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Issue No. 227 02 July 2004  

A Place To Call Home
These days the Great Australian Dream is closer to a fantasy, where the chances of owning to your own home depend on either inheriting property or winning lottery.


Interview: Power and the Passion
ALP's star recruit Peter Garrett shares his views on unions, forests and being the Member for Wedding Cake Island

Unions: Tackling the Heavy Hitters
Tony Butterfield became a State of Origin gladiator at the unlikely age of 33. Even that, Jim Marr reports, couldn’t prepare him for the knock-down, drag-em-out world of modern IR.

Industrial: Seeing the Forest For The Wood
Proposals to flog off NSW’s forests have raised eyebrows and temperatures amongst some of the key players reports Phil Doyle.

Housing: Home Truths
CFMEU national secretary John Sutton argues for a radical solution to the housing affordability crisis.

International: Boycott Busters
International unions have issued a new list of corporations breaching ILO sanctions to do business in Burma.

Economics: Ideology and Free Trade
The absurdities of neoclassical economic assumptions has never stood in the way of their being trotted out to justify profiteering and attacks on the rights of citizens. The AUSFTA is the latest rort we are supposed to swallow, writes Neale Towart.

History: Long Shadow of a Forgotten Man
Interest in JC Watson's short time as Labor's first Prime Minister should not detract from his more substantial role as Party leader, writes Mark Hearn

Review: Chewing the Fat
As debate rages in Australia about Fast Food advertising, Julianne Taverner takes a look at a side of the industry that Ronald McDonald won’t tell you about in Supersize Me.

Poetry: Dear John
Workers Online reader Rob Mullen shares some personal correspondence with our glorious leader.


 NRMA Reverses Over Turnbull

 Privatisation Kills

 Crikey: Irwin Feeds Staff AWAs

 Nurses Telegraph Fight Back

 "Sexiest Man" Plays it Safe

 Eureka: Bug Swats Hadgkiss

 Macdonald Ponders Asbestos Blue

 Latham Gets Late Mail

 Murdoch Faces Discrimination Rap

 Boss Goes Postal

 Oberon Survives Bomb Threat

 Howard Out On CD

 Telstra Hangs Up On Staff

 Activists What’s On!


The Westie Wing
As the NSW Labor Government sells its first budget deficit in nine years, the real concern for the union movement is the devil in the detail, especially when it comes to procurement agreements, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Rubber Bullets
Labor's IR spokesman Craig Emerson launches a few characteristic salvos across the Parliamentary chamber

The Locker Room
Tears After Bedtime
Phil Doyle says that it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Postcard from Vietnam
APHEDA's Hoang Thi Le Hang reports from the north of Vietnam on a project being fund by Australian unionists.,

 Letter From America
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Tool Shed

Where D’ya Geddit?

Serial Tool, Erica Betz gets to spend this week in the Shed after inflicting advertisements of mass deception on the general public.


If television isn't bad enough with Big Brother and Eddie McGuire popping up at unexpected hours we now have the nightmare of an unparalleled advertising blitzkrieg designed to save John Howard's posterior.

Managing this campaign is none other than the Federal Government's hearts and minds expert Eric Abetz, fondly known as Erica to his many fans.

Erica is an 'operator' in what laughably passes as the Tasmanian Liberal Party, ensuring that conservative politicians from the Apple Isle remain somewhere to the right of Attilla the Hun.

His bold efforts have made the Tasmanian Division of the Liberal Party what it is today, an irrelevant sideshow.

In the meantime our Tool Of the Week has signed off on this mind numbing campaign designed to tell us ungrateful swine how we've never had it so good.

The problem arises that when we match what the government is actually doing to the health system and the state of the land, and compare it to these bizarre ads.

This multi-million dollar misinformation project also includes a domestic violence campaign that has been in the pipeline for some time - years in fact. It was reportedly held up because Eric and his colleagues felt that the tone of the campaign was 'anti male'. Maybe they felt that their former colleague, that great Australian, Noel Chrichton-Browne, would be offended.

Does Eric's medieval worldview extend to the position of women?

Coming on top of the fiasco of the $600 family payments bribe, one wonders what Erica's next move will be? How To Vote Scratchies? He's already moving to ensure that landless peasants lose the right to vote with his changes to the Electoral Act.

He is obviously a student on the great effort of Jeb Bush in ensuring that the poor huddled masses don't get so uppity as to actually think that they can participate in a democracy.

You can see why he believes that a decent education shouldn't be wasted on unwashed factory fodder.

The ads themselves are at a saturation level that even McDonald's and Coca-Cola can't match. It's more than likely that it will blow up in the government's face as they seem to be more irritating than informative.

"That's great, so what's different?"

Well, Eric is a big believer in helping people to help themselves. In this instance he's helping the advertising industry help itself to something in the vicinity of $120 million dollars of your tax dollars. Brilliant stuff.

Eric's campaign to expose the plight of some of the most disadvantaged advertising executives in the country has so moved sections of the community that many have been motivated to send mobile phones, laptops, Gucci shoes and other essentials to help Eric's mates keep helping themselves.

Behind his rather bizarre exterior Betz is a unique character who also appears to have his own Intelligence Service

He even went further than his Neo-con heroes in Washington over the Iraq palaver by stating on the public record that there were 'many' links between Iraq and Al Quieda. This was news to everyone, as even the CIA and the Pentagon couldn't substantiate that.

While this may indicate that he likes to think of himself as an Australian Donald Rumsfeld the truth is that he is far stupider, which is saying something.

In the meantime we can only look on in amazement as Eric pump primes Australia for the upcoming popularity contes...err...election.

So, the next time one of Eric's informative and entertaining commercials appears on your TV, thank our Tool Of The Week that your tax dollars are being so well spent.

Thanks to Eric, from 2004 no Australian advertising executive need live in poverty.

As for the rest of us, well, it's making the ABC more attractive every day.


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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