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Issue No. 222 28 May 2004  

The New Radicals
Many of us lament the fact the Labor Party has little these days to do with labour; some even whimsically remember how the Liberals were once liberal; but evolving world events are now putting a lie to that most enduring of political labels ‘the conservative’.


Interview: Machine Man
It’s regarded as the most powerful job in the Party, but new NSW ALP general secretary Mark Arbib wants to build a bridge with the union movement.

Unions: Testing Times
Unions are not opposed to drug and alcohol testing, but they do want to see real safety issues addressed, writes Phil Doyle.

Bad Boss: Freespirit Haunts Internet
FreeSpirit forked out a motza for a whiz bang internet presence then disappeared right off the radar – once it was nominated as our Bad Boss for May.

Unions: Badge of Honour
Surry Hills is home to one of the world’s finest displays of union badges thanks to Bill "The Bear" Pirie and a supporting cast headed by Joe Strummer, Mark Knopfler, George Benson, Annie Lennox and other seriously big noises.

National Focus: Noel's World
Shrill bosses bleat over minimum wage rise, union spinmeisters congregate in Melbourne and Tassie’s nurses take the baton from their mob in Victoria reports Noel Hester in this national round up.

Economics: Safe Refuge
A humanitarian approach to refugees and an economically rational one?? I’d like to see that. Frank Stilwell did, when he went to Young in NSW to look into the impact of the Afghan refugees on temporary protection visas who came to work for the local abattoir

International: Global Abuse
Amnesty International have joined the chorus against the violation of trade union rights in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

History: The Honeypot
To the Honeypot come those individuals anxious to get their hands on instant wealth. So it was in the early days of Broken Hill, wrties Grace Hawes in this homage to the mining town.

Review: Death And The Barbarians
This new take on coming of age films focuses on the coming of death and the dignity and maturity it can inspire among those touched by it - though not always easily in the overcrowded Canadian public health system, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Resident Bard David Peetz uncovers some of the unfolding mysteries of talk back radio.


 Why Cole is a Merry Old Soul

 Fight Breaks Out of Schoolyard

 Child Care for a Song

 "Back Off" Call To Death Inquiry

 Carr No Mussolini

 Sweet Box-all for Ballot Bureaucrats

 Unions Fire Up

 Beattie Papers Over Stink

 Glue Bullies Come Unstuck

 Johnnie Tugs the Rug

 Bank Jobs Under Spotlight

 Federal Muzzle for Shareholders

 Unions Earn $19 For Low Paid

 Fashionistas Go Fair

 Activists What’s On!


The Soapbox
Rethinking Left and Right Part 1
Dr David McKnight, from the University of Technology, Sydney presents a new frame for looking at the competing ideas within Social Democracy.

The Soapbox
Rethinking Left and Right Part 2
David McKnight concludes the paper he presented to the ‘Rethinking Social Democracy’ conference, in London, April 15-17, 2004.

Out On A Limb
Phil Doyle becomes the first Australian journalist to state that the Olympics will be called off.

The Westie Wing
In the latest episode, Ian West explores what Disraeli called "Lies, damn lies and statistics".

Message from America
Searing snapshots from a landscape of uncertainty have plunged the Bush Administration into deeper crisis, writes WorkingForChange's Bill Berkowitz.

 Howard The Chucker
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Tool Shed

Twin Tools

Big Arnie meets the terminator in the Tool Shed this week.


Someone once said that California is 770 miles long, 250 miles wide and two inches deep.

Therefore it should come as no surprise that a place so shallow could throw up a leader of such intellect as the Gropernator, Arnie Schwarzenegger.

They say that art imitates life, but in America it appears that politics imitates Hollywood with Arnie set to reprise a role he made famous in the film Twins.

In this new version the role made famous by Danny DeVito will be played by another failed science experiment from the 50s, John Howard.

Howard's audience with Governor Schwarzenegger is part of his US junket for a photo-op with the mad cowboy himself, George Bush.

As it happens Schwarzenegger's Kalifornia is in the market for natural gas, and Howard is trying to sell them some pup from the BHP. Unfortunately the Californians place a high priority on safety and human life, so it doesn't really look like a deal that would suit the BHP.

Then again, if the Californians are after hot air why don't they just plug in Howard?

So what do Howard and Schwarzenegger have in common?

Well they're both wacky off-the-wall right wingers who lead lives that are totally out of touch with the concerns of ordinary working people.

Howard, of course, is the real terminator - just ask anyone who used to work in the Federal Public Service.

Despite their shared belief in the might of the U.S of A, and its divine right to run the universe, there is one area of profound difference.

One has visions of himself as a muscled military strongman blowing away bad guys with hand held heavy artillery, and the other is a movie actor.

All this circus is really about is getting the ego of the Prime Miniature over the line come the next Federal Election.

It remains to be seen whether this is a core or non core media stunt.

Who cares about the dead, the maimed, the destitute, the sick, the uneducated or the intellectually insulted that John Howard has crawled over on his way to what laughably passes as the top.

He wants to stay Prime Minister for as long as he wants to, and he isn't going to let pesky little issues like a sane foreign policy or competent management of national affairs stand in his way.

Why, when his idiot grin can be bobbing up next to serial lunatics like Schwarzenegger.

Our Twin Tools deserve each other.

Arnie might be the master of the meaningless one liner but he will get a good run from Howard, who's attempt to deliver a ham fisted wedgie last week fell as flat as Sydney's housing market.

Howard declared that marriage was an institution that consisted of a union between a man and a woman, not a man and a sheep, as preferred by elements of the National Party.

Methinks he doth protest too much.

Still, it's hardly a surprise - it was, after all, THE issue of the US presidential campaign for the last month - and Howard, like Arnie, knows how to follow a script. God knows he'd have to, the cretin hasn't had an original idea since Mal Fraser hired him straight out of the fourth grade.

Howard could pass himself off as a Thespian. He manages quite well with the straight face routine when saying that he cares about reconciliation, human rights or working people. That must take some acting.

He should work more on his delivery though, his lips appear to move but nothing is coming out.

Schwarzenegger has one famous line that Howard won't be using after the next election. "I'll be back."


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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