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Issue No. 229 16 July 2004  

The Sins of Our Fathers
The James Hardie story unfolding before the NSW Government Commission of Inquiry is not about business, it is not about politics, it is not even about the law.


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.


 Noose Tightens on James Hardie

 ‘Payback’ in Mildura

 Beware of Expensive Imitations

 Death Law on Tassie Books

 Boss Goes Off Prematurely

 Goats Clip Security

 Vale Frank Altoff

 Gnarly Break Hits FoC

 Forgecast Reneges on Millions

 Workmates Back Whistleblower

 "Thuggery" from AIDS Chiefs

 Keystone Cops In Timber Town

 Waste Work Binned

 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.,

 Supersize Hypocrisy
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Tool Shed

A Tool On His Own Merit

This week there is a reshuffle and Western Australian Senator Ian Campbell gets promoted to the Tool Shed.


The deckchairs got a shuffle in Canberra during the week and the government took the opportunity to promote people solely on merit. All of them. Well, except for Ian Campbell.

The Prime Minister admitted that our new Environment Minister wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer but what could he do? If he waited around until the Western Australian division of the Liberal party threw up someone with a brain we'd be waiting until the middle of the Century before he could form a cabinet. And it was imperative that he had someone from WA, even if that person has the intellect of a house brick.

It was pleasing to see Helen Coonan promoted on merit; Howard has showed his commitment to gender equality by promoting incompetent liars such as Coonan to match the incompetent lying males in the Federal cabinet.

On his first day on the job Campbell showed his grasp of the role the Environment plays in the scheme of things by saying that the only way we can fix our environmental problems is by having a robust economy.

What sort of economy we're supposed to have if there's not enough drinking water or NSW's south west slopes starts to resemble the more arid regions of Campbell's home state of WA remains unclear.

Maybe Campbell is onto something. If we completely bugger the environment and leave the south eastern corner of the country like the Simpson desert then Campbell will feel at home in the eastern states, who can then start producing more slack jawed yokels like him.

Campbell continues the longstanding tradition of the senate being used by Western Australian division of the Liberal Party as a sheltered workshop for failed accountants and deranged Rotarians. Our Tool Of The Week is carrying on the stupefyingly dumb tradition of such luminaries as Noel Chrichton-Brown and Ross Lightfoot.

Our man Campbell has already presented himself as a shining example of Liberal intellect. During the Government's attempt to shut down debate on the Iraq war he described attempts by other senators to raise the issue as a "cruel and disgraceful stunt", which he claimed, without a hint of irony, "demean[s] this great political institution, and... Australia as a democracy."

His credentials as an environment minister received a massive boost when he lambasted the Western Australian Government for pressing ahead with a railway instead of turning Perth into a clone of Los Angeles.

The WA Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Alannah MacTiernan choked on her cornflakes when she read about Campbell being promoted to the Environment portfolio.

"We've got a man here who simply does not understand environmental issues, as demonstrated by his frequent attacks on the rail project and urging us to halt the rail project and put all of the money into roads."

No wonder he wants the US to secure the Iraqi oilfields at any cost, regardless of how many get killed along the way. We'll need all that petrol to keep up his vision for a Freeway led recovery.

Chainsaw Campbell takes over from David Kemp, who became environment minister due to his uncanny resemblance to a log.

Campbell told a national shipping industry conference earlier this year that the government's support for ships of shame would "never reduce our strict safety, security and environmental standards".

Well, it's a bit late Campbell old son, you've already done that.

Campbell is a big fan of throwing Australian seafarers out of a job and replacing them with crews from god knows where, chucking any safety concerns out the window along the way, which doesn't bode well if he's all that stands between us and environmental ruin.

The good Senator also took time to tell a bemused crowd at the IMF that the Iraqi war had created some economic uncertainty. This will come as surprise to his colleagues Hill, Downer and boss Howard given that they seem to think that the Iraqi scenario has led to a new golden age of freedom and is an unsurpassed success, just ask Mick Keelty.

A man out of his depth is seldom a pretty sight, but our Tool Of The Week can take pride in the fact that he's probably not going to have to be Environment Minister for too long, and not because he'll get his wish to concrete over it either.


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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