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Issue No. 233 13 August 2004  

Australian Pastoral
Now the US Australia Free Trade Agreement is signed, sealed and rubberstamped, we will see for ourselves who was right Ė those who argued Nirvana or those who warned of economic Armageddon.


Interview: Trading Places
New ACTU International Officer Alison Tate cut her teeth delivering aid to developing nations through APHEDA. Now she is helping chart the global union agenda.

Safety: Snow Job
James Hardie has been drilled into our collective consciousness as a story of power, greed and immorality. It is also, as Jim Marr reports, a tale of human tragedy.

Politics: In the Vanguard
Damien Cahill reveals how neo-liberal think tanks have been at the forefront of the corporate assault upon trade unions and social movements in Australia.

Unions: Gentle Giant Goes For Gold
Donít get between Sydney sparkie Semir Pepic and a gold medal in a dimly lit alley, writes Tim Brunero.

Bad Boss: 'Porker' Chases Blue Ribbon
Perfect Porker, Darren Vincent, brings a history of meat worker shafting to this monthís Bad Boss nomination.

International: Cruising For A Bruising
Europeís big unions are bruised as they watch companies roll over some of their best-organised unionised workplaces demanding longer work hours Ė without any recompense, reports Andrew Casey.

History: Under the Influence
Was John Kerr drunk when he wrote and signed the letter dismissing Edward Gough Whitlam from the Prime Ministership in 1975? Geraldine Willissee investigates.

Economics: Working Capital
Where superannuation fits, where it fails and what we should we do about it. Neale Towart gives the tough answers.

Review: Fahrenheit 9/11
There's many a must see moment in Mike Moore's new flick but beating the propaganda machine at its own game wreaks havoc with wearied bullshit detectors, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Bad Intelligence Rap
When Flood washed away the PM's sins, the truth was once again left high and dry.

Satire: Osama Bin Manchu
During a recent visit to an elderly relative in a nursing home, I was waylaid by an ancient gentleman who insisted I listen to what he had to say, writes Rowan Cahill.


 Hardie Boycott Sweeps State

 Vic Bosses Spit Dummy

 Revenge of the Bank Staff

 Young Workers Grounded

 Stab Proof Undies Arresting

 Carr in Cleaners Dust-Up

 Conflict Threatens Rail Safety

 Stats Lead Race to Bottom

 Spotlight on Olympic Stitch-Up

 Bomber Targets Canberra

 Casino's Gamble Backfires

 Choice in Truth Mix

 Activists Whatís On!


The Westie Wing
The Labor Governments in each State must take the lead to stop the abuse of corporate law in Australia in the absence of action from the Federal Government, as the Inquiry into James Hardieís has highlighted, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Cleaners Deserve Our Support
It's time the state's cleaners were given some support, loyalty and long service leave, writes Chris Christodoulou.

The Locker Room
Half Time At The Football
Phil Doyle wants to have his pie and eat it too.

Faithful Servant
Frank Mossfield was one of the labour movementís quiet achievers. Former Labor Council secretary Michael Easson pays tribute.

Lessons From East Timor
Just back from a study tour to East Timor, National Reserach Officer with the Construction division of the CFMEU, Ben Stirling, writes about the experience for Workers Online.

 Tomís Legal Advice
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Tool Shed

The Private Service

Senator Gary Humphries wanders into the Tool Shed this week after making some interesting observations about the world he lives in.


Gary Humphries first rose to mediocrity in the regime of ACT Chief Minister Kate Carnell, back in the days when blowing up hospitals was considered good public policy.

His claim to fame after that was losing the ACT for the Liberal Party after a backlash over his rather unorthodox approach to competence.

The man with all the charisma of a fence post, but none of the charm, has since gone on to replace that bumbling bundle of self importance Margaret Reid as the Liberals sole senator for the ACT.

As Chief Minister our Tool Of The Week oversaw the organised ripping off of ACT public servants who, when they weren't being sacked, saw their wages and conditions lag 10-15% behind their commonwealth counterparts.

On top of this Canberrans also enjoyed watching cutbacks to everything except cutbacks. Buses libraries, health, housing; all suffered from the fiscal zealotry of the one time failed student politician.

The excitement machine raised eyebrows in the nation's capital when he threw his insubstantial weight behind Peter Costello's claim that the best thing that ever happened to Canberra was the Liberal Government sacking 17,000 of its citizens.

No doubt they are far better off now that they no longer have to bother about paying a mortgage, collecting a pay packet or contributing to their country.

Our Tool Of the week's tortuous squirmings over the issue of him acting as cheerleader as his neighbours getting kicked in the guts by his mate with the smirk took a turn towards the pungently hypocritical this week when he tried to position himself as the Public Servant's friend.

This, of course, was his swipe at the Mouth from Mandurah, Kim Beazley, and his well thought through suggestion that the best way to win people's hearts and minds is by sacking them.

This week Humphries also tried to flex his muscle by dragging out the hoary chestnut of cracking down on the poor bastards stuck on the dole.

No doubt with so many of his erstwhile fellow Canberrans enjoying the Liberal Party's 21st century equivalent of bear baiting, from the position of the bear, this sort of tripe will go down a treat.

Someone needs to remind the Humph that Public Service means a bit more than former Communication Ministers getting a job with Austero.

His venality in this area appeared somewhat misplaced when his concern over 200 jobs at the Department of Defence is stacked up against the 17,000 jobs his Liberal Party colleagues wiped out of existence in the greatest contribution to civic building since Attilla sacked Rome.

Humphries is one of those Liberals whose frustration at their inability to run themselves into the ground in the private sector is manifest in their desire to run the public sector into the ground instead.

Humphries gold medal for hypocrisy this week will no doubt hasten the end for the unelected senator for the ACT.

With the Greens Kerry Tucker running a good chance of slotting the second place I the ACT Senate campaign our Tool Of the Week faces the ignominy of being the First Liberal Senator from the ACT to fail at his first electoral test.

The best thing our Tool Of the Week could do between now and then is to keep his mouth shut, as opening it seems to only allow him the opportunity of inserting his foot in there.


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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