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Issue No. 182 13 June 2003  

The Dead Couple
The message from the ACTU’s Future of Work research is that the two theoretical frameworks for understanding work in the 20th century - ‘Harvester Man’ and ‘TINA’ are both dead.


History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howard’s plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
It’s every power worker’s worst nightmare – and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEU’s Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues there’s another side to the recent furore over Telstra’s use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costello’s latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstart’s Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your ‘t’s, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.


 Air NZ Grounds Mums and Kids

 Unions to End Casual Affair

 Carr Faces Acid On Job Security

 Abbott Prescribes Dole for Mother of Six

 Cole Batting Zero from Thirty Two

 Labor Insider Makes Mess

 Dust Busters – MUA Sails into Allianz Fight

 Security Forces Come Out Firing

 Women’s Centre Faces Ideological Jihad

 Varsity Casuals Win Wage Increase

 Fortress NSW Protects BHP Workers

 Pharmacists Seek Jobs Medicine

 Iranian Textile Workers Sewn Up

 Unique Union –Uni Partnership

 Activists Notebook


It’s Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALP’s union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstream’s media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

 Costa Must Be Crazy
 Saharwi Struggle
 Vinegar Hill
 Tom's Toons
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The Dead Couple

The message from the ACTU’s Future of Work research is that the two theoretical frameworks for understanding work in the 20th century - ‘Harvester Man’ and ‘TINA’ are both dead.

Harvester Man and his stay at home wife was the model for most of the last century's labour relations: the idea that every worker had the right to an income that would satisfy his and his family's basic needs.

It was based on the Harvester Judgement that established the Living Wage that would be the battleground for National Wage Cases for 80 years. The Commission would impose across the board wage increases based on the cost of living, ensuring Australia truly was an egalitarian nation.

That was until the mid-80s when TINA seduced the world. Margaret Thatcher's infamous dictum 'There Is No Alternative' elevated economic fetishes like 'productivity' and 'efficiency' above the needs of workers.

TINA flashed her eyelids and the Harvester Man keeled over in the face of financial deregulation, privatisation of public assets, contracting out of core services and the growth of global corporation.

There's no doubt TINA delivered on her promises to corporate world, providing a momentum for hyper-profits that made their captains incredibly rich, but left normal workers wallowing in the Three I's of inequality, insecurity and work intensification.

But, as acirrt's research confirms, for Austraian workers the seduction was nothing more than a come-on.

The vast majority of jobs that TINA has created have been casual, jobs with no security and no entitlements to leave. Meanwhile the shrinking pool of full-time workers work longer hours, the overtime predominantly unpaid.

TINA's pressure is not just being felt at work; its spilling over into the family where working mums and dads juggle their responsibilities with increasing panic as their work and home lives collide.

TINA is killing the community too; membership of all organisations is down - which is hardly surprising when workers finish their days too tired to get up from in front of the telly.

The call to arms from this week's conference is to recognise TINA for the brazen hussey she is, show her the door and start rebuilding our working lives.

In the minds of Australian workers TINA has already gone; and the research presented from surveys and focus groups confirms Australian workers are seeking a leader to bury her.

The agenda for ACTU Congress that Greg Combet unveiled this week to address labour market fragmentation is an important circuit-breaker and places the union movement at the centre of this shift to start again.

Indeed, many unions are already addressing the issue - through industrial agreements that recognise the rights of long-term casuals and contractors; and in test cases to defend secure employment.

But where there is a real void is at a political level. While the Howard Government may be able to sail into office by defending our borders through the symbolic issue of boat people; it still sleeps with TINA.

Last election Howard tapped the sentiment of Australian workers to his own devices; but his free market economic ideology will never address their underlying issues.

It will take more than tinkering around the edges and will require serious political will; from the graveyard of workplace models we need to build a vision of work that strengthens communities, rather than divides them.

But if any political party could articulate this vision into a coherent workforce policy, it wouldn't matter who was leading them; they'd be a shoe-in to win the next election.

Peter Lewis



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