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Issue No. 239 24 September 2004  

Moral Victories
The release of the Jackson Inquiry into James Hardie may represent the completion of one chapter of Australia’s largest corporate scandal, but it is by no means the end of the story.


Interview: True Matilda
Former senior bureaucrat John Menadue coordinated the group of 43 calling for truth in government; and now he has bigger fish to fry.

Politics: State of Play
Are all political parties the same? Workers Online tries to cut through the jargon to compare the major parties' approaches to key policy areas.

Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Public Private Partnerships amount to privatisation by stealth. Or do they? Jim Marr investigates.

Unions: Rhodes Scholars
Tim Brunero discovers how the Electrical Trades Union is doing its best to ease the national apprentice crisis.

National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
Noel Hester previews how unions will be fighting the federal election - on the ground and online.

International: People Power
Over the next four years there is a real potential a major struggle will take place for workers’ rights and the creation of truly democratic unions in China., writes Andrew Casey

Economics: A Bit Rich
Who Gets What? Why? And So What?, Frank Stilwell reviews the BRW's Rich List

History: Mine Shafts
It's 25 years since Nymboida passed the baton to United, writes Peter Murray

Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Former RAAF engineers could be sitting on a health time bomb, Tim Brunero reports.

Organising: Building a Wave
Community groups, unions and social movements all practice organising, wrties Tony Brown and Amanda Tattersall.

Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
How dare any Liberal suggest that the Prime Minister is a lying rodent! Resident bard David Peetz reports on the outrage that this slur has justifiably caused.

Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Tim Brunero writes The Battle of Algiers is a coldly objective, almost scientific anatomy of revolution.

Culture: The Word On The Street
Phil Doyle reports on how the Australian working class experience lives on through the words of the remarkable Geoff Goodfellow.


 Delta Parties Like It’s 1994

 Shot In The Arm for Dealers

 Corporates Vote for AWAs

 Mind Game for the Discriminating

 Electrolux "Try On" Rebuffed

 Cultural Revolution Purges Howard

 Xerox On The Blink

 Billions Hidden Behind the Veil

 Customs Crosses the Border

 Toolbox Gimmick Threatens Awards

 Cleaners Clean Up

 u r brkng t law

 Unions Join Power Surge

 Vulnerable Lose Shot At Life

 Activists What's On!


The Soapbox
Hail to the Metro-Sexual!
If the cultural shift required in the workplace to give greater security to working families was broadly accepted the ACTU would not be locked in an adversarial Work and Family test case argues Sharan Burrow.

The Westie Wing
In his latest missive from Macquarie Street our resident Parliamentary commentator, Ian West, walks us through issues around the PBS.

How Bush Lost His Wings
Tracking the National Guard Career of the Fatuous Flyboy from New Haven, Jeffrey St Clair.

The Locker Room
The Name of the Game
Phil Doyle wonders whether we are barracking for the sponsor or the team.

Women to Women
APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad is working to create opportunities for Palestinian women living in Lebanese refugee camps.

 I Say I Say I Say
 I Say I Say I Say II
 Vote Early, And Often
 No Surplus Of Generosity
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Tool Shed

Toolbox Tool

The rodent gnaws his way into the Tool Shed this week after offering the kids a box to keep him in.


It's baby-kissing season and no one is safe.

The latest piece of jibber to emanate from the mouth of Dear Leader Howard is his $900 offer for apprentices to buy a box to keep him in.

At this stage it remains unclear whether or not he is referring to a core or non-core Toolbox.

Apart from the fact that Howard doesn't even seem to know what an apprentice is, he is obviously unaware that most real apprentices already receive a $1000 tool allowance, courtesy of decades of work by Australian trade unions.

And all this from the same dropkick who thinks that starving TAFE of funding and removing from industrial awards conditions that regulate the proportion of apprentices in workplaces are good ideas.

Getting Howard to understand the realities facing Australian working people is a bit like getting a house brick to understand Euclidean geometry.

Maybe Howard is under the impression that an apprentice is one of those charming people who keep Donald Trump company on the show seen on Channel Packer.

Either that or he thinks that the word 'apprentice' is some management jargon meaning 'cheap labour'.

The confusion is understandable. After all, no one told him what an apprentice was, or if they did he cannot immediately recall the specifics.

Which is why, on planet Howard, an apprentice can mean someone who is flipping hamburgers or stacking shelves.

In fact less than a third of the 400,000 apprenticeships the Howard Government claims it is currently supporting are actual trades apprenticeships.

One can only marvel at the sort of leadership that would rather see future generations working in McDonalds rather than value-adding manufacturing or engaged in technical innovation.

Why bother about a $9 billion skills shortage when you can run around the country like a headless chook promising to make the old feel young and the young feel old.

Yep, there'll be no holes in donuts if Howard gets elected.

This man will do anything, even hug a tree, if he thinks there's a vote in it. He has all the principle of a pawnbroker, but with none of the charm.

Combine his appropriately labelled Tool Box 'initiative' with a foreign policy announcement earlier in the week, which looked like it was written by the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club, one has to worry about leaving our Tool Of The Week in charge of a tennis club, let alone the country.

But diplomacy, the workplace, or even running the country has never been Howard's strong point.

His great forte has always been saying whatever he's had to say to save his sorry backside, regardless of whether or not it approximates the truth.

Nevertheless it should come as no surprise that our Tool Of the Week wants to get onside with tradespeople, after all, a once over of his policies shows that there's a screw loose in there somewhere.


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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