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Issue No. 198 03 October 2003  

The Monk Off Our Back
It should come as no surprise that Tony Abbott has been dragged from his workplace relations portfolio just as his $60 million assault on the CFMEU finally unravels.


Interview: No Ifs, No Butts
Rugby League Professionals Association president Tony Butterfield on his battle to deliver a collective agreement for NRL players.

Unions: National Focus
In this month’s national wrap: Noel Hester meets a heavy hitter talking up open source unionism, truckies front the suits at Boral’s AGM, tales of corporate bastardry and Medicare birthday revelry.

Industrial: Fools Gold
Unions have thrashed out a string of protocols with the NSW Labor Government. Some, now, are questioning whether they are worth the cheap, imported paper they are written on, reports Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Bones of Contention
Byron Bay chicken boners have nominated thier boss for a Tony after seeing their entitlements plucked.

History: The Gong Show
In late September the South Coast Labour Council (SCLC) celebrated 75 unbroken years championing the rights of workers in the coastal Illawarra region 80 kilometres south of Sydney, writes Rowan Cahill.

Politics: The Hawke Legacy
The election of the Hawke Labor government twenty years ago holds some salient lessons for today’s Labor Party, writes Troy Bramston.

International: Sick Nation
As Australia celebrates 20 years of Medicare’s universal health coverage the crisis facing American workers in need of medical care is a useful reminder of what we’ve got – and what we stand, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Closed Minds
Philip Mendes looks at the political influence of right-wing think tanks, their financial backing and asks why the left hasn’t been able to get its ideas out there.

Review: Mixing Pop and Politics
He's had relations, with girls from many nations... but Billy Bragg seems to like us Aussies as much or even more than any of the others, writes Pádraig Collins.

Poetry: One Size Fits All
There once was a man from the Lodge - Who tried hard, our poems, to dodge... Resident bard David Peetz is back!


 Concrete Boot for Democracy

 Picketers Get Blue Ribbon Result

 ICAC Call at Mudgee Abattoir

 Telstra on Charges

 Unis Walk Over Federal Bullying

 IRC Shoots Rooster that Quacked

 Ugly Australian Riles Timorese

 Medicare Gets Abbott For Birthday

 Business Council Opposes Salary Vote

 Rail Workers Call For Self Defence

 ACT Leads On Industrial Manslaughter

 Thumbs-Up for Awards Binding Subbies

 Entitlements Crash into Hangar

 Blackouts on NSW Horizon

 State Govt Told To Clean Up Contracts

 Would-be Presidents Face Union Probe

 Activists Notebook


North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Soapbox
The $140 Million Patriot
It would be hard to imagine a steeper slide from hero to zero than the experience of Richard Grasso, the now-deposed head of the New York Stock Exchange. writes Jim Stanford.

Bush's Bad News Blues
The Bush Administration is cooking up a new campaign 'to shine light on progress made in Iraq', writes Bill Berkowitz.

The Locker Room
A Tale Of One City
Phil Doyle gazes into the crystal ball for signs of life, and finds that somewhere the horses are running in the wrong direction.

With Banners Furled
There is no better account of the glory that was the annual Labour Day marches than that given by Kylie Tennant in Foveaux, her fictional account of life in inner Sydney in 1912, the year she was born.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite Macquarie Street MP, Ian West MLC, reports on the world of NSW politics.

The Cancun Wash-Up
The dramatic collapse of the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, last month has been followed by a deafening quiet from Geneva, Brussels and Washington, writes Peter Murphy.

 A Hard Act To Follow
 Which Boss?
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Tool Shed

Reverend Tool

Kevin Andrews takes up a seat in the Tool Shed this week as the Howard Government goes into damage control mode – sicking the Mad Monk onto Medicare and putting Reverend Lovejoy in charge of Industrial Relations.


Great news! Kevin Andrews is here to save us all from the dead hand of socialism!

Our Tool Of The Week is the new Workplace Relations Minister and, if his track record is anything to go by, it looks like we're all in for a wild ride.

The news must have come as a shock to the man whose previous claim to fame was letting us all know what was good for us. In a breathtaking display of empathy and humanity he introduced a private members bill to block the Northern Territory Euthanasia Legislation.

This sort of paternalism is not entirely consistent with his professed liberal individualism; but then again the good reverend hasn't always been up with the latest trends.

It's quite appropriate that he represents the seat of Menzies as he sits well with the notion of a nineteen fifties conservative paternalism. He is a Howard man. In fact this living museum piece is probably the nearest thing we have to the DLP alive today.

Will one of the Federal Parliament's great under performers make a mark on industrial relations? Probably not, if his past form is anything to go by.

"Rampant unionism hinders the vaunted but little recognised and little realised micro-economic reform in this nation and continues to keep our economy uncompetitive with its wasteful work practices." He said in his maiden speech.

Oh, how novel. It's all the union's fault.

Our Tool Of The Week was once a deputy speaker in the house of representatives, but no one paid any attention to him so he stopped that.

Then he became the minister for making old people's lives a misery. He took the wilderness approach to aged care: take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints.

Now he's been snatched from the greatest crisis to face aged care in this country to bring his own brand of muscular Christianity to stamp out Satanism in the workplace.

No doubt he can now carry out the great work he alluded to in his maiden speech where he brought to light the blight of women in the workforce (quoting from that respected and august journal, Family Circle).

Anyone who describes themselves as "a barrister by trade" is going to spend a lot of time on their own at barbeques.

Our Tool Of The Week is one out of the box. He is as mad as Tony Abbott; as compassionate as Bronwyn Bishop; as paternalistic as John Howard; as dumb as Wilson Tuckey; as liberal as Fred Nile; and he's coming to a workplace near you!


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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