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Issue No. 167 21 February 2003  

Scales of Injustice
The Cole Royal Commissionís final report will be handed to the Howard Government this week, although its public release will be strategically delayed for maximum political capital.


Interview: Agenda 2003
ACTU secretary Greg Combet looks at the year ahead and how a union movement can keep the focus on the workplace at a time of global crisis.

Peace: The Colour Purple
Local communities across Australia are taking stands against war by displaying purple banners. Jim Marr visits one.

Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
As Workers Online took its annual break, the world kept turning Ė at an increasingly alarming velocity.

Solidarity: Workers Against War
Joann Wypijewski reports on how union locals in the USA are fighting the hounds of war at home.

Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
With all the talk of terror, the Howard Governmentís Achilles heel is its tolerance of Flags of Convenience shipping , writes Rowan Cahill

International: Industrial Warfare
Scottish freight train drivers have already acted to disrupt the war effort in the UK with crews of four freight trains carrying war supplies to ports walking off the job, writes Andrew Casey

History: Unions and the Vietnam War
The Vietnam experience steered some unions towards social activism for the first time. Unions are today key players in the anti-war movement, writes Tony Duras.

Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Mark Hebblewhites looks at two summer movies that tap into different sounds of American culture - white boy rap and motown blues.

Poetry: Return To Sender
Resident bard Divd Peetz discovers that Elvis has become the latest shock recruit to the peace cause.

Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
CIA Director George Tenet announced today that the agency has begun recruiting future enemies for the year 2014.


 Cole Commission: The Rort Goes On

 Penalty Rates Under Attack

 Abbott Brushes Ripped Off Aussies

 Overworked Seamanís Painful Hangover

 Australia Snubs International Body

 Women Attracted to Unions

 Murdoch Hacks Dropping Like Flies

 Peace is Union Business

 Qantas Takes Big Stick to Cabin Crew

 Sheltered Workshop in Orange Squeeze

 Carr Govt Commits $13m To Safety

 Monk Puts IR in Test Tube

 Concreters Bury Six-Day Week

 Graincorp Boss in Cyber War

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Getting On with The Job
Premier Bob Carr chose Trades Hall as the venue to launch Labor's IR policy for the upcoming state election.

Justice in Bogota
Sydney lawyer Ian Latham knows how to pick them. Heís gone straight from the Cole Royal Commission to justice Colombian-style.

The Locker Room
Heart Of Darkness
There is a school of thought that there is, in fact, only one World Cup - and it doesnít involve cricket, writes Phil Doyle.

Danger Mouse
John Howard's politics have trapped him into supporting an unpopular war. He is in political trouble, Leonie Bronstein argues.

 This Means War
 Who Let The Troops Out?
 Wagga Wagga Calling
 Ode to Johnny
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Tool Shed

Mob Violence

The Prime Ministerís increasingly hysterical put-downs of the mass peace movement that shifted the international debate on Iraq last weekend have left him isolated in the Tool Shed.


Here was a turnout of unprecedented proportions; a wonderful, spirited `display of principle by Australians of all ages, backgrounds and religions. Seeing their leaders letting them down so abjectly, the people took on a leadership, joining a global wave of defiance that has recast the Iraqi issue. There is a clear message, that goes beyond a debate over the mechanism for US aggression. People are calling on the United Nations to prevent war; and if it fails to do this, the UN will itself face a serious crisis.

Howard's response to the million Australians who took to the streets was to churlishly accuse them of playing into Saddam Hussein's hands. With the willing support of the Murdoch press, the propaganda lever was switched to overdrive and anything short of unwavering support for the immediate destruction of Bagdad was akin to treason. If the general public needed any vindication for making their stand against the US war machine, this was it.

For a man who spent the first year of his Prime Minister-ship staunchly supporting the right of Hanson-ites to espouse their anti-Asian prejudice on the grounds of freed speech, Howard's response represented a significant shift in attitude. Back then, of course, there was political mileage to be made by acquiescing to the masses, even if it meant trashing Paul Keating's vision of an engaged Australia at immense cost to the national interest. Now the boots on the other foot, 'mainstream' Australia has become the 'mob' and it is Howard who is swimming against a tide of goodwill, not surfing the wave of prejudice.

His comments reflect he is beginning to feel the heat. So to was the extraordinary visit Australian Federal Police paid to The Chaser's offices after it published Howard's home phone number on its front page under the banner "Howard Ignores The People - So call Him At Home on 9922 6189". It's like the guy is looking to become a security target personally, and wants to take the whole nation with him. Or could it just be polling gone mad? Australians turn the Tories in times of national crisis. Create a national crisis and you create the demand for the Tory. And then you never need to retire, whether you're 64, 74 or 84.

Howard has never been loved by the Australian populous and for good reason. Many of us still believe he has won and maintained power on false pretences. He won his first election by withholding any policies, his second by breaking his GST promise; the third by evilly exploiting the plight of desperate asylum seekers. But the images from Sunday's Sydney rally will perhaps be the most enduring: John Howard as puppy with his nose up George Dubya's bum; John Howard as puppet led by the same Bush; the single banner that summed up the national mood: 'John Hunt is a Coward.'

John Howard has sold out Australia's national interest and enlisted us in George W Bush 'Coalition of Evil' without asking us along for the ride. What he's been promised in return is anyone's guess. But if there is a patriotism contest between the mass of protestors and Howard and his buddies in the conservative press, the balance must fall for those who took to the streets last weekend.


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