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Issue No. 253 25 February 2005  

And The Battle Begins
After months of skirmishing and waiting for the first shots to be fired, we finally have a picture of the Howard Government’s agenda to tear down 100 years of industrial relations.


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.


 Signs of the Times

 Fungal Growth Blights AWA’s

 Andrews Apes Big End

 Telstra Charge Reversed

 Good GEERS Hard to Find

 More Pulp Fiction

 For Sale - Goulburn

 Bosses Admit Pay Too Low

 Yachtie Sinks in Bog

 Albrechtsen Merits Questions

 New Eateries On Menu

 Fungal Growth Blights AWA’s

 Markets Cheer Pattern Bargains

 Mine Managers in Denial

 No Interest In Costello

 Activist’s What’s On


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.

 Boycott Bunnings
 Just One Thing
 No Dosh For Rupert
 Executions Not Fines
 Howard Needs To Know
 Disability Disgrace
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Tool Shed


The Tool Shed finds room for a person of a subtle wisdom, Janet Albrechtsen.


Lawyer jokes are off the agenda at the ABC after the government found one last scoop at the bottom of the barrel and appointed Janet Albrechtsen to the ABC board.

The corporate ambulance chaser has made quite a name for herself since she began sharing her thoughts with us through the august pages of that newsprint which was once a newspaper, the Australian.

From this experience we have learned that our Tool Of the Week is a deeply unhappy person.

Apparently there are all sorts of people that hold contradictory opinions to her.

Unfortunately for our Tool Of The Week most of them actually know what they are talking about, which places Ms Albrechtsen at something of a disadvantage.

Given her love of the market and, more importantly, the markets love of her, it appears necessary in some circles that a more level playing field is thus called for.

In achieving this end it has proven problematic for Ms Albrechtsen to improve her knowledge of what's going on beyond the end of her nose, so what is obviously needed is to silence those people who actually do know what they're talking about.

This will assist Ms Albrechtsen to continue her wonderful contribution to humanity in presenting whatever claptrap she thought up as being of such importance that it must be shared with us all before it ends up lining the budgie cage.

She has also demonstrated a remarkable commitment to ensuring that those who don't come from the better families are kept in the place. She does a good running trade in informing us how better off we'd all be if we just put up with being paid in food scraps or killed so that we can continue to help keep her friends on the Fortune 200 list in pickled larks uvulas.

What else can we say for someone who sells workplace safety as a way for unions to Get Rich Quick?

The idea that we don't like to see our workmates maimed, killed or slowly poisoned because we think of them as human beings must be hard for her to grasp.

Especially since it must be hard for someone who has a Gold Amex where everyone else has a heart to understand a concept like that.

The death of Joel Exner, the destruction of John McPhilbin, the tears of Robyn McGoldrick never happened on planet Albrechtsen. With the commercial lawyers eye for compassionate humanity she puts it all down to a sinister conspiracy to do her mates in Darling Point out of dough.

But that lack of understanding what her fellow Australians know didn't deter our Janet, who took the unusual tack of saying that workers should be grateful to be shot while working in a bank and that they should stop picking on the poor old ANZ who, after all, are down to their last three squillion.

It was a moving performance by the enigmatic Albrechtsen.

Not surprisingly Bullying is also a concern of Albrechtsen's. On this subject she puts herself forward as something of an expert.

"When workers were surveyed by the NSW Labor Council earlier this year with questions such as "Have you ever experienced bullying or intimidation in your workplace?" she breathlessly told her readers. "You could wager your mother on the outcome."

And Janet would be true to form if she did.

Talk about projection; Freud, if he made any sense, would have a field day!

You have to hand it to her, she makes Ayn Rand look like Mother Theresa and is a fantastic example of the Joseph Goebbels school of compassion.

Given her experience of spending her entire life outside the real world Albrechtsen will bring a unique insight to the board.

Her sinecure at the rather appropriately named News Limited has provided much mirth for the rest of the population that lives in the real world.

No conflict there. None whatsoever. Not a skerrick. All above board. And here's a pup you might want to buy.

Nonetheless these missives will continue while on the ABC board she learns about what should prove to be a wonderful new concept to her: journalism!

Not so much the dumbing down of the ABC as the dumbing up of Janet.

In the meantime The hero of sexually frustrated chinless wonders from the more perverted GPS schools can save us from than den of tree-hugging, terrorist Marxists at the ABC.

No more gay Big Ted on Play School! Out with the political correctness of Macca and his hoard of subversives on Australia All Over! Australia will be safe once again and the ABC can return to its rightful place as the light entertainment channel for the BBC's Pacific office.

A true champion of the person.

You can contact Janet Albrechtsen and congratulate her for making the ABC board and the Tool Shed in one week by emailing her at [email protected]


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.


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