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Issue No. 207 22 December 2003  

Backs to the Wall
How does one judge a year like 2003, when on the surface the powers of darkness – read Bush and Howard and union-busting bosses - can point to the scoreboard and claim ‘we won!’?


Interview: Robbo’s Rules
Labor Council secretary John Robertson rules the line through 2003 and looks forward to a bigger and better year to come.

Unions: Fightback 2003
Tony Abbott, no less, summed up the tone of 2003 when he complained workers were frustrating his agenda, as Jim Marr reports.

Bad Boss: Madame Lash Whips Tony
Jim Marr explains how a local can manufacturer knocked off a quality field, including a notorious American call centre operator, in the race for Bad Boss honours.

Politics: United Front
Facing a new leader and new rules, Jim Marr speaks to key union players about the hot issues at January’s ALP National Conference.

Economics: Looking Back - Looking Forward
The year ends with the thought that 2004 must be better, writes Frank Stilwell in his annual review of all things economic.

International: Net Benefits
International editor Andrew Casey looks back on a year where workers stood up globally for services we once took for granted.

History: The New Guard
Who were Australia’s fascists in the 1930s and was John Howard’s father in the New Guard? Labour historian, Andrew Moore, uncovers some surprising information about Australia’s fascist past.

Poetry: What is the PM singing this Christmas?
Our Kirribilli spies, led by resident bard David Peetz, have been listening in on the PM's preparations for Christmas, and have recorded the Howard family rehearsing this new Christmas carol.

Review: Culture That Was
2003 saw the Howard Government signal its readiness to swap culture for agriculture in a free trade deal with the US and film maker George Miller lament that Aussie's had run out of stories to tell anyway, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 No Joy for ANZ - This Time

 Nurses, Teachers Win Big

 Govt Coy on Sackings Threat

 NSW: State of Discomfort

 Fashion Police Collar Moe

 Telstra Picks Up Union Signal

 E-Missiles Strike White House

 STOP PRESS: Doubts Over Driver Test

 Juggler Catches Union Gong

 Chubb Beats Up On Own Guards

 Commuters Face Long, Hot Summer

 MUA Members Play Santa

 Bennelong Grinch Strikes Again

 G’day To Union Made Wines

 Activists Notebook


The Guessing Game
We have consulted our regular list of mystics and gnostics to offer these throughts for the future.

Folk You Mate
Jan Nary looks at the role of workers songs in the upcoming National Folk Festival.

Shane Maloney – Crime Writer
For a crime writer whose books are set against a backdrop of unions and Labor Party politics, Shane Maloney confesses to little direct experience of either.

The Locker Room
Workers Online Sports Awards
Noel Hester and Peter Moss give their annual rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of sport.

The Web We Weave
Social Change Online's Mark McGrath's annual review of how unions are using the web to grow.

 Tom On Mark
 Looking The Otherway At Christmas
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Activists Notebook

Harbour by Katherine Thomson

On the Wednesday before Easter, 1998, a few hundred metres away from the site of the new Sydney Theatre, one of the most dramatic events in recent Australian history took place. It was the culmination of a tightly planned scheme between the Federal Government and a stevedoring company. An attempt to smash the Maritime Union of Australia - the wharfies.

Katherine Thomson's gripping new drama is set against the backdrop of this explosive industrial dispute.

Sandy - a retired wharfie - comes home after a six year absence, to find his family divided. His kids have moved on - and up. They're on opposite sides of the political divide. His wife doesn't want to be in the same room as him. The world has changed, and it seems he no longer has a place in it. But he's a battler, with a burning desire to unite his family and set the past to rights. A past full of explosive secrets that threaten to blow them apart forever.

Harbour, directed by Robyn Nevin, is a passionate, moving Australian drama from one of our foremost playwrights. It will open the new Sydney Theatre at 2pm, Saturday 10 January, 2004.

To celebrate the opening of Sydney Theatre, we are presenting two bold new Australian works in repertory, with a brilliant ensemble cast performing in both. I encourage you to experience these productions as close to one another as you can. See the play and the musical on consecutive days or in the same week and enjoy a unique moment in Sydney's theatre history.

The Ensemble

Mitchell Butel, Peter Carroll, Tamsin Carroll, Helen Dallimore, Drew Forsythe, Simon Gleeson, Melissa Jaffer Genevieve Lemon, Christopher Pitman, William Zappa.

Director Robyn Nevin Set Designer Stephen Curtis Costume Designer Jennie Tate Lighting Designer Nigel Levings Composer Alan John

Venue Sydney Theatre

Address 22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

Previews 2 January, 2004

Opens January 10 2pm

To 12 February

Price $65 / $51 concession

Matinees $59 / $46 concession

Previews all tickets $38

Bookings 9250 1777 / 9266 4800 /

Media For further information, interviews and images, please contact:

Karen Farrell on (02) 9250 1703 / [email protected]

Wesley Slattery (02) 9250 1705 / [email protected]

Labor For Refugees - Breakfast Briefing

All ALP National Conference Delegates and supporters are invited to join Labor for Refugees (with special guests to be announced) for a breakfast briefing on the campaign to reform Labor's policy towards asylum seekers and refugees.

Participants will discuss the need for a more compassionate approach and receive an up to the moment report on the status of Labor for Refugees' proposed amendment to the National Platform, which will be debated at Conference that afternoon. A light breakfast will be provided.

Fringe event details:

When: Friday, January 30 2004

7:30am - Light Breakfast

8:00am - Briefing and Discussion

9:00am - Close

9:30am - National Conference

Where: Grand Criterion Room, Radisson Hotel

72 Liverpool Street, Darling Harbour (5 mins walk to National Conference Venue)

RSVP: [email protected]

contact no.: 0405 188 256


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