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Issue No. 191 15 August 2003  

Three Year Itch
The triennial ACTU Congress meeting Melbourne this week comes at the most difficult of times for the union movement, as the horror prospect of seven years of conservative government becomes an ongoing reality.


Interview: The New Deal
US union leader Amy Dean expands on her agenda to give unions a real political voice

Unions: In the Line of Hire
Unions have lobbied and negotiated in a bid to stem casualisation and insecurity. Now, Jim Marr, writes they are seeking protection through a formal Test Case.

Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
Young people are amongst the most vulnerable in the workforce. So why aren't they joining the union, asks Carly Knowles

International: The Domino Effect
An internal struggle in the biggest and strongest industrial union in Germany IG Metall has had a devastating wave effect across not just that country, but also the rest of Europe, writes Andrew Casey.

Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
Max Ogden looks at the vexed issue of Works Councils and the differing views within the union movement to them.

National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
Achieving a fairer society and a better working life for employees from across Australia will be key themes at the ACTU's triennial Congress meeting later this month reports Noel Hester.

History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Rowan Cahill looks at the role Australia's conservatives played in supporting facism in the days before World War II.

Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Frank Sartor might have shot through but Robert Domm still calls the IR shots at Sydney City which pretty much explains why the council is this month’s Bad Boss nominee.

Poetry: Just Move On.
Visiting bard Maurie Fairfield brightens up our page with a ditty about little white lies.

Review: Reality Bites
The workers, united, may never be defeated but if recent episodes of Channel 10 drama The Secret Life Of Us are to be believed, this is not necessarily a good thing, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Public Backs Services Over Tax Cuts

 Seafarer Awards – Full Steam Ahead

 Sunnybrand Plucks Workers

 Call Centre Stink Over Time in Loo

 Reynolds Banks on Safety

 Workers To Back League Stars

 Witnesses Line Up for Test Case

 Unfair Legislation Dismissal

 Tax Office "Bites" Its Own

 Bosses Grab Massive Pay Hikes

 IR Staff Walk Over Job Cuts

 Government Kills Manslaughter Bill

 Rail Workers Spitting Mad

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Fighting Words
Craig Emerson gave what could be the most spirited Labor spray in a decade to the NSW Labor Council this month. Here it is in all its venom.

Out of Their Class
Phil Bradley argues that Australia's education system should not be up for negotiation in the global trade talks.

The Locker Room
The ABC of Sport
Phil Doyle argues that the only way to end the corporate madness that is sport, is to give it all back to the ABC.

Locks, Stocks and Barrels
Union Aid Abroad's Peter Jennings updates on the situation in Burma, where the repression of democracy is going from bad to worse.

 Tom’s Tool
 Neighbourhood Watch
 MUA CD Launch
 The Remittance Man
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Tool Shed

Honan The Barbarian

By Phil Doyle

What do you buy if you already have everything? Why, the Prime Minister of course. Our Tool of the Week Dick Honan takes the taxpayer for an ethanol enriched ride and gives the truth a Brazilian Shave.


"The Prime Minister is an honourable man. He is not a liar," says Dick Honan with a straight face. As for Dick himself, well, that's anyone's guess.

The remarkably well connected Dick had to let a few people go from one of his moonshine plants in Victoria this week. People with eyes in their head thought it was because of those ubiquitous "We Don't Have Any Ethanol In Our Petrol" signs that have appeared at servos across the country.

Dick told the workers in Portland it was because the bad men in Canberra wouldn't let him put more than 10% of his moonshine into the petrol at the aforementioned servos.

Then Dick told Tony Abbott it was because the Labor Party are a bunch of party-poopers that had derailed his gravy train. What he told John Howard is a mystery as Little Johnny can't seem to remember if they ever met at all, or even what day of the week it is.

The rather appropriately named Dick is onto what Arthur Daley used to refer to as 'a nice little earner'. He has a monopoly on a product that nobody wants and the government is prepared to subsidise him to the tune of something approaching the national budget of Tuvalu to produce it.

And, in case anyone does decide they might like to sample the Old Familiar Juice, the government will tax anyone else into submission so that the consumer will have a choice of Dick's product, Dick's product or Dick's product.

As part of a job lot the government also threw in a few James Bond characters to do a bit of what some people call pro-active marketing strategies and other people call spying.

This, apparently, is the free market in action and saves Dick the inconvenience of having to work for a living.

Dick seemed a bit miffed when somebody started questioning his remarkably charmed deal from the Howard administration. I suppose anyone be if a cheque with a lot of zeros on it looked like disappearing out of their paw.

Dick is a big believer in the free market policies of Howard's crew. Our Tool Of the Week once sat on that other great bastion of free market forces in action, the Wheat Board, which is an institution that conservatives supported for decades as a bulwark against socialism and price fixing.

This allowed Dick to have a few long lunches with that other honest Australian - Max Moore-Wilton. Max, of course, ran the Prime Minister for a few years and would remind John of things like pants first, then shoes or what day of the week it was.

Through this connection Dick and the John were able to exchange BSB and account details and the business gets done. The best part is that the only person who really losses out is the taxpayer.

Our Tool Of The Week shows just how far a person with an entrepreneurial spirit, a dodgy fuel additive, a few well connected mates and absolutely no morals can go in this day and age.


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!

View our Gallery of Tools

Nominate a Tool!

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