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Issue No. 241 08 October 2004  

That’s All Folks!
Perhaps the most depressing part of this federal election campaign has been the Howard Government’s success, with the willing assistance of the media, of typecasting the union movement as some sort of cartoon bogeyman.


Interview: The Last Bastian
AMWU state secretary Paul Bastian has been at the centre of the three year battle to bring James Hardie to account.

Unions: High and Dry
Jim Marr unpacks the recent High Court Electrolux decision to test whether the ruling matches the media hype.

Security: Liquid Borders
The Howard Government loves to trumpet its national security credentials but a close look at its record in shipping sinks the myth argues MUA’s Zoe Reynolds.

Industrial: No Bully For You
Phil Doyle reports on how bringing dignity and respect to the workplace is undermining bullies.

History: Radical Brisbane
Radical Brisbane extends the 'Radical City' series into the Red North. Two experienced activists, academics and writers turn South East Queensland history on its head.

International: No Vacancies
More than 1400 hotel union workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 2, are on strike at four major hotels in San Francisco, California, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Life After Capitalism
A situation that all anarchists dream of? Michael Albert has been more than dreaming., writes Neale Towart

Technology: Cyber Winners
Labourstart's Eric Lee looks at a good news story of global online campaigning that has delivered a victory.

Poetry: Do It Yourself Poetry
Teaser: Wondering why the polls are all over the place? Ask our resident bard and psephologist.

Review: Hard Labo(u)r
The Voice of Southern Labor highlights the role music played in the 1930's US textile strikes, but more than that it provides a lucid insight into the roots of modern capitalism and some truly organic organising, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Telstra Dogs on Injured Woman

 Strike Three and We’re Out

 Boxall Beats Hasty Retreat

 Ashfield Moves on Home Truths

 Pratt in Warwick Farm Plunge

 Robert Reich's 2020 Vision

 Numbers Racket at Yandi

 Executive Pay Blue Looms

 Crazy Mike’s Fire Sale

 Kids Remember Kids

 DIY Security For Child Care

 Canada’s Asbestos Outrage

 Aussie Kids Thrown Overboard


True Lies
Labor Council secretary John Robertson argues It’s Time – for an IR reality check.

The Westie Wing
Much work has been done in the past to ease the plight of clothing outworkers in New South Wales. It's time to step up the pressure, as sweatshops and clothing contract work are thriving stronger than ever, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Who Started the Class War?
Evan Jones looks across the Australian political landscape and asks who are the real class warriors?

The Locker Room
First Past The Post
Phil Doyle is coming up in class and is all the better for recent racing

Westie Wing
Our favourite state MP returns for his monthly Macquarie Street wrap.

Positive Action
Australian unionists are helping give hope to Filipino workers living with HIV/AIDS.

 Invest In Dignity - Part II
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Tool Shed

PM ‘s Tool

For a government that has made deceit a political art form, few match the mastery of the PM’s right-hand man Mad Bill Heffernan in leading the greenies up the garden path.

If it wasn't so cynical you'd admire him; casting himself as a friend of the trees, wining and dining the environmental lobby into thinking the PM was on their side, then dumping on them at the eleventh hour.

Heffernen is best remembered for the way he imploded after making false allegations against Justice Kirby; culminating in the notorious game of tip chasings through Parliament House once the case collapsed. He's also the mastermind behind the Turnbull for Wentworth debacle that risks seeing a blue riband Liberal seat slip off the Tory share register. And for fans of TV's Chaser, he is the thuggish killjoy who threatens to kick our heroes out of every Liberal function they attempt to infiltrate.

Not even his friends have ever accused Bill of subtlety, but he lured the environmental advocates into his web, hook, line and sinker. Was it that in the crazed glint in the eye, they thought they had found a soul mate? Or does he subscribe t o t he George Costanza edict - "If you believe it's true, it is not a lie"? Either way, as late as Monday, the friends of Tassie Wilderness were expecting something spectacular from the Prime Minister.

Spectacular was an understatement, the greatest sell-out of the environment in recent memory - wedging Labor between timber workers and the environmental lobby and orchestrating a Nuremberg style rally for his leader.

And his secret? A quick Google search will show it was bald-faced lying. How's this for a breach of trust - from an interview with ABC radio in early September:?

"We've got to do the right thing in Tasmania. Obviously it's up to the decision makers of the Government to define that, but I'm confident that the Government will do the right thing to protect the long term heritage values of Tasmania, so we can look back in fifty years and be proud, future generations can be proud, of what we've done - unlike mistakes we've made with water, where we've over allocated the rivers of the Murray Darling River Basin and looked back with horror and said how we could we have done that.

We've brought on Australia's greatest environmental problems in Australia, which is dry land salinity by over clearing a hundred years ago and we've all said how the hell did we do that. With the knowledge we've got now, it's just simply no more complicated than the right thing to do to end the over commitment of the land mass to Tasmania in the way it is and end old growth immediately.

Reporter: So that means you think the Government should cease old growth logging straight away?

": Well the scientists tell us that if we don't act now, we would have gone past the point of return to protect the long term heritage value of Tasmania's old growth forests.

Reporter: And do you think this is what the Prime Minister has in mind? That during the election campaign he will pledge to cease old growth logging?

I'm not about to predict what the Prime Minister or the decision makers of the Government might do, but I do know that those people are listening carefully to the issues and giving serious consideration to doing the right thing and we've got to look after the jobs, but we've also got to look after Mother Earth and the hundred year outlook for Tasmania's heritage values.

Reporter And do you think the Prime Minister has gone on this environmental journey with you?

Well, it's not a question of anyone going on a journey with me. It's just a question of people...

Reporter:: Or the same environmental journey?

...Getting the information and I'm sure that the Government is listening.

At the end of the day, the only journey Heffernen took was the merry one he led people of conviction, good intention whose only flaw was a lack of political cynicism. It should be the last time anyone ever trusts the Howard Government; hopefully it will be the last time anyone has to.


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