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Issue No. 145 19 July 2002  

Two Wings Flapping
The one element missing from the current debate about the relationship between the labour movement and the ALP is any discussion about what's in it for the unions.


Interview: In The Tent
The Australian Services Union's Martin Foley on the dilemma facing trade unions affiliated to the Labor Party.

Bad Boss: The Desk Nazi
Everyone’s mail is on the money this week. Yep, Australia Post, courtesy of the born-to-rule attitude so beloved by the Workplace Relations Minister has been nominated for the Tony Award.

Media: Hold the Presses
The withdrawal of mainstream news outlets from the reporting of industrial relations is playing right into the bosses' hands, writes Andrew Casey

Workplace: Putting Bullies In Their Place
Ever wonder where the schoolyard bullies from your formative years ended up? Chances are they are still making someone’s life hell in an Australian workplace today. Even worse, one of them might be your direct supervisor.

Industrial: Women and Work
The last fortnight may well prove a turning point for working Australian women and their families, argues ACTU President Sharan Burrow

International: Whine and Dine
The political and industrial wings of British labour are at each other's throats, reports Andrew Casey.

History: Black Adder
Old King Cole had good tutors. Roger Milliss captured the style of conservative government witch-hunts in Serpent’s Tooth, his cathartic apology to his father, Bruce.

Review: Bad Movie
While the search for Australia's worst boss is well underway, Joel Schumacher's Bad Company seems to point the finger squarely at the US Government - albeit accidentally.

Poetry: I Remember
Dermott Ryder knocks our Resident Bard off his podium this week with a little ditty about a bloke called Honest John


 Builder Blows Whistle on Kangaroo Court

 Alarm Over Unis in Detention

 Unions Spark New Super Push

 Abbott Trips on Entitlements - Again

 Picnic Day for Union Members Only

 Memo: John Travolta - Come Fly With Us!

 Cole Comfort to Bodgey Builders

 Unions Eye SA Casuals Victory

 Burrow: Paid Mat Leave Just First Step

 Mayne Warning – But Will They Listen?

 Drought Relief Should Extend To Rural Workers

 Coca Cola Action Bubbles Globally


The Soapbox
The Royal Circus
CFMEU organiser Terry Kesby gives a first hand account of his experience before the Cole Royal Commission.

The Locker Room
Bravely Running Away
Phil Doyle is bewildered by the Australian Cricket team’s reluctance to join John Howard’s War On Terror.

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess
As the world market lurches under the weight of its own amorality, regulators and business lobbies are locking horns over the need for more rules.

Week in Review
A Share of the Action
Sharemarket jitters produce mea culpas from the magnate set but, as Jim Marr discovers, loyal followers in the Howard administration aren’t likely to join the chorus any time soon.

 Make My Week!
 Real Reform
 Hooray for Frank!
 Reform or Die
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Tool Shed

American Dreamer

Imagine a world where the champion of free enterprise becomes the architect of its destruction. George Dubya … the Toolshed is yours at a special discount rate.


Bush has just completed a round of pat set pieces preaching the need to raise Corporate Responsibility standards. The trigger of course, is the growing number of corporate collapses where the dodgy ethics of those at the top have played as big a role as the vagaries of the economic cycle. Bush pal and campaign benefactor Kenneth 'Easy' Lay's Enron kicked it off when it was discovered that the company balance sheets were triumphs of creative accounting. Then good ol' boy Bernie Ebbers' World.Com hit the wall when it was learned someone had confused the words profit and loss. Soon it seemed that everyone was getting into the act, cooking the books, maximising share options, giving themselves interest free loans.

But wait; something's gone wrong; the whole stock market starts contracting. The people, it seems, are losing faith in a system that is beginning to resemble a pyramid selling scheme, where the one's on top skim millions and those holding up the structure end up with nothing. Something must be done to stem the tide; the markets must be brought to book. This is a job for The Prez, America's number one statesman bringing some sanity back into the game, unveiling a vision to restore confidence in the greatest racket in history.

George W looks serious when he jibbers about ethics but the markets keep falling. What's gone wrong? Could it be that the man has just a tiny credibility gap? Could it be that a man who sold $1.5 million in stock from a company on which he was a Board member months before it was going to the market and despite a written undertaking not to sell, is not the perfect salesman for a responsibility pitch? Could it be that a man who chooses as a deputy, a chief executive of a company whose accounting practices are under current review from the SEC lacks the moral stature to tell his countrymen and women how to keep their books in balance?


Michael Moore sums up Bush better than we could ever hope to in his scathing homily: 'Stupid White Men' (Regan Books)

"George, I have a theory about why and how all this has happened to you.

"Instead of having to earn it, you have been handed the presidency the same way you've come by everything else in your life. Money and name alone have opened every door for you. Without effort or hard work or intelligence or ingenuity, you have been bequeathed a life of privilege.

"You learned at an early age that, in America, all someone like you has to do is show up. You found yourself admitted to an exclusive New England boarding school simply because your name was Bush. You do not have to EARN your place there. It was bought for you.

"When they let you into Yale, you learned you could bypass more deserving students who had worked hard for twelve years to qualify for admission to college. You got in because your name was Bush.

"You got into Harvard Business School the same way. After screwing off during your four years at Yale, you took the seat that rightfully belonged to someone else.

"You then pretended to serve a full stint in the Texas Air National Guard. But one day, according to the Boston Globe, you just skipped out and failed to report back to your unit - for a year and a half! You didn't have to fulfill your military obligation, because your name was Bush.

"Following a number of 'lost years' that don't appear in your official biography, you were given job after job by your daddy and other family members. No matter how many of your business ventures failed, there was always another one waiting to be handed to you.

"Finally, you got to be a partner in a major league baseball team - another gift - even though you put up only one hundredth of the money for the team. And then you conned the taxpayers of Arlington, Texas, into giving you another perk - a brand- new multimillion dollar stadium that you didn't have to pay for.

"So it's no wonder you think you deserved to be named President. You didn't earn it or win it - therefore it should be yours!

"And you see nothing wrong with this. Why should you? It's the only life you have known"

You said it Mike. George W Bush embodies the American Dream - to be born rich and live life with the reckless certainty that immense wealth brings. Bush is a fine representative of the corporate elites; he is of them and with them. It's just that when the time comes to bring them to some sort of account, he lacks the credentials to raise anything but eyebrows.


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