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Issue No. 216 16 April 2004  

Joining the Dots
At first blush there appears little connection between the Howard Government’s handling of the War on the union movement and the War on Iraq – until you realise the key players come from the same team.


Interview: Terror Australis
The Howard Government has just discovered the nation's ports are a terrorist target. The International Transport Federation's Dean Summers has been warning them for years.

Unions: Graeme Beard's Second Dig
Hidden in the Australian Workers Union Sydney office is a mild-mannered industrial officer who once strutted the international cricket stage, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: The Hell of Troy
On the basis of a couple of hours in the witness box, Building Industry Royal Commissioner Terence Cole described Troy Stratti as "credible". Six men who, together, have known the company director for the best part of 50 years beg to differ.

Organising: Miners Strike Gold
Traditional unions are rediscovering the power of grassroots organising. Paddy Gorman reports from the coal face.

Economics: The Accepted Wisdom
Evan Jones argues that economic policy making has been narrowed and rendered mechanistic and antiseptic.

History: Vicious Old Lady
Despite its Liberal leanings, the Sydney Morning Herald has never been shy of bashing unions, writes Neale Towart.

International: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Thailand must end its crackdown on Burmese fleeing rights abuses in their military-ruled homeland, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Review: War Unfogged
Want to go to war but not sure where to start? Look no further than Errol Morris' latest doco-drama for the definitive 11-step lesson plan, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: TAFE
A TAFE student struggling under the weight of fees shares his wordly wisdom


 Weekend Warrior Outed

 Dick’s Got Form

 Mum Burned By "Barbecue Stopper"

 RSL Bombs Vets

 Sweetener for Sugar Pills

 Death Highlights Risky Business

 Casual Affair On The Buses

 Athens Update: Dying Games

 Nuns Run Amok in Cessnock

 Roving Commission for Safety Reps

 Workers Order Ziggy on Toast

 Divers Down

 Activists What’s On!


A Voice for Peace
Palestinian trade union leader calls on militants to lay down their arms while the ICFTU protests harassment of Palestinian union leader.

The Soapbox
The Double Standard Bearers
Nicholas Way argues that when it comes to collective action, the Howard Government has different views depending on whether you are a unionist or a small business.

The Locker Room
The Fine Print
While the result mightn’t be everything, it does make the back of the newspaper more interesting, as Phil Doyle reports.

The Westie Wing
Ian West crunches the numbers in Macquarie Street and finds virtue in deficit.

 Sick Pay
 Tom’s A Furphy
 Rolling in Clover
 More War And Peace
 Invisible Workers
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Tool Shed


It may come as some surprise to readers but apparently Australia has a Communications Minister. His name is Daryl Williams, and he’s a rather retiring chap. In fact, this week he’s retiring to the Tool Shed


Like a rat out of an aqueduct, dashing Daryl Williams is departing from Federal politics. The one time Attorney General, who realised it was necessary to destroy our freedoms in order to save them, has decided to retire for "family reasons".

It wouldn't be because his erstwhile boss is increasingly looking like a headless chook? Or that the national telecommunications company is fast descending into a parody of some American soap opera? Or that he wants to pocket his modest parliamentary entitlements?

No, gregarious Daryl is retiring because of "family reasons".

His notice extends to election day, which shows this government's commitment to the communications sector. Who better to leave in charge of cutting edge technological developments than a lame duck minister who has been out to lunch for as long as anyone can remember?

Which is why he has been at the forefront of the government's response to the resignation of fellow Tool Bob Mansfield. Well, he would, but he appears a bit indisposed at the moment, you see. Which is why the PM seems to be taking most of the questions for the time being.

Yes, Williams is well suited in the communications portfolio; we never hear peep out of the joker. This, of course, saves the government from having to actually engage this troubling policy area. A tradition started by William's predecessor, the equally enigmatic Richard Alston.

While some may accuse Daryl of being born with a silver spoon in his mouth the truth is he was born with a whole cutlery service. Daryl Williams legal pedigree has seen him approach the bar on many occasions.

Alarmingly, Williams was made a member of the National Security Committee, which may help to explain the current international situation Australia finds itself in.

His diverse portfolio has allowed him to conduct witch-hunts at bodies such as the ABC, SBS, the National Museum of Australia, thus saving us from the threat of imminent Marxist takeover. He has also done a good job keeping a straight face about the National Office for Information Economy.

When he was Attorney General Daryl busied himself with ensuring that the Federal Government tackled the big issues, such as trying three times, unsuccessfully, to bust up a transsexual marriage.

He also made sure it was quite OK for the United States to throw out every principle of jurisprudence in its dealings with Australian citizens.

While some churlish individuals have claimed that Williams has done nothing since he took over the Communications portfolio this is not entirely true.

Williams loves to play the piano and has entertained his staff with some wonderful work tickling the ivories, as well as exhibiting a sound understanding of the nuanced area of wine appreciation.

Some allege that this has allowed Williams to help his leader break records in wine consumption during his tenure, and surely the Communications portfolio will suffer from not having Daryl tickling the ivories and leading the sing-alongs.

No doubt our Tool Of the Week can keep up his Good Time Charlie routine in the Tool Shed, just be a good chap and pass another bottle of the Bollinger in will you?


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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