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Issue No. 176 02 May 2003  

Solidarity Forever
Another May Day, another year gone, another year to look back on our history and celebrate the past and talk about how we can make our movement strong again.


Interview: Staying Alive
CPSU national secretary Adrian O'Connell talks about the fight to keep the public service - and the union movement - alive.

Bad Boss: The Ultimate Piss Off
Wollongong workers on poverty-level wages are losing up to $5000 for taking toilet breaks, according to the union representing staff at a Stellar call centre.

Industrial: Last Drinks
Jim Marr looks at the human cost of the decision to close Sydney’s Carlton United Brewery

National Focus: Around the States
If Tampa told us that John Howard circa 2003 is the same spotted rabid dog from 1987, this week’s assault on Medicare confirms it reports Noel Hester in this national round up.

Politics: Radical Surgery
Workers are vitally interested in Medicare, not least because they traded away wage rises to get it. Now, Jim Marr writes, the Coalition Government is tearing apart the 20-year-old social contract on which it was founded.

Education: The Price of Missing Out
University students and their families will pay more for their education following the May Budget, writes Tony Brown.

Legal: If At First You Don't Succeed
Love is wonderful the second time around, goes the famous torch song. But is the same true for legislation? Asks Ashley Crossland

History: Massive Attack
Labour historian Dr Lucy Taksa remembers the general strike of 1917 to put the recent anti-war marches into perspective

Culture: What's Right
Neale Towart looks at a new book that looks at the failings of the Left, while reasserting the liberal project

Review: If He Should Fall
Jim Marr caught Irish folk-rock-punk legend Shane MacGowan at Sydney’s Metro Theatre. He was surprised but not disappointed.

Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Through a distortion in the time-space continuum, we have found a recording showing how people a few years into the future will deal with health care.

Satire: IMF Ensures Iraq Institutes Market Based Looting
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to monitor the Iraqi economy to ensure that the reintroduction of looting into the economy conforms with free-market theory.


 Mystery Men Behind Pan Bungle

 Charities Brace for Medicare Backlash

 Court Throws Out Cole Prosecutions

 Child Actor Dodges Broken Voice

 Rio Tinto: $40 Million for Boss, Eviction for Workers

 Child Care for Oldies Too

 Winning Poster Shouts at Freeloaders

 May Day Tragedy Claims Union Lives

 Westfield Cleaners to Down Mops

 Question Marks Over Nursing Home

 Burn Payout Highlights Compo Fears

 Costa Blows Whistle on Canberra Raid

 Hoops Bet on National Body

 Tear Us Down, Buttercup

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
What May Day Means to Me
Reader Marlene McAlear penned this tribue to May Day and worker solidarity.

The Toast
Labor Council secretary John Robertson's toast to the annual May Day dinner in Sydney.

The Locker Room
The Numbers Game
In life there is lies, damned lies and sporting statistics, says Phil Doyle - but who’s counting.

Brukman Evicted
ZNet's Marie Trigona reports from the streets of Argentina in the rundown to last week's presidential election.

The Costs of Excess
Some tall business poppies had their heads lopped this week as the laws of economic gravity applied their always chaotic theory.

 Is Labor History?
 Bob Gould Sprays Gerard Henderson
 War and Peace
 A Strange Light
 A Little History
 Does It Have To Be?
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Letters to the Editor

A Little History

In 1966, the ALP massively lost a federal election on a simple and now uncontroversial proposal of non-participation in Vietnam, particularly not with conscripted youngsters..

Given the size of their win, it is an odd measure of the guilty fear which the Right invest in that result that after 37 years, they still attempt to discredit and impugn the then Labor leader Arthur Calwell.

Calwell, they continually, untruthfully and slyly imply, was a racist in particular, as well as a backward anachronism, a nong etc., etc. Right-wing "think" tank commentators still pimp this canard (this is not a mixed metaphor if you know these bludgers' vices) among their other lies. It reached a low point with the effete, vacuous, dishonest 100 Years The Australian Story TV program which depicted Pauline Hanson as following on from Mr Calwell.

And like their Vietnam fraud, this kind of dishonesty underwrites Tory behaviour in office today - grubby (but profitable) wars, racism, tax cheating, ministerial impropriety, lies and the undermining of Australia's rule of law (even to the forgery of Commonwealth documents).

Happily for the Liberals, a lot of people buy this rot. Many are just the usual rusted-on weak Liberal maggots who would tumble like ninepins if you ever put them on the Kokoda Track or anywhere they had to pull their weight. But as Silent Majority's bumper-stickers say: "I make grunting noises and I vote." Decent Australians must knuckle down, work hard and wait for a fair go to come back into fashion so swinging voters can crawl out of the Liberal dung-heap..

And the untelegenic Simon Crean can wear Newspoll's "disapproval" rating from dumbcluck viewers of Big Brother like a red badge of courage. Imagine the alternative - aping the execrable Howard ministry, an even worse bunch of vultures than Harold Holt's 1966 silvertail sleazebags.

Peter Woodforde


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