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Issue No. 213 19 March 2004  

Pay For View
While the ABS latest figures show union density is stable, behind the headline rate of 23 per cent lie some interesting trends.


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.


 "Grubs" Derail Revolution

 Blackouts Hit Sydney

 Pig-Out at Restaurant

 Smith’s Charity Begins At Work

 Air Rage Set To Soar

 Boxers Union Lands First Blow

 Drug Tests On Hold

 "Anarchy" Warning from Builders

 Burmese Generals at it Again

 Sugar: Sweet Taste of Survival

 Workers Endorse "User Pays"

 State Water, Forests Face Sell-Off

 Pirates and Ports for Classroom

 Activists What's On!


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.

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

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

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

 Grubby Poseur
 Tom On Drink
 Howard Screws Vets
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Tool Shed


After a stunning exhibition of the truism that military intelligence is a contradiction in terms, General Cosgrove pulls his head out of the Prime Miniature’s fundament for long enough to take himself into the Tool Shed.


General Cosgrove took time off from his Chicken Little routine last week to join in the public dumping of top cop, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty.

The self important buffoon, fresh from doing what Australian generals do best - fighting wars in faraway lands that have nothing to do with us, had the temerity to suggest that Keelty was wrong in his assertion that the war in Iraq hadn't made Australia a bigger target.

No one in their right mind would seriously believe that.

In using the words 'Cosgrove' and 'intelligence' in a sentence one is tempted to associate the phrases 'not a lot of' and 'lacking'.

Nonetheless this shining product of the Australian Commissioned Officer Class stated that he drew his bizarre conclusions after seeing the same intelligence as Mick Keelty.

What we all know is that he drew whatever conclusions the Prime Miniature told him to draw. After all, he didn't want Howard's chief-of-staff, Arthur Sinodinis yelling down the phone at him.

Intelligence isn't probably the right word to use in relation to a bloke who decided that Australia would be better off with an overpriced, inefficient and unsuitable tank simply so he could go off and play with his American buddies.

This is the bloke who likes to be portrayed as a hero over East Timor, but as we found out, that appears to be only so that the Howard government could bully its way into a one-sided treaty over petrol reserves that doesn't really help the East Timorese at all.

Fighting over oil reserves seems to be a penchant of the good General.

While in East Timor Cosgrove busied himself by calling for the disarming Falintil, the guerilla army of the East Timorese people, describing it as an "untrained and unsanctioned as a military force".

And we all know who trained the Indonesian army while it ran amok in Timor, don't we.

And as for the idea of Falintil laying down its arms while the Indonesian backed militias were still active in the idea that!

One pro-Falantil source at the time described the move as "suicide".

No wonder half his army is stoned off their heads, if the results of drug tests in Darwin are to be believed.

Then again, if Cosgrove was the genius that stood between you and being sent to die in some godforsaken hole in the interests of cheap petrol then you'd probably want to escape yourself.

Cosgrove's military recently took a rather unhelpfully defensive tone towards an inquiry into deaths in the Australian Armed Services; Cosgrove accused by family members of service men and women who had died as conducting a "cover up"

Now our Tool Of The Week has settled comfortably into the greatest cover up of all - the lies told to the Australian people to protect a dangerous and unjust war that has turned this country into a target for terrorists.

Next time you are a witness to the useless paranoia that accompanies this never ending 'war on terror', such as bored Chubb guards on the Harbour Bridge or the lack of garbage bins at Central Station, then you'll know that thanks to General Cosgrove, the terrorists have already won.

In the middle of all this palaver, last week our Chief Tool had the gall to tell Australia's 'leaders' what was needed to keep up this unending search for a black cat in a dark room that isn't there; our no-brainer war on a concept.

"Quick, slick and accurate decisions" are what's called for, according to our Top Brass Tool.

Well, two out of three ain't bad. Pity about the accuracy.


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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