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Issue No. 195 12 September 2003  

Coalition of the Swilling
As the world stopped to mark the second anniversary of the September 11 attacks and its horrendous human toll, attempts at writing new rules for global trade were hitting their own immovable object


Interview: Crowded Lives
Labor frontbencher Lindsay Tanner talks us through his new book on the importance of relationships and why politics is letting the people down.

Activists: Life With Brian
Work by men like Brian Fitzpatrick is exposing new Australians to old truths. Jim Marr reports

Industrial: National Focus
A showdown looms in Cancun, Qantas gets bolshie, casual and lazy in its response to aviation challenges, and long festering disputes fester on in Victoria and Tasmania reports Noel Hester in this national wrap.

Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Trades Hall is preparing for a major facelift but first, Jim Marr reports, it must bid farewell to the colourful bunch who have populated its dusty corridors in recent years.

Economics: Beating the Bastards
Frank Stilwell looks at some of the proposals for building a fairer finance sector.

Media: Three Corners
So its come to this. Four Corners, one of the world's longest running television programs is now under pressure from an ABC Executive that is less cultural visionary than feral abacus.

History: The Brisbane Line
Percy Spender was Menzies' foreign minister, but, Neale Towart asks, was he also prepared to serve as Prime Minister in a Japanese controlled Australia?

Trade: The Dumping Problem
Oxfam-CAA helps set the scene for this month's World Trade Organisation in Cancun.

Review: Frankie's Way
In The Night We Called It A Day Frank Sinatra learns 'sorry' Down Under is a loaded word and refusal to say it when due will lose fans in important places, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Teachers Attack National Stitch-Up

 Safety Off The Rails

 Lion King Delivers for Kids

 Five Grand Extra for Unionists

 Telstra Gets Curry for Take Aways

 WTO Trips on Cancun Hurdle

 Workers Kicking Goals

 Dial NRMA for Stuff-Up

 This Is Your Operator Freaking

 Millionaire Takes Candy from Carers

 Working Women Get New Voice

 Community Burns Rubber Giant

 Grass Roots Campaign Beats Bush

 Unions-Council Strike ‘Clean Hands’ Partnership

 Call For Campaign To Save Bush Trains

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Staking Our Territory
ACTU secretary Greg Combet argued for a fairer Australia in his keynote address to last month's ACTU Congress.

The Locker Room
Seasonally Agisted
Spring is a season when a person’s thoughts turn to…horse racing. Phil Doyle reports on the fate of nags and folk heroes.

Beyond the Block
We are wild about the people who live in The Block but not too interested in those who are on the streets outside, writes Michael Rafferty.

The Westie Wing
Workers friend Ian West MLC, reports form the Bearpit about a project to raise awareness about trade unionism amongst young people.

The Awkward Squad
Paul Smith meets one of the new generation of British union leaders who is taking the ball up to the Blair spin team.

 Life Wasn’t Meant To Be Frankie
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Tool Shed

Deputy Tool

He’s a man from the bush who wants to privatise Telstra and deregulates services to rural and regional Australia. He’s also a Tool and he doesn’t know when to quit. Deputy PM and Minister for Travel Allowances, John Anderson parks the Massey-Ferguson into the Tool Shed this week


Mudgee is a nice place. It deserves better than our serial free luncher, the Deputy PM and member for Gwydir John Anderson, who certainly ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer.

'Melba' Anderson made a mockery out of the saying 'you can take the boy out of the bush, but you can't take the bush out of the boy'. Long John has taken everything out of the bush - jobs, infrastructure, services, and a boy called John Anderson, who likes the comfy leather of Canberra so much he thought he'd keep on shining a seat in the House of Reps for a few more years yet.

In keeping with the tradition of the National Party under his leadership, that of not having an original idea, Anderson has followed Dear Leader Howard in a Canute-like attempt to delay the inevitable.

Rumours of his imminent plans to do the right thing by Australia and quit had them getting ready to crack out the Champagne in Coolah before Big John made his plans to stay on known earlier this week.

The National Party, which is neither, could barely hide its disappointment when the man who has made his mark in public life by running up some of the biggest travel expenses known to humanity decided to hang onto his ceremonial title of Deputy PM for a while yet.

Once dubbed "the Cowardly Lion:" the lugubrious Anderson has succeeded where it would previously have been thought impossible. He has made the likes of Ian Sinclair and Bob Katter appear to be intellectuals.

Anderson is the man who sided with shonky foreign shipping companies against his fellow Australians. He issued the permits to allow foreign vessels to work Australian routes, throwing Australian maritime workers out of a job.

As a nominal friend of the primary producer Anderson knows the importance of exports, unfortunately his greatest export has been Aussie jobs.

His disingenuous arguments supporting the rapacious demands of the big end of town were so successful with the National Party's heartland that they spawned the One Nation Party. It doesn't help that the National Party have the collective IQ of a house brick.

His handling of the Ansett collapse alone should have left his file marked "Never To Be Employed Again", but somehow this bumbling incompetent rose in favour with Howard cabinet. Why are we not surprised.

The fundamental problem with Anderson is that he's as boring as a potato, but with none of the brains. Luckily our Tool Of the Week went to the right school, so he's never had to work for a living; finding a nice situation in Howard's sheltered workshop.

A position he's unlikely to give up for a while yet - something that's bad for Mudgee, and a tragedy for all of us.


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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