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Issue No. 210 27 February 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Rock Of Ages
The Howard Government’s response to Australia’s aging population - to make them work longer and harder – is a small minded response to a mind-blowing problem, a perversion of the discipline of demography.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlov’s 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
Worker’s Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALP’s 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 Australia’s 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.

N E W S

 Siren Sounds on Asbestos "Scam"

 Youngsters Taken For A Ride

 Costello Necks Young and Old

 CFMEU Backs Redfern Jobs

 Della to Save Christmas?

 Time for Global Zone Out

 Equant's Pyramid Jobs Scheme

 Unions at Unis

 A Bridge Too Far

 Men Score Mat Leave

 Strikes Rock TAFE, Unis

 Health Maters To The Barricades

 Prison Officers Strike Back

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

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.

Postcard
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.

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

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

L E T T E R S
 We Make Mistakes
 Taking The Piss
 Dear Mark
 Tom Goes Off I
 Tom Goes Off II
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

WORK SLEEP DEATH


The Prime Miniature In Waiting And Waiting heads off to work in the Tool Shed this week after letting launch a policy that promises to work us all to death.

*****

No one on their death bed ever wished they'd spent more time at work.

This is a fact that's obviously escaped the feral abacus, Silvertail Pete Costello, as he continues his life's dream of beating up on working people.

"There's going to be no such thing as full-time retirement," says the man who wants to turn the country into a workhouse. He also has his sights set on bludgeoning cripples back into low paid, insecure and menial casual work.

All this while he can't find enough jobs for the current workforce.

Costello can mouth platitudes about maintaining skilled people in the workforce till the cows come home, but the reality is he stands around picking his nose while qualified doctors drive cabs because of his government's dopey immigration policies.

For a government that's supposedly about choice, a policy of forcing people to work to their death seems like an act of sheer bastardry.

Costello claims retirees suffer boredom. Well, there's plenty of people out there slaving away for 50 plus hours a week who'd love to be bored.

And all of this is aimed at propping up the leeching bludgers from the non-industry superannuation sector. They, of course, don't have to worry about retirement, as they've never done an honest days work in their lives to start with.

Retirement is obviously not an issue for Silvertail Pete given that the biggest taxing treasurer in the country's history has his snout well and truly in the public trough. He's already allowed to cash in his extravagant haul and keep working, while the rest of us watch our cash get pissed up against the wall by the big end of town; leaving us the price of a loaf of bread by the time we're 55.

This crazed baby-boomer is no 'liberal'. He would gladly lock up anyone in this country who didn't say 'Yes sir! No sir! Three bags full of sh*t sir!' to another human being; not because that human being is better than them, but because they pay their wages. This is a man who cares about working people like others care about dog faeces on their lawn. In Silvertail Pete's world there's one law for the rich and another law for you.

When a majority of workers at the Dollar Sweets factory in Melbourne took industrial action against a company that was found to be in breach of the food industry cleanliness regulations, the Smirkin' Merkin' gleefully went into bat as lawyer for a boss prepared to shell out $70,000 for armed security guards against his own employees, but couldn't afford a piddling pay rise.

This is a man who described industrial action by Australian working families as a form of rape.

His pathetic ambitions are naked. The only person who he won't be hoping hangs onto his job is his boss. After ten years Costello desperately wants to move onto kissing more famous butts, like George Bush's, for example. Luckily the Australian people will have something to say about that.

If Silvertail Pete wants to work for the rest of his days good luck to him. Let him go into the tool shed and work away in there until he drops dead.



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