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Issue No. 201 31 October 2003  

Criminal Logic
It has taken the tragic death of 16-year-old Joel Exner to focus public opinion on laws that allow an employer guilty of killing a worker to get off paying a measly $1800.


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!


 It's Official - Life Worth $1800

 Bank Fesses-Up on Robbery

 Corrigan Straddles Robot

 Striking Guards Beat Chubb

 Killer Company Cuts And Runs

 Call Centre Loses Its Sensis

 Greens Set to Bowl Workers’ Homes

 The RSL With No Beer

 Law Rewritten To Get Workers’ Cash

 Pressures Lead To Truckie Deaths

 Soup Kitchen Signals Bleak Future For TAFE

 Art For Workers Sake

 Carr Sweeps Cleaners Off Their Feet

 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.

 Child Labor
 Industrial Manslaughter
 The Miracle Of Tom
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Tool Shed


Liberal attack poodle, Senator George Brandis, takes up a place in the Tool Shed this week after hysterical allegations about Nazism are aired in the Senate which, at least in George’s presence, must be an irony free zone. ******

Queensland Liberal Senator George Brandis this week lives up to the old adage that it's hard to think with the mouth open.

In the senate this week he took up a theme that has been aired by that other oxygen deprived hypocrite from the loony right, Andrew Bolt, with shrill accusations that The Greens are Nazis.

While the Greens are many things, and don't always represent the interests of organised labour, accusations that they are Nazis are pretty out there.

Especially coming from a man who propped up the Government's race-baiting children overboard claims and conspired in the SIEV-X cover-up.

He might do well to study the Nazis attitude to Trade Unions. An attitude that bears a remarkable resemblance to the policies prescribed by his own party.

This name calling is coming from the man who described John Kerr as 'the victim of the Dismissal', 'my beloved friend' and someone who 'marched always in the ranks of honour'.


Staggered more likely.

Despite being a John Howard look-a-like Brandis is a Costello booster who has teamed up with shonky branch stacker Santo Santoro (remember the Liberal Party branch members who lived in China?) to further embarrass conservatives north of the Tweed.

He has also served a term as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a high-powered conservative Washington think-tank has been credited with shaping Australia's new interventionist foreign policy, including the Federal Government's stance against North Korea.

He told The Courier-Mail that the institute was the first to abandon the notion of sovereignty in favour of "humanitarian intervention".

Then this low-life grub found time in his miserable life to stuck into Jim Cairns, but only after he died.

While Ruddock was denying that Australia's Pacific Solution involved 'Detention Centres' Brandis let the cat out of the bag by referring to them as such during the Senate inquiry into SIEV-X.

At the Senate inquiry Brandis repeated the now-discredited claims that asylum seekers used children to pressure the Navy.

"The peculiar evil of this case was that they weren't threatening to harm themselves, they were threatening to harm children, including according to some of these reports, children as young as two. Don't you think that ramps up the level of moral blackmail?" A breathless Brandis told the inquiry.

It's breathtaking that someone as morally challenged as Brandis can keep a straight face while he accuses anyone else of having Nazi sympathies.

Brandis also takes a keen interest in higher education, something that it appears he could benefit from.

"The independent report was a completely confected excuse," said Brandis of the SIEV-X inquiry.

What the hell does confected mean? Made into candy?

In his role as a member of the Senate inquiry into higher education the rather self important Senator Brandis felt unis should take their begging bowls over to private sector and stop bothering the government.

As one inquiry observer explained: " I thought private sector paid taxes too. I thought better unis meant better thinkers, workforce, execs, admin types; so better economy, more taxes, higher senators' wages - apparently enlightened self-interest not part of Brandis' job description."

Brandis is also got the Queensland Teachers Union in his wildly misguided sights. Unfortunately he could probably do with a bit of help from a few Primary School teachers himself. Check out the grammar on this latest attack on the Queensland Teachers Union: "The new funding system recognises the socio-economic needs of parent communities - and also that is fairer."

Back to school for you George, with remedial classes in History AND English.

Our morally and intellectually challenged Tool Of The Week may be right about there being Nazis in parliament, but the best chance he'll have of spotting one is when he has a shave in the morning.


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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