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Issue No. 250 21 December 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Beyond The Law
Despite the all-engulfing gloom emenating from our political wing right now, 2004 comes to an end on a strangely upbeat note for the trade union movement.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: The King of Comedy
John Robertson looks back on a year when his comic genius was finally realised.

Unions: Ten Simple Rules
Accepted wisdom has unions all but retired as serious players in the Australian game. A glance through the major industrial stories of 2004, however, suggests improved footwork, and a commitment to boxing clever, might herald a comeback, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: Rampant Indivdualism
CFMEU National Secretary John Sutton gives his take on a year when the political debate took a turn to the Right.

International: Global Struggle
Labourstart's Eric Lee looks back on a year when the struggles for labour increasingly crossed international lines.

Economics: Cashing in the Year
Look back in sorrow or look back in anger? By any standards 2004 has been a hell of a year, writes Frank Stilwell.

History: Grass Roots
Worker solidarity in Australia in the first century of invasion can give us inspiration and clues for our upcoming battles, writes Neale Towart.

Review: Cultural Realities
In 2004 popular culture shifted from reality television to reality movies, and swapped last year's light-weight subject matter for the slightly more substantial, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Y-U-C-K
Workers Online resident bard David Peetz takes inspiration from The Village People for his latest prose.

N E W S

 Unions Make Hardie Pay

 Hadgkiss Gives Mourners Grief

 Mum Gets "Hopson’s" Choice

 AWAs Crash on Broken Hill

 No Fun in the Sack

 Tax Office Draws Blood

 Origin Prop a Union Hit

 Good Guy Wears Black

 Security Crisis at Sydney Airport

 Biscuit Bosses Crumble

 Ardmona Urged to Can Racism

 Bomber Predicts Big Bang

 Stolen Wages Cut

 Tomorrow the World…

 Bosses Sack WorkCover

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

Predictions
The Crystal Ball
Workers Online consults a raft of leading psychics to find out what readers can look forward to in 2005.

The Soapbox
Scrooge Was Right
Christmas has been cancelled this year, writes our US correspondent Brooklyn Phil.

The Locker Room
The Workers Online Sports Awards
Continuing a tradition that dates back to the Twentieth Century, Phil Doyle dishes out the gongs for all things great and small in the world of sport during 2004.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favoutrite MP looks for a positive spin on the year at NSW Parliament

L E T T E R S
 Costa’s Hike Unfare
 Temporary Arrangements
 The Price Of Tea In China
 Goodthink
 Cry For Me, Argentina
 Ho Bloody Ho
 Amen
 Right Is Wrong
 Business As Usual
 All In The Family
 Swing Left Wishful Thinking
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Letters to the Editor

Business As Usual


Two months after its election defeat, the Australian Labor Party is still preoccupied with navel-gazing, back-stabbing and factional infighting.

Disgruntled parliamentary members - still unable to accept the reality - have now even got Mark Latham believing that the defeat was all his own fault.

It's great stuff for the media, but extremely destructive to the party. This great party, older than Federation itself, seems determined to make itself irrelevant and unappealing to the electorate at large.

There have been some good articles on this website suggesting what Labor should do to restore its appeal to its traditional support base - workers and trade union members. Unfortunately this traditional support base no longer exists. With so many families having two incomes, what used to be the working class is now the nouveau middle class.

The Labor Party has to reinvent itself. But first it has to achieve strong unity within the ranks. Much as I detest John Howard and all he stands for, his parliamentary party members are unified and supportive of him, which I think continues to greatly contribute to his success.

Unity and co-operation are the first goals that Labor must seek.

If Labor can‚t get its act together in the very near future, its traditional supporters will abandon it en masse. I have just about had a gutful of this party to which I have devoted my loyalty for more than three decades. Labor needn't worry about the 2007 election - that is already lost as far as I can see. But Labor might look towards the 2010 election by which time it may have squabbled and muddled itself out of any relevance to Australian Federal politics.

Will the Greens or perhaps a coalition of Greens and Family First replace it some day as the second major party?

It will be pushing uphill to get MY vote in 2007.

Julian Hancock


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