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Issue No. 197 26 September 2003  

Coming to the Party
The coming NSW ALP State Conference marks an important moment in the changing relationship between the political and industrial wings of the Party.


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.


 Violence: Rail Workers' Hot Spray

 Corporate "Branch Stack" in Court

 Entitlements: Ball in Carrís Court

 Asbestos Prospect for Home Buyers

 "Stand Over" Claims at Hilton

 US: Iraq on the Block

 Sheeps Of Shame

 Teachers Applaud TAFE Backdown

 Council Delays Sweat Shop Action

 Monk Aims Muscle at Unis

 Cobar Beats Off CBH Assault

 Sign Here For Reconciliation

 Workers Denied Home Loans

 Casual Approach No Holiday

 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 personís thoughts turn toÖhorse 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.

 The Clown and the Magician.
 Shorter Hours
 A Sick War
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Tool Shed


Brendan Nelson once prided himself on his Labor party links. Now our Tool of the Week shows what can happen when a bright young thing falls under bad influences. Itís time for the Federal Education Minister to sit in the corner of the Tool Shed. *****

Once held up as the new wonderkid of the Liberal party, former Labor party member and man of incredible self-importance, Brendan Nelson, is enjoying his new life as a spineless Education Minister whose efforts have proved to be as intellectual as beer coaster.

This week Brendan decided to stand aside wringing his hands while the worker's friend Tony Abbott held an industrial gun to the head of Australia's universities.

It's probably just as well he hasn't been left in charge, as he appears to have very little in the way of what a reasonable person may call a clue.

No wonder Nelson had a love affair with Labor. Gough Whitlam made it possible for him to get a free degree at Flinders University. That was in an age where there was space to sit in the library and universities could afford to pay lecturers.

These days of course the Federal Government's plan for the dumbing down of society so that Liberal party members can understand it is continuing apace.

Since pocketing his degree this upper class twit has discarded his earing and passion for independent thought and found himself representing those hard working people of Sydney's Upper North Shore.

Left in charge of the country's universities Brendan has set up a magnificent system whereby any brain dead idiot can get a degree, as long as they can pay for it.

This saves Australia from the challenging task of having to maintain an internationally recognised tertiary education system. Unfortunately the net result is that the next professional you see will more than likely possess the institutional equivalent of getting a degree off the back of a cornflake packet.

That Nelson is a schmuck is no secret. That he thinks he has something to offer Australia is also no secret. We are talking of a man whose ambition has its own gravitational pull.

Sadly his talent lags considerably behind his ambition. He has managed to unite university students, staff and Vice Chancellors - against him.

His Liberal buddies must be wrapped that Nelson is working assiduously on ensuring that the riff raff gets weeded out of the tertiary education sector, or at least anyone who comes from a household with an income below five hundred thousand. This will make those institutions far more palatable for the offspring of Lord Downer of Baghdad or the Mad Monk from Manly.

His last minute attempt to avoid the Tool Shed by praising the NSW Teachers Federation's successful campaign to reverse TAFE fees didn't fool anyone.

Despite his best efforts this man for all parties is still a tool - a tool who should go back to school.


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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Nominate a Tool!

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