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Issue No. 183 20 June 2003  

A Beautiful Set of Numbers?
In the coming week the NSW Government will hand down the first budget of its third term. Few things are certain in politics, but rest assured the budget will be characterised as ‘tough and responsible’.


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.


 Task Force Sleeps Through Killing

 Go To Gaol – Do Not Collect $500,000

 Green Pollie in Picket Blue

 D-Day for Media Diversity

 Putting Steel into Government’s Spine

 Fortnight in Killing Fields Anyone?

 Underpaid Worker Fights Deportation

 Truckies Deliver Death Watch

 Job Cuts Caught in Spill Cycle

 Mum Wins Family Friendly Hours

 Allianz Plans Bite the Dust

 Aussies Back Zimbabwe’s Gaoled Strikers

 Boral Faces Stadium Stoush

 Drought Claims More Jobs

 Bridge Chaos Looms

 Activist 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

 Questions for Cuba
 Is Beazley's Popularity a Winner?
 Rank Marchers
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Tool Shed

Bliar, Bliar

Tony Bliar (sic) takes his goofy grin into the Tool Shed this week after being caught out telling a few porkies as he took the lead in the recent Bush dance.


Tony Bliar (sic) is an abject lesson in the perils of a Labour leader trying to be a neo-conservative. You can't catch two trains at the same time and the man who tried to starve the British fire fighters into submission to his Third Way has found himself on the wrong track.

Bliar (sic) was running around the world trumpeting the now discredited theory of Weapons of Mass Destruction as an excuse for Texas to get its hands on Iraq's oil reserves in much the same way as our own Prime Miniature was hysterically berating anyone who doubted the integrity of Dick Cheney's stock portfolio.

Now Bliar (sic) is facing two parliamentary inquiries regarding his loose appreciation of the truth, as well as watching his approval rating fall through the floor. Liars are seldom popular in the long run but Blair has grabbed the quinella. Unlike Bush and Howard who lead loopy right wing administrations that are in thrall with the neo-conservative world view, Bliar (sic) is facing a revolt from within his own governing party.

"Disarmament of all WMD is the demand," Bliar (sic) told the House of Commons on September 24 2002. He was unequivocal. This was the reason we had to go to war against Iraq. Not regime change. Not freeing the people of Iraq from a despot. It was Weapons of Mass destruction. Disarmament was the reason we had to go to war.

If it was about liberating people then blowing them into unidentifiable pieces is a strange way of liberating them. It's a use of language that would have appealed to the British Prime Minister's namesake Eric Blair, better known as George Orwell. He appreciated that to keep the people under control you need them on a permanent war footing. Unfortunately the British PM is looking more like Jayson Blair, the New York Times journalist who simply made his stories up.

If it was about freeing people from a murderous despot then the British government could have had a look in its own historical backyard at regimes in Burma and Zimbabwe. But that, of course, would be in contravention of the rule that countries don't meddle in another's internal affairs - a mantra that has been popular with right-wing apologists for decades. Of course it has never been a problem for the United States if a popularly elected left leaning government popped up in, say, Grenada or Nicaragua.

Then again, they do things differently in the United States. The British pride themselves on a more reserved approach to these things. Besides, people like Saddam Hussein are lucrative customers for the British armaments industry. Maybe the effort to rid Iraq of Weapons of Mass Destruction was just a few Anglophone governments doing a bit of repo work for the arms manufacturers that paid for their election? This would appeal to the moral vacuum occupied by the neo-conservatives, but it would always sit awkwardly with a government based on principles of compassion and human dignity - the shibboleths Bliar (sic)'s "New" Labour apparently stand for.

The question is Tony Blair a recruit to the neo-conservative world view, or just a dangerous fool?

If his lies were a deliberate ploy to ride the Yankee coat tails onto the spoils of Iraq then he has been truly suckered in by the neo-conservatives in the Bush administration. If he firmly believed the dossier that was presented to the House of Commons on Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction then he is certainly a dangerous fool.

Either way, Bliar (sic)'s stint in the Tool Shed will be a welcome respite for him considering that he will find it very difficult to survive the growing anger in his own party and the British community regarding his slap dash approach to the truth and accountability.

After all, this is a man who prosecuted a war that has cost thousands of lives on evidence that has since been dismissed by its protagonists as a "bureaucratic" excuse. At least his government is being held accountable for its deceptions, our own leaders merely seek to profit from their own murderous delusions.


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