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Issue No. 205 28 November 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Australia Deserves Better
You only have to scan through recent issues of Workers Online to see why the leadership of the ALP is so important – not to the political insiders who judge the beauty contest that is federal politics, but to the millions of workers who are affected by its output.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Labour Hire Boosts Tech Wreck

 Call Centre Throws Safety Out the Door

 Miners Tackle Million Dollar Sidestep

 Bouquets for Bosses

 Mandarins Nail Carpenters

 BHP Burrow-ed By UN

 ACT Rejects Manslaughter Bullying

 No Joy for Fat Exec Packages

 WorkCover Walks Away From Racetrack

 Contractors Scramble Foxtel Signal

 Safety Derails Train Talks

 Sydney Uni Strikes At Feds

 Workers Up For Safety Awards

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

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

Sport
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.

Politics
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.

Postcard
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.

L E T T E R S
 Mad Monk’s Medicare Minus
 A Tale Of Three Cities
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

TRACKSUIT DIPLOMACY


The Vodaphone President power walks into the Tool Shed this week after a stirling display of petulance during the Rugby World Cup presentations; with our dear leader deciding that the best time to have a tanty is when the world is watching.

*****

He may like to think of himself as a statesman, but our truth-challenged Prime Minister is increasingly appearing to be Napoleon in a tracksuit. It now appears Howard's opposition to an Australian president is based on his belief that the job of supreme executive leader should fall to himself.

Whether it is racing up the steps of an aeroplane so he can be seen with the slack jawed yokel that's running the US, or ignoring war widows so he can bask in the reflected glory of someone else's sacrifice, the Prime Minister believes he can assume the mantle of head-of-state to suit his own fantasies.

Of course this little tactic might work for a short term gain in the polls, especially if he uses his opportunities to invoke the mantra of mateship like some ocker dalek. But it only works if he believes our constitution (that quaint little British Act of Parliament) is taken as a general set of suggestions. Mind you, it makes sense if he places the credibility of our constitution alongside the Ministerial Code of Conduct, non-core election promises or having to practice real mateship rather than using it as a meaningless platitude.

It's a cunning stunt, but of course it will backfire if it is merely used as a vehicle to get good seats at a sporting contest. Especially if this little coup is carried out by someone as mean, vindictive, shallow and gormless as our incumbent Prime Minister.

Given that Rugby Union is the Liberal party with a football tucked under its arm it should come as no surprise that this wannabe member of the North Shore should cloak himself as the Vodaphone Prime Minister and get his ugly dial alongside as many Wallabies as he possibly can. It's the sort of thing that goes down well at the bar of the Gordon Rugby Club.

But the downside is that we have to put up with this complete non-entity strolling around the world stage like a demented loon, carrying on like a dorky pork chop, and generally making the rest of us cringe.

The man is an embarrassment to himself, his nation and humanity. Exactly what sort of a non-leader Howard is was shown during the Rugby World Cup presentations when he greeted the victorious English players as if they'd just pissed in his beer.

It is about time this bozo had a good hard look at himself. Is this how he wants Australians to carry on, being bad losers as well as bad winners? At the end of the day it is only a game. Then again, this man led us into a war on something even less substantial.

Still, he is a man who is proud to promote another country's corporations and bend over forwards for the US at every opportunity. One could wonder if Howard would show the same petulance he displayed at the Rugby World Cup presentation if the Free Trade negotiations go badly.

Our Tool Of The Week may act like a Head of State, but there's plenty of Australians that think he's a completely different sort of head.



Show Us YOUR TOOL!

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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