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Issue No. 230 23 July 2004  

Kill the Lawyers
What’s left of the HR Nichols Society must be popping the champagne this week, with a NSW court ruling that sees the triumph of their 20-year battle to kill industrial relations and replace it with a ‘rule of 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.


 Vandals Hit Sweat Shoppers

 Blow For Union Busters

 Poll Rocks Election Boat

 It’s Official: Eggs Come Second

 Tetra Packs Private Dick

 Workers Demand Act of Contrition

 Wollongong’s $4000 Hamberger

 Company Pays for Casual Affair

 Shame Ships Hide Sausage

 First Test for Death Law

 Convenience Store Detains Student

 Bashed Youth Workers Walk

 Un-Fairfax Leads Paper Chase

 Nile On The Death Law

 ACCC Lays Down Council Code

 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.,

 End Poverty
 The Agony Of The Refugee
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Tool Shed


The Tool Shed’s doors swing open wide for a very confused and disturbed Tool, new Telstra chairman Donald McGauchie.


In a week where Alexander Downer tried to beef up our shooting team for the Athens Olympics and line up Australia with the economic powerhouses of Palau and Micronesia, it was always going to take something extraordinary to rise above that most Toolworthy of efforts.

So the Toolshed dips its lid to Donald McGauchie AO, company director, former head of the National farmers Federation and bitter old fool.

Apparently AO is some kind of honour but, for the rest of us in the real world who have to put up with the sad joke that is Telstra's zealous efforts to corporatise human life, in this instance it stands for something far more fundamental.

Why does Donald McGauchie AO hate Australians so much?

He is obviously frustrated by the fact that our pinko industrial relations system prohibits him from paying his staff in salt. But is that reason enough alone?

His one great claim to fame is that as head of the National Farmers Federation he rounded up some idle youths in an attempt to put their fellow Australians out of work.

You have to wonder about the intellect of a bloke who thinks that thugs in balaclavas and attack dogs are the way to win a hearts and minds campaign.

"Einstein" McGauchie likes to pass himself off as a horny handed son of the soil, although it's doubtful that he's had to preg-test a cow of late, no doubt because he's had his arm stuck up other orifices than Bessie in the top paddock.

As a representative of farmers he's been a sad, unmitigated disaster. As a friend of big business hoons like Chris Corrigan he's been an outrageous success.

Luckily for McGauchie he hasn't had a real job in years, having more directorships than some of the people he has thrown out of work have had hot dinners of late.

One of those directorships is with that friend of the worker, James Hardie. No doubt McGauchie slots well into an organisation that likes to count its profits while its ex employees and customers die horrible, slow deaths.

His attempts to flog off the national telecommunications infrastructure - against the wishes of anyone who has to use a telephone - show how out of touch our horny handed son of the soil is.

Is it any wonder that Telstra can't even produce a phone book, let alone operate an emergency 000 service, given that the whole show is now run by this sort of half-baked ideologue.

The scary part is that McGauchie, who makes Attilla the Hun look like some kind of simpering hippie, is some sort of an adviser to Lord Downer of Baghdad. Which would go some way to explaining the quality of Australian foreign policy of late.

There's a word for people who try to sell something that isn't their's, and this is just what our Tool Of The Week is trying to do.

Many of us remember when Telecom, and the Post Master General's department, was there to provide a phone service. That's what we want, a phone service, not this endless stream of turgid frippery and endless palaver that is somehow related to 'marketing'. A pamphlet isn't much help when what you do want is a 000 number to work.

You'd think that McGauchie, as a "farmer", would know that what he keeps feeding us with all this hard sell for privatisation is probably better off used as fertiliser.

It's not as if Telstra's abysmal service standards are confined to the remote outback - especially when you can't even get a decent phone reception within sight of the Harbour Bridge.

But it shouldn't come as a surprise that members of the intellectual B team like McGauchie are being thrown a lifeline - after all the Prime Miniature has a lot of favours to pay back to cling onto his position.

Now, with McGauchie at the helm of Telstra, we can look forward to more kiddies in the bush dying from asthma attacks while the leering form of our Tool Of the Week spends his time pissing in the pocket of the communications industry's answer to Caligula, that clown Switkowski.

If you would like to tell McGauchie what you think about his plans to privatise Telstra, or even go straight to the top with your service difficulties and faults instead of waiting on hold for forty minutes, why not give our Tool Of the Week a call or sms direct.

His number is 0428 390 760

No doubt he'd love to hear from you, after all, as the message says, your call is important to Telstra.


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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