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Issue No. 185 04 July 2003  

A Recipe for Conflict
Without making any excuses, Tony Abbott’s hand wringing at this week’s airing of a secret video of picket line violence was a bit like watching Don King condemn boxing.


Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
One the movement’s great characters, Public Service Association general secretary Maurie O’Sullivan, is calling it a day. He looks back on his career with Workers Online.

Industrial: Just Doing It
Sportswear giant, Nike, is the first company to sign off on an agreement that purports to protect Australian clothing workers, wherever they labour, writes Jim Marr.

Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
For a 23-year-old woman who has never worked in the trade, recruiting young construction apprentices into the union has its challenges, reports Carly Knowles.

Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Mal Cochrane came to the smoke as part of an Aboriginal avalanche that redefined the face of Rugby League. Today, he serves his community through the trade union movement.

Bad Boss: In the Pooh
What do you give a boss who makes his workers labour in raw sewage? A nomination for the Tonys.

Unions: National Focus
In the national wrap Noel Hester finds a Victorian Misso delo who is redistributing lucre from Eddie McGuire into workers’ theatre, South Australian unions taking that Let’s Get Real stuff seriously, an American unionist fronts up at a distinguished ‘meeting of the brains’ in Adelaide and a look at the line up for ACTU Congress.

Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Dick Bryan wonders if we can be insured against pop economists promising financial nirvana as well as financial market instability.

Technology: Dean for President
Paul Smith looks at how the internet is helping one Democrat candidate to the front of the primary pack

International: Rangoon Rumble
Union Aid Abroad's Marj O'Callaghan looks at Australia's weak response to developments in Burma.

Education: Blackboard Jungle
Lifelong learning shouldn’t mean cutting jobs, but that's exactly what the Carr Government is proposing, argues Tony Brown

Review: From Weakness to Strength
Labor Council crime-fighter Chris Christodoulou catches up with his boyhood hero, the Incredible Hulk

Poetry: Downsized
Resident bard David Peetz pens the song the Industrial Relations Commission needed to hear


 Aussie Workers Cradle-Snatched

 Morris McMahon Workers Say Thanks

 Violence: Emerson Fingers Abbott

 Cowboys Face Contracts Ban

 TUTA Rises From the Ashes

 Teased Teachers Fight Back

 Labor Fails TAFE Test

 Coke Called on to Stop the Rot

 Bridgestone Drops Doughnut on Workers

 AIRC Locked in Dark Ages

 Maternity Breakthrough in Hotels

 Labour Rights: Even Bush is Better!

 Long Winter for Seasonal Workers

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Cleaning Up
Rabbi Laurie Coskey from San Diego adds her voice to the global campaign for just for cleaners in Westfield malls.

The Locker Room
The Name In The Game
In an age of the sportsperson as celebrity it seems that names are overtaking the games, writes Phil Doyle.

The Beach
Southern Thailand’s terrorist activities: facts or fiction asks HT Lee

 A Tribute to Brian Miller
 Orange Peel
 After the Accident
 Cuba - the Debate Continues
 Old Ted
 Greetings from Japan
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Tool Shed

Call Waiting

Deputy PM John Anderson leads the federal National party into the arms of a privatised Telstra and behind the door of the Tool Shed


Fresh from running up the largest Parliamentary travel bill in the country flying to and from his own private airport, Deputy PM John Anderson is fast becoming a leader with no party. This week that bastion of bolshevism, the NSW National Party, joined their Queensland colleagues in opposing any further privatisation of Telstra leaving Anderson increasingly isolated.

While he doesn't have to drive on substandard roads like the rest of us, Anderson spends a lot of time traveling the country selling the "benefits" of full Telstra privatisation.

One of Anderson's most ingenious arguments is that "Telstra will be sold anyway". This bizarre inevitability and resignation on Anderson's part shows how much the coalition are captive of a mindless pursuit of ideology regardless of the outcomes for millions of ordinary Australians.

The public are growing weary of snake oil salesmen such as Anderson stumping around the country promising that the Privatisation of Telstra will usher in a wonderful age of great service and that by pissing a few million up against a tree the Government can guarantee an end to poor service, inferior technology and holes in donuts. It just doesn't wash. Everyone understands the public mood except for the Federal Cabinet and the stockbroking fraternity.

Anderson has led his Federal colleagues to a position of irrelevancy by not standing up over this fundamental issue of rural infrastructure.

"The National Party has got an awful lot to answer for here because they have caved in completely to the Liberal Party on this issue," said Tanner on the ABC's Insider's program last week. He summed up Anderson's position well when he described the Nats as "a wholly owned subsidiary of the Liberal Party".

It seems Anderson has already privatised his own party, selling it off to the big end of town.

Even the Victorian Nationals are opposed to selling Telstra. This must concern Anderson considering the Victorian division has produced such intellectual giants as Julian McGauran.

As a substitute for having a policy that actually delivers to his constituency, Anderson is placing what passes as his faith in a marketing campaign.

Anderson has completely missed the point about people's objections to having their assets summarily sold out from underneath them. Making our telecommunications infrastructure and its employees answer to the market rather than the community has already been an unmitigated disaster. Now we know whose interests Anderson represents.

An advertising campaign is not going to improve telecommunication services or give anyone outside the advertising industry job security. How clueless our Deputy PM has become became apparent when he was sidelined during the Iraq War. Anderson, like his party in regional Australia, is fast becoming an embarrassing irrelevancy. Our Tool of the Week will need more than smarmy spin doctors to save him from a backlash in the bush if he tries to get his crazy plan to flog off Telstra up.

It's about time the bush was represented by people who know and understand what it's like to have to deal with corporate giants like Telstra, rather than spineless yes-men to the Liberal's divisive and destructive agenda.


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.


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