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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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Garage Days

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


I'm going to be blunt for a moment. Despite the fact that Newtown's favourite sons 'The Whitlams' are named after one of the greatest PM's this country has ever known, I consider them pretentious, tragically hip and well... rather boring. They did however make a great point with the oh so subtly titled, but nonetheless entrancing, 'Blow Up The Pokies'.

Pokies are nothing less than a form of urban blight, false prophets to the lonely, the bored and the gullible. 'Make sure you gamble in moderation' indeed. As well as destroying countless lives of mainly working class people, pokies have also left a gaping hole in Sydney's live music scene. Garage Days, from acclaimed Director Alex Proyas (The Crow; Dark City) is a timely work set against the background this background of artistic decay and shattered dreams.

Freddy (Kick Gurry) is a young singer dreaming of rock n roll stardom. He has the voice, he has the look, and he even has a band, thing is he and his mates can't get a gig. Why? Well to quote Freddy 'pokies and pretty boy DJs'. But when he meets the slimy Shad Kern (Marton Csokas) , Australia's top rock manager, he sees an opportunity to hit the big time. Now all he needs to do is find the money for a demo to entice the master manager. But, and in rock n roll there is always a but, things aren't that simple.

Freddy has fallen in love with Kate (Maya Stange), who is Joe (Brett Stiller), the guitarist's girlfriend. Of course this doesn't sit well with his partner Tanya (Pia Miranda) who just happens to be the bassplayer for the outfit. Adding to Freddy's headaches is drummer Lucy (Chris Sadrinna) who spends most of his time searching for the ultimate chemical high, and Bruno (Russell Dykstra), a manager/roadie/con artist who makes causing trouble an art form. Damn, achieving fame is hard work!

Overall Garage Days is a great little Aussie comedy, and a film that in its own way provides a great insight into the social fabric of Sydney. One of its greatest strengths is an ability to laugh at the often-humourless local music scene. Occasionally it gets a little corny, the character of Shad Kern borders on unintentional parody, but then again if you were to morph the entire music industry into one person, the Kernster (sadly) may just appear.

So next time you're at the pub and you see a line of pokies, think of Garage Days, and raise your voice in favour of our local scene. Surely going deaf due to excessively loud pub music is infinitely preferable to suffering hearing loss due to the incessant chatter of those infernal machines?

Mark Hebblewhite


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