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Issue No. 150 30 August 2002  

Shut It Down!
The CFMEU�s legal bid to have the Cole Royal Commission closed down seeks to prove legally what any dispassionate observer has worked out for themselves: the whole show is biased.


Interview: Australian Worker
AWU national secretary Bill Shorten gives his take on the relationship between the wings of the movement

Unions: Morning Ambush
Rowan Cahill joined the Dayson workers as they took their fourteen week dispute to the doors of an American corproate giant

Cole-Watch: Grumpy Old Men
When the Cole Commission declared closed its second innings in Sydney last night, lasting memories centred around the hands played by two grumpy old men, Jim Marr reports.

International: Arrested (Sustainable) Development
Unions fronting up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development are making clear their views that development can never be considered sustainable unless social justice is made a top priority, reports Tara de Boehmler.

History: Illegal Alien
As we remember the shameful way we turned away a group of people escaping the horrors of a dictatorial regime, the treatment of Egon Kisch by the UAP Government in 1935 highlights yet another.

Economics: The Trouble With PPPs
The Uni of NSW's Christopher Shiel explains why the state's current flirtation with Public Private Partnerships is an ongoing joke

Poetry: Is This 'My Country'?
On the anniversary of the Tampa, and with the help of Dorothea Mackellar and Peter Dodds McCormick, Worker's Online travels back a year to contemplate those moments when eyes were closed to the nature of the Taliban regime.

Review: Garage Days
Mark Hebblewhite reviews a new Aussie flick that brings the indie music scene to the big screen


 Bias Case Clears First Hurdle

 Eight Weeks Only for Bomb Survivors

 Justice At Last for Woodlawn Miners

 Labor for Refugees Put Acid on Crean

 Canberra Cash Linked to Hall of Fame Stoush

 Osama Poster Sparks Controversy

 Underwear Obsession Prompts Rehab List

 Community Workers Win Lifeline

 Mad Monk Staff in 'Mad Hatter' Protest

 Qld Health Win Pay Rise

 Education Forum To Spark Public Debate

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Is Simon the Likeable?
The United Firefighter's Daryl Snow is back to give the ALP and political leaders in general an almighty hosing down

The Locker Room
A Modest Proposal
This NRL salary cap has come in for some debate recently, with many following the lead set by the Murdoch Media and calling for administrators of the game to throw the baby out with the bathwater, writes Phil Doyle.

Week in Review
World Domination
They�re right funny critters those Yanks who get their hands on the levers of power and we�re not talking, funny ha ha, here, Jim Marr writes�

The Costello Two-Step
Treasurer Peter Costello's two faces were on display this week - ducking and weaving from enforcing corporate accounting standards while upping the push to cut corporate tax

Always Listen To The Wind
Bernadette Moloney & John Hartley report from a conference aimed at getting reconciliation right

 Tony Moore is a Four Letter Word
 Choral Classics
 Sleeping Giants
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The Locker Room

A Modest Proposal

This NRL salary cap has come in for some debate recently, with many following the lead set by the Murdoch Media and calling for administrators of the game to throw the baby out with the bathwater, writes Phil Doyle.


The Locker Room thought it would be appropriate to approach someone excellently positioned to comment on the salary cap, and to suggest a creative solution. Who better to speak to than a lifelong fan of the game.

Derek Heywood is from Richmond and barracks for Balmain, or he did until someone decided to marry his team off to its ugly cousin from Campbelltown. Stranger things happen, and not just in Rugby League. Nonetheless he still follows the black and white Tigers, or the Balmain Magpies, or whatever they're called this week, and he recently came up with a novel arrangement for the salary cap that introduced a bit of lateral thinking into the debate.

This column caught up with Derek at the Red Cow Hotel in Penrith where he expanded on his proposal.

The idea is a simple one: The salary cap is reduced by $350 000 for all clubs. This money is then paid into a pool, which is then paid out to players from each team in every game as weekly bonuses.

The player with the most tackles for each side receives $1000; the player who takes the ball up the most, $800; the player of the game receives $2500, with second best getting $1500 and third best $800. The players from the winning side receive $500 each, which is split if the game is tied.

Cash amounts would also be given to the top three try-scorers for the year to supplement these payments.

"When Penrith had this scheme at the beginning of the year where they were giving $1000 a try, people came to see that," said Derek - who is also keen to see player payments equalised across the board, with a nominated figure for a maximum allowable range between the highest and lowest paid player.

"The basis of the proposal is to have weekly bonuses to make the players play for their money as opposed to getting a fee at the beginning of the year and possibly not performing throughout the year. So it's based on performance and the idea coming out of the salary cap is to even up the salaries, according to the performance." Said Derek. "I think the clubs would have to administer the individual awards, but the NRL would administer it in the same way they administer the salary cap."

The point he is making is that fans come to see entertaining and creative football played by motivated players. People know that the current player payments scheme has spiraled out of control and is unsustainable, threatening the game as a whole. Many fans, especially those that have stuck with the game through Super League, the loss of Souths and now the latest disaster are keen to see an element of reality and fairness introduced into the administration of the game.

"Every player will say they play for the love of the game, but they really do play for the money.

My structure is formed in a way that it is fair for each individual player and each individual club," says Derek. "A team like Souths that won't win as many games will be able to receive bonuses whether they win or not."

"The salary cap is an amount that the NRL allows the clubs for its players, the reduction of the Salary cap would be pooled so it's money they wouldn't have anyway."

If the NRL doesn't address the cost of running clubs in a time of declining revenues for those clubs then they won't have any salary cap troubles to worry about, because they won't have any clubs.

John Berger of Forbes is another fan calling for a bit of market regulation. He came up with the novel idea that the NRL pay the players directly. It'd create a bit of transparency, but if they were really honest they'd just put the players directly on the News Limited payroll and be done with it. After all, they own the game.

Phil Doyle - on the blocks in lane three for the 100 metres freestyle

PS - See, you can have a discussion about the salary cap without mentioning Canterb...damn!


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