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Issue No. 174 11 April 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Might Does Not Mean Right
So the Americans have removed the dictator Hussein, the right wing press are firing more pot-shots than the Republican Guard and George W. Bush can ride into the sunset having liberated the Middle East. Game over – or is it?

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Walk Against the War Coalition convenor Bruce Childs outlines the challenge for the peace movement in the lead up to Palm Sunday.

Unions: The Royal Con
Jim Marr argues the Cole Commission can only be taken seriously by people kept ignorant of the way it actually operated.

National Focus: Around the Grounds
Unions maintain the pressure for peace as the upcoming organising conference takes on added significance, reports Noel Hester.

Economics: The Secret War on Trade
Overseas-based multi-nationals are coming after our film industry, electricity, water, pharmaceutical benefits and even childcare. Or are they? Nobody knows, as Jim Marr reports.

International: United Front
Workers and their unions around the world have possibly never been as united in their commitment to campaign together against the War in Iraq, writes Andrew Casey

History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Bill Pirie has one of the largest collections of trade union badges in the world. After 20 years the collection now numbers some 6,000 badges.

Politics: Stalin’s Legacy
Fifty years ago last month Josef Stalin died. How could it be that a democratic and socialist revolution produced one of the monsters of the twentieth century, asks Leonie Bronstein.

Review: Such Was Not Ned’s Life
The life of Ned Kelly is what we in the world of journalism term a “ball tearing yarn” so why have writers of the movie adaptation felt so impelled to dress it up with fiction, asks Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Through our extensive intelligence networks, we have managed to track down the top recruiter for the global terror network of Osama bin Laden.

Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
Woolworths chief executive Roger Corbett was devastated today to report an 18.3% rise in profit under his management over the last year.

N E W S

 Carr: Workers Won It For Me

 Nursing Crisis Bites Elderly

 Judge Puts ‘Predator’ Before Workers

 WA Court Undermines Cole

 Mexican Chain Gangs Win NSW Work

 Della Muscles Up to Abbott

 STOP PRESS - Brewery Goes Flat

 ACCC Urged to Consider Jobs

 Unions Stats Track Armageddon

 Cameron: Feds More Interested in Iraq

 SARS Lays Jobs Low

 Working Hours Benefit Millions

 Journos Urge War Crimes Prosecutions

 Unions Support Displaced in Iraq

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Factional Free-For-All
Chris Christodoulou looks at the fallout from the selection of the new Carr Ministry and what it means to the factional warlords.

The Locker Room
The Best Season Since Last Year
Phil Doyle goes trudging through the mud in search of the heart of the matter beneath the corporate biffo

Culture
Books on Bombs
In times like these, reading inevitably turns to America and war. Chris White wades through Pilger, Chomsky, Eco, Moore and Vidal.

Postcard
Postcard from Harvard
Labor Council's Michael Gadiel was elected to give the valedictory speech to this year's Harvard Trade Union Program.

L E T T E R S
 Taking Stalin's Crimes Seriously
 Unfair Dismissals
 More Angry Trots
 Tom's Tirade
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

Minister for Thuggery


Wilson "Ironbar" Tuckey bashes his way into the Tool Shed this week after expressing the rather novel idea that getting the sack is in a worker’s best interests.

*****

Federal Government minister and serial idiot Wilson "Ironbar" Tuckey came out this week and suggested that the 1000 Qantas staff set to lose their jobs in coming months should realise that it is in the best interests of workers and the profitable company. "It is very much in the interests of the workers," says Tuckey, who is currently the acting transport minister - which apparently doesn't involve acting intelligently.

To compound this striking no-brainer Tuckey alluded to the collapse of Ansett as a precedent for the airline staff's predicament. How a virtual monopoly is supposed to go broke beggars belief - to do that they would need someone of the calibre of Tuckey in a management role.

A profitable Qantas announced that 1,000 staff would be made redundant between now and June 30 because of the impact of the war in Iraq and the deadly SARS virus since airports turned into humorless, nail-scissor stealing cattle yards. The decision follows Qantas imposing a unilateral wages freeze on its staff; but greed knows no bounds so now the company must cut further.

It is significant that the war was used as an excuse to bash the workers as Tuckey's position is entirely consistent with the Federal Government's policy that the best way to save someone is to blow them into little bits. The war was further alluded to, with "Ironbar" referring to the decision as a "pre-emptive" response.

Tuckey, who engaged in a bit of intellectual gymnastics by describing the decision as "logical", showed the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the airline's position, and the tenuous link to any kind of Ansett like collapse, by stating that the staff cuts had nothing to do with the domestic market.

Tuckey, once a Fraser Government Minister, has form. He has had his snout in the public trough for some time now and gained his nickname for the manner in which he persuaded unwilling customers to leave the premises of a pub he owned in Carnarvon, Western Australia. An Aboriginal fellow who caught the sharp end of Wilson Tuckey's implement was none too happy and Tuckey copped a $40 fine - thus demonstrating what an egalitarian society we live in.

The bizarre thing is that Tuckey seems to revel in his reputation as a thug.

Tuckey has also been the Minister for Chopping Down Trees and during his stint at the lumberyard he suggested that it was OK for forestry workers to take matters into their own hands in order to defend their livelihoods. Yet on the issue of the Qantas workers Tuckey seems to believe that the airline employees should bend over and cop it.

Tuckey may well be as thick as two short planks and show a reckless disregard for the facts, but he's also a grubby opportunist who thrives on the misery of others. In keeping with his attitude towards Qantas workers it should be in Tuckey's own interest, and the interest of Australian's generally, if our tool of the week lost his own job as a Federal member of Parliament.



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