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Issue No. 248 26 November 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Australian Idols
It was a week for the little people as Casey won Australian Idol and Rebecca beat the railways. In entertainment and politics it was a young woman from the burbs who ran rings around the pros.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: The Reich Stuff
Robert Reich has led the debate on the future of work – both as an academic and politician. Now he’s on his way to Australia to help NSW unions push the envelope.

Economics: Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Environment: Beyond The Wedge
Whether the great forestry divide can ever be overcome or whether it is best sidestepped for the sake of unity and sustainability in other areas is up for debate, writes Tara de Boehmler.

International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon and John Mathews show us How To Kill A Country

Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Nick Lewocki from the RTBU lifts the lid on the shonky science behind RailCorp testing

Politics: Labo(u)r Day
John Robertson lets fly at this years Labor Day dinner

Human Rights: Arabian Lights
Tim Brunero reports on how a Sydney sparky took on the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.

History: Labour's Titan
Percy Brookfield was a big man who was at the heart of the trade union struggles that made Broken Hill a quintessential union town writes Neale Towart.

Review: Foxy Fiasco
To find out who is outfoxing who, read Tara de Boehmler's biased review of a subjective documentary about corrupt journalism.

Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
Brothers and sisters! Praise the Lord! Brother George has saved the White House from an invasion by infidels, writes resident bard David Peetz.

N E W S

 Helicar Fingers Victims ... Again

 Rabbits Sick of Clover

 What a Banker

 Pack Up and Go Home

 Pratt By Name

 Horror at the Hacienda

 Women Wiped for Bush Jobs

 Veteran Fights Bullet

 Tunneler Survives Death Trap

 Bathurst Three Face Court

 Chullora Cuts Struck Out

 Bully Breaks Heart

 Southern Cross Flies High

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Locker Room
In Naming Rights Only
Phil Doyle has Gone to Gowings

The Soapbox
Homeland Insecurity
Rowan Cahill tells us how the Howard Government’s appointment of Major-General Duncan Lewis to head up the national security division of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has received little critical comment, until now.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
New proposed legislation in NSW provides a vital window of opportunity for unions to ensure they achieve convictions for workplace deaths, writes Ian West.

L E T T E R S
 Regarding Pee Poles
 Pee Pole Shame
 Latham Is A Scapegoat
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

A Tool For All Seasons


Kirby Adams thinks employees are terrific, except the ones that work for him. *****

Australians are rightly cynical when someone knocking off $4 million dollars a year without ever having to raise a sweat starts lecturing them about the workplace.

This week Kirby Adams, managing director of BlueScope Steel, spat the dummy about how there was a "season off strikes" when EBAs come up for negotiation.

In a mantra that has sounded like a broken record since the late nineteenth century this, apparently, is all the fault of big bad union bosses.

The employees, according to our man of steel, wouldn't have a bar of it if they weren't being led by the nose.

The outburst by our Tool Of The week raises two questions.

Why would anybody take anyone with a name like Kirby Adams seriously in the first place?

And what is wrong with workers trying to defend their standard of living?

According to Adams, who is another in a long line of septic tanks imported into the senior executive echelons of this country, workers should bend over and cop whatever he wants to dish up to them.

No doubt he has been lifting his human resources policies direct from his compatriot Donald Trump, who has shown us the American Way on Channel packer's program the Apprentice.

Of course Adams has a package at BlueScope that guarantees a two year payout should his open-ended contract be terminated.

This is in marked divergence from the sort of flexible, let-me-treat-my-employees-like-a-shovel mentality that Kirby wants his own workforce to accept.

Another corporate example of do as I say, not as I do.

While this sort of rank hypocrisy comes as no surprise, the fact that Tools like Kirby can dribble this fertiliser with a straight face is.

Kirby has gone on the record saying his first priority is to deliver double-digit returns for shareholders. Obviously the best way to do that is to pay your workers peanuts, sack them, shift your operations offshore, pay no tax and generally carry on with all the social responsibility of Attila the Hun.

His evangelical style may have gone down a treat in America's Jim Crow south, but he is now operating it hat is allegedly a civilised society.

The fact that this chinless wonder doesn't even understand something as basic as the social contract - and the fair go that goes along with it - shows that far from being a man of the future (as these New Right bomb throwers like to paint themselves), but rather, he is a tired ideologue stuck firmly in the nineteenth century.

If he is worried about people who are needlessly throwing their weight around to disrupt the workforce he might want to have a word to the bloke he looks at when he has a shave in the morning.

Its about time these social nobodies grew up and started treating people as real human beings, instead of jibbering on about something they know four fifths of stuff all about.



Show Us YOUR TOOL!

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