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Issue No. 209 20 February 2004  

Regions To Be Cheerful
Rule changes endorsed by this weekís NSW Labor Council Annual General Meeting reorganising the South Coast Labor Council into as a regional branch council should not be under-estimated.


Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlovís Dogs.

Unions: While We Were Away
While Workers Online was washing sand from between its toes and enjoying an Indian summer at the cricket, there was a reality show chugging relentlessly away in the background, Jim Marr reports.

Politics: Follow the Leader
Workerís Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALPís Darling Harbour love-in and nearly drowns in treacle.

Bad Boss: Safety Recidivist Fingered
The CFMEU has come up with a killer nomination to kick off our 2004 hunt for Australiaís worst employer.

Economics: Casualisation Shrouded In Myths
British academic, Kevin Doogan, sets the record straight on casualisation and warns unionists about the dangers of scoring an own goal

History: Worker Control Harco Style
Drew Cottle and Angela Keys ask if it's worth rememberinng the 1971 Harco work-in.

Review: Other Side Of The Harbour
The 1998 maritime dispute threatened to tear many a family apart but Katherine Thomson's Harbour tells the tale of at least one that it brought back together - albeit reluctantly, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Trains Go Backwards

 Mum Canít Bank on Westpac

 Andrews Up for Hanke Panky

 Riot Raises Safety Probe

 ABC of Solidarity

 "Shameful" Action Pays Dividends

 Bum Rap for Bump Caps

 Strikers Tie Down Gas Project

 Heat Rises at Uni

 TeleTech's Dead Heart

 Tired Drivers Fight Hypocrisy

 Seven Days on a Leaking Boat

 Families Back Safety Calls

 Howard Pushes Pay Cut

 Activist's Notebook


The Soapbox
Dog Whistlers, Spin Doctor and Us
John Menadue argues the "better angels" of the Australian character are having their wings ripped off by an ever-expanding group dedicating to keeping the public at arms length from our decision-makers.

Something Fishy In Laos
Phillip Hazelton fishes around in Vientiane, Laos, and looks at the impact of Bird Flu on those relying on feathered friends for survival.

Magic Realism
Phil Doyle discovers that literature and sport may have more in common than you would think

The Westie Wing
Trickle, flood or drought? Workers friend Ian West, MLC, is wet, wet, wet on the issue of bilateral Free Trade.

 On the Road
 A Casual Affair
 Latham Is A Bad Man
 Congrats Johnny
 Tomís Bit
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Tool Shed


Telstra honcho Bob Mansfield follows his ideological master Johnny Howard into the Tool Shed this week after his plans for world domination came slightly unstuck.


The corporate responsibility you are looking for is switched off or not available

Bob Mansfield was once on the board of Optus when it was teetering on the brink. Obviously the ability to run a telco into the ground eminently qualifies him to run Telstra.

Telstra's plans to take over the Fairfax media company came to light this week, causing some embarrassment for the parties concerned.

It's a scary thought of what life would be like with Telstra running Fairfax. Apart from the obvious increase in media diversity, would this also mean that the Sydney Morning Herald would arrive three weeks late?

What the hell is Telstra doing trying to get its hands on everything around the country that isn't nailed down?

The company can't even get something as basic as running a reliable phone system right. Many who use what laughably passes as their broadband service will attest to this.

We've all heard the allegations of the sick and the elderly suffering unreliable phone services. We've seen the thousands of jobs disappear from what was once a national institution. We all know what it is like to give up three or four hours waiting to speak to a human being if we have a problem with the organisation.

And who is sitting at the top of this steaming pile? Bob Mansfield - the one time senior McDonalds' manager has brought the principles of corporate fast food to an essential service.

Bob is the chairman of the outfit that has no qualms about exporting our IT jobs offshore, after all that is in the best interests of shareholders. Well, some of them anyway.

How about the majority of public shareholders Bob is supposed to represent?

There once was a quaint notion that those at the top accepted responsibility for failures in an organisation.

Our Tool Of The Week has been described as a 'True Business Leader', which may or may not be a compliment.

Bob's presentations are apparently always "Performed" in an entertaining manner. How about entertaining us with a phone system that works and a bit of social responsibility Bob?

The Prime Minister's amusing response highlighted the hopeless position Mansfield is in. Howard railed that the collapse of this deal pointed out the foolishness of having 49% of the telco privatised. He's spot on - something as essential as a national telecommunications system should be 100% in the hands of the people, so it can do the job it was meant to do.

Instead we get a ham-fisted pro-privatisation show courtesy of a bunch of good time Charlies led by our Tool Of The Week. A man who is prepared to thumb his nose at the Australian public - who, after all, own the bloody company - in order to satisfy his own ego and bank balance.

For Mansfield to boldly set off on some corporate adventure is a classic example of the sort of ideological drones that infest Australia's business world.

Once again Corporate Australian has treated the Australian public like something you'd scrape off the bottom of your shoe.

The Australian public do not want a telecommunications carrier that cleans and slices while it dices. They expect Telstra to do the job it set up for - delivering telecommunications services at affordable prices to all Australians.


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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