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Issue No. 204 21 November 2003  

Holes in the Net
The Medicare debate may be clouded by the minutae of the health delivery system, but it really boils down to an old-fashioned ideological battle between user-pays and state responsibility.


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.


 US Giant Attacks Aussies

 Exposed – OEA in Kids Scandal

 Left-Right Flattens Abigroup

 ANZ Cops Fine Over Robbers

 Classroom Stoush Gets Personal

 Seven Workers Pass "Intelligence" Test

 Stop Press: Coal Strike

 Nurses: MedicarePlus Points to America

 ‘Joel’s Law’ Gathers Momentum

 Skilled Picketers Confront Patrick’s

 Yahoo Censors Union Ad

 Labor’s Cotter Court ‘Faking’ It

 TAFE Puts Best Foot Forward

 Wharfies, Actors, Seafarers Unite

 Debus Gives Up On Lawyers Picnic

 Nelson Backdown Not Enough

 Online Pay Check



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.

 Jack Lives Here
 Saving Jobs
 Public Transport A Bit Rich
 The Smirker
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Tool Shed


New Seven Network chairman, the charm machine that is David Leckie has stumbled into the Tool Shed with his ham-foisted attempt to de-unionise the World Cup network.


Our Tool of the Week has racked what's left of his brain for a way to make more moolah for his new master, Kerry Stokes, and come up with the wonderfully innovative idea of sacking a few people, around 200 actually.

With consummate timing and a straight face Leckie dumped the job cuts hot on the heels of an improved profit performance. What better way to celebrate making money than to dump on the very people that made it for you? In the sharing spirit of Corporate Australia the share price jumped after the job cuts were announced.

Now he's in charge of the Seven Network Australians, especially in places like Adelaide and Perth, can look forward to less news and more of it.

If the job cuts keep up Leckie might have to get off his own sit down apparatus and do a days work himself. Heaven forbid!

Leckie rose to prominence at the Nine Network where arguably his most prominent decision was axing the long running Hey Hey It's Saturday. He was a man who must have slotted in well around the Packers; no doubt they shared a love of fine culture.

Now his network is accusing the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance of "harassment", which is pretty ironic given that the allegations come from a mob that is run by Leckie, D.

In any event Leckie's non-union offer was dumped by just under four out of every five workers at Seven, well the ones that are left anyway.

It says a lot about the Australian Media that a major commercial network can be left in the hands of a bloke who isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. Still, if you were going to dumb things down he would be a handy bloke to have around.

This is the man responsible for leaving the Rugby coverage in the hands of Chris "Buddha" Handy and Bruce McAvaney.

No doubt Leckie is still over the moon with the ratings blockbuster that was the Georgia v Romania clash.

If there's high brow and low brow, Leckie is mono-brow.

Our Tool Of The Week is a fine example of how our media works in the best interest of All Australians. Well, the rich ones anyway. All right, it works for the people who own the media.

Even so, a stint in the Tool Shed watching re-runs of A Country Practice seems fair enough, and the rest of us can look forward to the day when Leckie himself gets the arse.


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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