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Issue No. 251 11 February 2005  

Polar Shifts
And so Workers Online makes our belated return to 2005 - and while we may have the same old familiar faces in Federal Parliament, politically, it�s a whole new ball game.


Economics: Super Seduction
Sharks are circling your super. From July 1, banks and financial planners will have access to the nesteggs of an extra four million workers.

Interview: Bono and Me
ACTU Sharan Burrow lifts the lid on the rock star lifestyle of an international union leader.

Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Rowan Cahill bucks conventional wisdom to argue the eight-hour day began in Sydney.

Economics: OEC-Who?
The OECD calls for more reform. But, Asks Neale Towart, who is really doing the calling?

Technology: From Widgets to Digits
How can unions grow and continue to successfully represent workers when their traditional structures are rooted in an industry, craft or fixed location?

Education: Dumb and Dumber
Unions are leading the fight against a political agenda that does away with smart jobs.

Health: No Place for the Young
The support of union members is required to help get young people out of nursing homes, writes Mark Robinson

History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
February 17 marks 30-years to the day that sacked coal miners at the NSW Northern District Nymboida Colliery began their historic work-in at the mine.

Review: Dare to Win
The history of the militant and often controversial BLF is as surprising as it is fascinating writes Tim Brunero.

Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
With another change at the helm of the Labor Party, our resident bard, David Peetz, can't help but dreamily drawing on some political history.


 Plastic Man Crosses the Line

 Taskforce Loses "Payback" Evidence

 Court Out � Again

 Blue Chips Fried in CBD

 Bosses Duck Decapitation

 Computer Driven Posties

 Stalking Horses in Safety Stampede

 Low Blow in Ferry Blue

 Howard "Unbalanced"

 Picketers Chase Millions

 Whistleblower Beats Bullies

 Mateship Shines Through

 Queensland Marks Power Grab

 Vale Laurie Aarons 1917-2005


Titanic Forces
There are book reviewers who have not read the book they have just reviewed and there are critics who have criticised films they have not yet seen. I want to review a novel that has not yet been written.

The Soapbox
Labour and Labor
Grant Bellchamber looks at the relationship between both sides organised labour

Aussie Unions Help Tsunami Victims
The union movement�s aid agency reports back on its relief effort in Asia.

The Locker Room
Game, Set and Yawn
Phil Doyle asks if tennis is evil or just boring

The Westie Wing
As a reshuffle of the State Ministry settles in and the Federal Government throws down the gauntlet, 2005 promises to be a new and vital chapter in the struggle for workers and their families, writes Ian West in Macquarie Street.

 Nelson's Double Standard
 Morals Beat Hasty Retreat
 Uncounted Cost Of Asbestos
 Voting Farce Expands
 I Beg To Differ
 Politics Smolitics
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Letters to the Editor

Politics Smolitics

By way of background, an image comes to my mind of an election rally at Randwick in 1972, when Gough Whitlam was campaigning for election as

potential Prime Minister of Australia.

The hall was filled with people apparently from across the social spectrum.

As the great man entered the hall from the rear and walked towards the stage, the hall was filled with a

tangible feeling of love.

Here was the Messiah, come to save us from the

debacle created by Billy McMahon's pathetic leadership.

And so I am sure that Labor supporters across the country were pinning their hopes on Mark Latham to liberate Australia from yet another term of Howard�s

Horror Show.

Personally I think Mark performed excellently, but was outwitted by the shrewd and seasoned John Howard, with his oft repeated lie that interest rates would rise under a Labor Government.

More than likely Gough would have seen through this ploy and stopped it in its tracks.

But that was not to be and Labor, under Mark Latham, lost it's fourth successive Federal election.

From Mark's comments in his resignation announcement to the media, the unforgivable degree of intrusion by the media into his private life,

especially as he was suffering from a very painful illness, greatly added to the distress and disappointment that he was already feeling.

As a former Sydney Morning Herald journalist myself, I am deeply ashamed at the outrageous behaviour by elements of the media.

It has been reported that after the election defeat, Mark's parliamentary colleagues found him moody and irritable.

And well he should have been after the ordeal he had gone through.

But I and many of my fellow Labor supporters think he did a great job, and it is a great loss to the party and the parliament that he has decided to resign from politics altogether.

And now to address the current situation regarding Labor leadership.

Whilst many people, myself included, consider Julia Gillard the best choice for the job, this is very unlikely to happen because of factional pressures.

Regrettably it is painfully obvious that the Federal Labor Party is far more concerned with factional infighting than in winning government. And so the

leadership will most likely go to that two-time loser, verbose and entirely uncharismatic great lump of lard, Kim Beazley.

The irony is that Mark only won leadership of the party 12 months ago by one vote over Beazley.

Had Beazley won, he would have presumably led the Labor Party to a third successive electoral defeat, and would have disappeared into political oblivion.

But all is not lost, and a much more encouraging scenario may develop over the next two or three years.

Eventually Howard must step down as Leader of the Coalition. And when he does, he will leave a vast vaccuum.

He is the only politician of any calibre in the entire Coalition front bench.

Can you seriously imagine Peter Costello as Prime Minister?

And what about the pathetically unimpressive Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the various other cabinet ministers?

Any talent there? None that I can see.

Meanwhile Labor has an impressive array of strong, clear-thinking rront-benchers � Rudd, Gillard, Swan,

Smith and other Eventually one of these people will become Opposition Leader and in time

Prime Minister.

And they will have such a solid front bench to support them, that perhaps it will be the Coalition�s turn once more to spend a long term in the wilderness.

Julian Hancock


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