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Issue No. 202 10 November 2003  

Governing the Corporates
Suburban branch manager Joy Buckland’s bid for a position on the ANZ Board raises important questions about the way our major companies are governed.


Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
The Welfare Rights Centre's Michael Raper on 20 years of activism, the politics of punishment and how to make Australia egalitarian again.

Unions: Joel's Law
Building Workers have overcome powerful forces to push workplace safety back up the national agenda. But, Jim Marr writes, their "success" has come at an unacceptable cost.

National Focus: Spring Carnival
It must be spring: punting in Victoria, singing in South Australia, fighting in America. It’s all there in the national wrap from Noel Hester plus an Australian union movement rugby world cup class consciousness poll.

Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
They sacked the job delegate, reinstated him after an IRC hearing, and sacked him again two weeks later. But that was just the beginning.

Industrial: The Price of War
Mass industrial action is brewing in Israel as the policies of the right-wing Sharon Government come home to roost, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Who's Got What
Frank Stilwell pours over the latest BRW Rich List to build a picture of the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots.

History: Containing Discontent
Racism against minorities has always been a stock in trade of politicans, writes Phil Griffiths

Review: An Honourable Wally
Most Australians probably look at our politicians and feel they could do a better job but when redundant meatworker Wally Norman gets the chance to find out he realises getting elected is a major hurdle, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
A thousand blossoms bloomed during the US President's spring-time colonial visit last month.


 Taskforce Sleeps As Cranes Crash

 Scabies, Filth in Upmarket Annandale

 ANZ Jumps For Joy

 Race That Couldn’t Stop Nangwarry

 Mandarins in $120m Disappearing Act

 BAT Stubs Out Junta

 Millions on Entitlements Line

 Workcover in Hold-Ups Gun

 Phoenix Rises … Again

 TAFE Takes To Thong Slapping

 Casual Work Is Health Hazard

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Bush's Faith-Filled Life
The President's conversion, 'sense of divine calling' and struggle with sobriety are subjects of a forthcoming book, writes Bill Berkowitz

The Not So Smart Money
Phil Doyle is sick of big money ruining grass roots sport, and he’s taking his bat and going home.

The Westie Wing
The ongoing challenge for Labor members of parliament is to make what the Premier calls the ‘creative partnership’ between the Government and the union movement a reality, writes our favourite MP Ian West.

Behind the Junta
Saw Min Lwin, Secretary for Trade Union Rights/ Human Rights for the Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB), outlines the struggle for workers in his country.

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Tool Shed


In recent times we have been reminded that the cutting edge competition of the corporate world requires hard-nosed business decisions to be made. There is no room for sentimentality or favouritism; which is why our Tool Of The Week has been selected purely on merit.


The Paris Hilton of the business world, James Murdoch, has been chosen to head the UK sister operation of the rather appropriately named News Limited because he possesses all the skills that they were looking for.

Rupert Murdoch needed someone who possessed the intellectual stamina of a cheerleader, as well as the critical acumen of a fence post. That's why he chose James Murdoch to run BSkyB, the British pay TV operation that gives depth and meaning to the word crap.

It's nice to know that young James was selected entirely on merit and not because he is the boss's son.

Of course nepotism is a wonderful thing, and James is to be congratulated for making the most of this happy accident of birth. He continues in the fine tradition that gave us the Divine Right Of Kings and the sort of inbreeding that made the Hapsburgs such a unique institution.

Nepotism is an outstanding success when it comes to leadership succession, as is evidenced by the current US President and our very own Foreign Minister, Lord Downer of Baghdad.

Recently we have discovered that if our business institutions are to get the finest they must pay top dollar. It now appears that if they are to get some nepotistic travesty of an appointment they are to pay top dollar as well.

With a six-figure salary to keep him warm it looks as if our Tool Of The Week has been left with the lucrative electronic arm of the News Empire. BSkyB is, of course, open to a spot of fabrication if it looks good on the box. This was evident during their Gulf War 'coverage', when BSkyB's reporters were so far embedded it can't have been healthy.

James, of course, is ideally suited to promote the dumbing down of the media so embraced by his dear old dad. If anyone is in a position to dumb something down it's James. He manages to achieve the dumbing down of any situation merely by walking into the room.

This shining example of the meritocracy is no doubt qualified to take up his new post with BSkyB given that he failed university. James has assured the selection panel at BSkyB that he will get a degree. One can only assume it will be off the back of a Corn Flakes packet given the examples from his previous forays into academia.

With brother Lachlan showing that business acumen was obviously a dominant genetic trait after his forays into Super League and One.Tel, James must now come into favouritism to run the News empire when Rupert does something he should have done years ago and drops off the twig.

While James' inside run might be all right by his old man, it should be a different story when our Tool Of The Week faces the BskyB AGM in a few weeks time. The investors that control nearly two-thirds of the operation may not take too kindly to the younger Murdoch being given a free lunch by his dad.

In the meantime James Murdoch has made the prescription for success in the corporate world clear. If you want to get on just make sure daddy runs the company.


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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