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Issue No. 211 05 March 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Be Afraid
Elections are to be held both here and with our controlling shareholder this year and already we are getting the feel for how the incumbents will attempt to cling onto power: fear spiced with loathing.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Baby Bust
Labor's Wayne Swan argues that the plight of our aging workforce is only one side of our demographic dilemma.

Safety: Dust To Dust
Failure by authorities to police safety in the asbestos removal industry is threatening the lives of members of the public, writes Phil Doyle.

Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
Delegates from print shops around Sydney will publicly shame this month’s Bad Boss nominee with a rally outside his new Alexandria operation next Thursday.

National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
Noel Hester reports on a spin doctors' talkfest, workplace pain, stroppy teachers and IWD party time in the national wrap.

International: Bulk Bullies
An extraordinary five month struggle over affordable health care, by nearly 70,000 Californian supermarket workers, has just come to an end, writes Andrew Casey.

History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Green Bans saved a piece of bush before they saved much of the Sydney’s built environment, writes Neale Towart

Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Tim Anderson reveals Australia’s second betrayal Of East Timor is playing out before our eyes.

Review: The Art Of Work
Workers and westies are being celebrated as the cultural icons they are thanks to two Sydney exhibitions reminding us there is a world of art in the everyday, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
Wondering where the next porkie is going to come from? Resident bard David Peetz knows.

N E W S

 Taskforce "Disgraced" in Court

 Students Take $10,000 Trim

 Truckers Lose Way With GPS

 Jockeys Down by Width of Strait

 Treasury Loses Sight of Trees

 Athens Built on Sweat

 Signing Away Safety

 Fallen Formworker Critical

 Stop or You’ll Stay Blind

 Bracks Spin Machine Towels Nurses

 Trade Deal Fuzzy on Content

 Good Will Still Hunting on Rail

 Developer "Monsters" Safety Cop

 Day Off for May Day

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Iraq and Your Mortgage
How high interest rates go will be a key issue in 2004 and if you are looking for a clue, there's no better place to look than the war in Iraq, writes Michael Rafferty.

Sport
Hang Onto the Day Job
Show someone else the money, says Phil Doyle.

Politics
Westie Wing
Ian West shows why Eveleigh Street’s not so far away from Macquarie Street

Postcard
Don’t Give Up the Fight
Get Up, Stand Up is the logo of choice on a popular range of subversive condoms. Ken Davis from Union Aid Abroad reports from Zimbabwe’s second city

L E T T E R S
 Bring Back Bulk Billing
 Crucifying Refugees
 Saving The Planet
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

PREMIER TOOL


Victorian Premier Steve Bracks takes his McLabor efforts into the tool shed this week after a bit of H.R. Nicholls Society style hairy-chested union bashing.

*****

Steve Bracks has kept up his efforts to govern for all Victorians who are publicly listed on the stock exchange this week, with a no-brainer effort to outdo the Prime Miniature in beating up on working people.

The Premier seems to have bucketloads of cash to prop up the world's biggest Scaletrix set in Albert Park in order to please great Labor folk like Lloyd Williams.

He also seems to have a talent in sitting on his hands while the private sector does its usual shabby job with public transport.

Money also appears to be no object if the private sector needs a few coppers to throw their weight around on a picket line.

But when it comes to peripheral things like paying teachers and nurses a decent wage, looking after the most vulnerable people in society, or improving safety in Victoria's privately ravaged Electricity sector, Slippery Steve is suddenly cries poor.

What's he trying to prove? That he's some 'reliable' economic manager? This is the man who can't even fund his superannuation liabilities but can throw cash at every showman who has a carnival to bring to town.

"We pride ourselves on being the state which has the majority of the major events around the country," the Quiff With Attitude told the ACTU Congress last year. "I hope you get some time and space to do your job on behalf of working families around Australia."

Well, they would if bottom feeders like Bracks had a principled Labor bone in their bodies, instead of joining the conga-line to keep the top end of Collins Street happy.

Steve went on to piss in the pockets of delegates, telling them what a great thing it was that the Union movement had gone on to form the Australian Labor Party.

This amazing revelation still doesn't explain how 'Labor' leaders like Bracks seem to think they have carte blanche to sink the boot into working people while their representatives are supposed to lie back and think of England.

The clown has form. In 2001 Bracks, in a stunning display of social responsibility and maturity, directed ministers Ms Mary Delahunty (that great servant of the working poor) and the current minister for Re-education, Lynne Kosky not to meet with teachers unions.

Steve Bracks is the one in need of education. His latest sad efforts in trying to outdo Peter Reith in painting the union movement as the source of all evil show a particularly insecure streak. Maybe it's time he stopped trying to spit the dummy about the very real concerns of very real people and concentrated his efforts on actually delivering for working Victorians instead of just a few narrow economists.

The man with the styrofoam smile can spend his time in the Tool Shed writing out a hundred times: "The Labor party is there to help working people, not just the big end of town".



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.

 
 

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