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Issue No. 249 03 December 2004  

Moral Majority
Unions NSW is currently hosting one of the world�s great thinkers in Robert Reich; academic, commentator and Clinton labour secretary; a man with a mind as big as the dilemmas progressive politics face right now.


Interview: Minority Report
New federal ALP industrial relations spokesman Stephen Smith on the hostilities in store for the labour movement.

Industrial: Girl Power
Tim Brunero looks at how women are making their mark in a once-male dominated trade.

Unions: Made in NZ
Jim Marr looks behind the rhetoric to uncover what the Howard Government has in store for Australian workers.

History: Spirit for a Fair Go
Paddy Gorman looks at the importance of Eureka on the Australian political psyche.

Economics: Fool's Gold
Tom Bramble identifies some contradictions in Howard's economic miracle.

Politics: Worth Fighting For
One of the Left's most influential figures of the last 40 years gives his theory of power ...

Health: The Force Behind Medibank
Public health has always been a core activity for the union movement, writes Neale Towart

Legal: Robust Justice
Former ACTU executive member and textile union leader Anna Booth argues that Alternate Dispute Resolution is one way around the looming assault on union rights.

International: After the Revolution
Has China entered a post-revolutionary phase - and where will it take the world, asks James Goodman

Poetry: The Sound of Unions
Ah, the hills are alive, with The Sound of Unions, muses resident bard, David Peetz

Review: Bad Santa
Billy Bob Thornton's newest role puts the 'nick' in Saint Nicholas and reveals the Satan in Santa, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Moral Crusade to Save Family

 20 Dead � Stockmarket Applauds

 Karen Gives Howard a Paint Job

 Buckeridge Bill Blocks Entry

 Casual Beach Closures

 Railworkers Scull Costa

 Racism in the Dock

 Go Home Alone � And Other Survival Tips

 Vet Beats Bullet

 Cleaners Clean Up

 Weekend Work Wiped

 Miners Go to the Movies

 Feds Attack Low Paid

 Activists What's On!


New Matilda
How Labor Lost the Plot
In his contribution to Australia's new political zine 'New Matilda' , Father Michael kelly argues the ALP is in search of a soul.

The Soapbox
Outside the Tent
Labor exile Lindsay Tanner is warning the ALP to be careful who it gets into bed with.

The Locker Room
Sons Of Beaches
Phil Doyle gets the perfect wave, and waves back

The Westie Wing
150 years since the struggle at Eureka, the fight to achieve social justice, equality and responsible government is just as vital as ever in the neo-conservative Australia, writes Ian West.

Postcard from Harare
Ken Davis, from Union Aid Abroad, on how unions are at the forefront in the battle for democracy in Zimbabwe

 Leadership Skills
 Not A Casey Fan
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Tool Shed

Rich Tool Poor Tool

How do you turn a great economy into a troubled economy? Have an election, as our Tool Of The Week points out.


It's a scary thought, but for one day last week Peter Costello was Australia's Prime Minister.

No, it wasn't just one of those moments when the smirkin' merkin closes his eyes and dreams of what might have been.

The galoot in a suit was fair dinkum roped into the top job because Dear Leader Howard was off at a silly shirt competition in Japan and John Anderson was up bush on family business or preg-testing the cows, or maybe both.

Some people aspire to greatness, other people acquire greatness, and some people have greatness thrust upon them, and then there is Peter Costello.

His latest bit of subtle wisdom was a few idle statements on the state of the economy.

Before the election we had the best economy in the world. It was a land of milk and honey. He was part of a government that promised to make the young feel old and the old feel young.

There would be no holes in donuts when Costello and his mates were returned.

Our Tool Of The Week made dire warnings for weeks on end that a vote for Latham was a vote for economic calumny and financial oblivion. Interest rates would soar and millions would be thrown out of work. People would have to sell their children into slavery, etc. etc.

He told anyone who cared that all of the good economic news was wholly and solely the work of Costello Pty. Ltd.

That was when we weren't getting the guffawing, back-slapping, everybody's pal during the election campaign where Costello was bouncing around cracking one liners with all the wit and charm of a cockroach.

The fact is Peter Costello is about as funny as a dead baby's doll.

There was none of Costello's legendary wit on display this week as he gravely assured us that budget cuts would be necessary and that the parlous state of the Australian economy was caused by the US Dollar.

Hang on? Why wasn't the US Dollar's effect upon our economy an issue before the Federal election?

If our Tool Of The Week was responsible for the economy before the election, he's not now.

Of course, now we need budget cuts, says Costello.

The cupboard is bare.

Bad news for anyone who thought the largesse of $600 handouts was going to continue.

You don't have to be Einstein to work out why the urgently needed squillion dollar taxpayer funded advertising campaigns we were bombarded with before the election have disappeared.

Thankfully we now have runaway personal debt and a property bubble to prop up the economy.

It'll be interesting to see whom our Tool Of The Week will blame when interest rates inevitably rise and the only people with a secure job will be repo men.

The amazing thing is this clown sells himself as a responsible economic manager when, truth be told, he's none of the three.

We can only hope that the accident of history that saw him as Prime Minister the other day will never be repeated.

The only place he belongs is in the Tool Shed.


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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Nominate a Tool!

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