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Issue No. 179 23 May 2003  

The Game’s Up
Research into executive pay commissioned by the NSW Labor Council makes explicit what most of us have suspected for some time: the multi-million packages are a rolled gold rort.


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.


 War Declared on Mega Salaries

 Poms Prick Golden Parachute

 Picket Breaks Abbott

 Abbott: Unions are Winning

 Hotel Silences Poverty Witness

 We’ve Lost A Lion

 Nurses Refuse to be Shelved

 Boss Picks Porters’ Pockets

 Left, Right Meet at Sea

 ACTU Prescribes Pan Medicine

 Tycoon Tuned Out

 MUA Clout in Wollongong Punch-Up

 Pusey Roams Dark Side

 Activists 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.

 Hard Copy
 Bad Language
 Modern Management Theory
 Tom's Revival
 Off the Rails
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Labor for Refugees


Tool Shed

Phil the Impaler

The Minister for Concentration Camps Philip Ruddock saunters into the tool shed this week after his arrogant response to allegations on the ABC’s Four Corners that he has been less than caring in his treatment of asylum seekers.


The Goebbels of the Howard Government, Philip Ruddock, made a sad and shameless attempt to defend the indefensible after the ABC's Four Corners program aired allegations of understaffing and incompetent management at the Woomera detention centre.

When the Federal Government outsourced management of the concentration camps it also tried to outsource responsibility for what went on there.

Four Corners documented harrowing scenes of obviously distressed people being treated like criminals in a manner that can only be viewed as "cruel and unusual".

Despite 80% of the Woomera detainees being assessed as genuine refugees Ruddock the Impaler's first response to the program was to claim it was "inaccurate" and then set about with his own grubby little campaign of misinformation and innuendo.

"I think this has been generated with, among other things, a clear aim of obtaining a different outcome for people who have been found not to be refugees," said the Minister for Gaoling Women and Children in a statement released after the allegations were aired.

The thin lips and flinty eyes of the Detention Minister revealed his heartless attitude when he dismissed the truly shocking allegations as "nothing new". The sheer bastardry of justifying the indefensible because it was "already on the public record" shows what an intellectual sewer this grub inhabits. The allegations by former detainees were invalid because "the people interviewed for the program have had their claims assessed by one of the most thorough protection assessment processes in the world."

Yes, and nothing was done! A fact that seems to fly over the head of a man whose ability to be both dumb and cruel are reaching new extremes. He tried to defend what happened at Woomera by giving a detailed explanation of the refugee assessment process - something that is totally irrelevant to the allegations raised in the Four Corners program, but is a masterful device in utilising spin to deflect criticism. It's the old tactic of changing the subject when you're losing the argument.

He defended the lack of media access to detention centres by claiming that media had access through "tours" of detention centres, organised in advance of course. Pol Pot also offered media tours of facilities, but it was what went on outside the "organised tours" that proved to be truly alarming.

"Four Corners uncritically reported that detainees in Villawood have nothing to do, when in fact they have access to 12 televisions, ten newspaper titles including 15 copies of the Daily Telegraph," said Ruddock. Australian television and the Daily Telegraph are certainly not "something to do" if one has an IQ higher than your average house brick.

ACM knew they could cut corners and pocket the difference with the full support of the Federal Government. This became obvious after the allegations were raised when Ruddock made strenuous efforts to both deny culpability for the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and simultaneously claim that it was the detainees themselves that were responsible, as if the detainees had come up with the policy of incarceration for those seeking freedom. He also defended ACM and painted those whistle blowers as somehow disaffected with ACM management. If they were disaffected its hard not to see why!

Many of the Asylum seekers were fleeing a regime so cruel and despotic that Ruddock's government saw it necessary for us to commit troops and join in a massive bombing campaign and military action, at the cost of thousands of lives, in order to save the population.

Our Tool of the Week is an irony free zone - proudly displaying his Amnesty International badge while driving human beings to self harm and suicide. This vermin still claims to be compassionate towards the asylum seekers and yet he has blood on his own hands when it comes to their treatment.

While its true that we live in an age where Peace is War it's taken our Tool of the Week to show us that Love is Hate and Freedom is Slavery.


The most inspiring interpretation of this week's tool get's a souvenir edition of Ship of Tools. Deface the Tool of the Week, click the button above to post your artwork, fill out the form and send your entry in and we'll post the winners next week in the Tool of the Week Gallery.


Ship of Tools - All the tools in one shed!

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Nominate a Tool!

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