anything warm, like beanies or unofficial jackets, even in buses without heating.

Some drivers, starting shifts at five in the morning, are less than impressed by a message from the office wallahs which instructs: "Please note that when on duty only standard issue uniforms are permitted. Non-standard uniform items, including headwear such as beanies (with or without STA logos), are not to be worn on duty."

We're not suggesting this makes STA a candidate for Workers Online's Tony Awards, the competition from the private sector is far too hot, but still, you'd reckon, they could do better.


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