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Issue No. 255 11 March 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

A Skillful Ruse
If you ever wanted a case study into the adage that big business is all about ‘privatising the profits and socialising the losses’ then look no further than the current skills crisis.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Dot.Com
Evan Thornley was a labour activist. Then he rode the tech wave. Now he's home with new ideas on how Labor can win the economic debate.

Workplace: Dirt Cheap
In her new book, Elizabeth Wynhausen learns how hard it is to live on the minimum wage.

Industrial: Daddy Doesn’t Live With Us Anymore
Andreia Viegas’ tells the story of the loss her young family has felt since her husband was killed at work, and the need for justice for families who fall victim to industrial manslaughter.

Economics: Who's Afraid of the BCA?
Big Business's agenda for Australia has gone from loopy to mainstream at the speed of light, writes Neale Towart

International: From the Wreckage
Working people across Iraq are struggling to build their own independent unions – and are successfully organising industrial action on the vital oil fields as well as in hotels, transport outlets and factories, Writes Andrew Casey

Politics: Infrastructure Blues
With much attention given belatedly to the shortage of infrastructure, little attention has been given to the structure of infrastructure, writes Evan Jones

History: Meat and Three Veg
A new book recounts the impact of the Depression on women workers, writes Neale Towart,

Savings: 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, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: Popping the 'E-Word'
Federal shadow treasurer Wayne Swan unveils Labor's new economic doctrine.

Poetry: To Know Somebody
This week saw an appointment to the ABC Board that was even more breathtaking than that of Liberal Party figure Michael Kroger. Resident Bard David Peetz celebrates the occasion with a reworking of an old Bee Gees hit.

Review: Off the Rails
A new play on the impact of rail privatisation in Britain has a poignant message for Sydney commuters, writes Alex Mitchell

N E W S

 Killer Company Sent Down

 Once Upon a Time in Bexley

 Defence Contractor at War

 Steeple Takes a Tumble

 Tribunal Goes the Bash

 Nurses On Top

 Uni Rolled on Casuals

 Howard Strips GEERS

 Septics Dump On Aussie Jobs

 Banks Safety Interest

 Feds Should Help Kids

 Safety Stars at Opera House

 Three Dollars Free For Readers

 Toast the Days Of Old

 Clinton Boycotts Hotel

 Activist’s What’s On

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
The Big Picture
Think about this: It takes 150 tonnes of iron ore to buy a plasma TV, writes Doug Cameron.

The Locker Room
Reducto Ad Absurdo
Phil Doyle offers advice for the lovelorn, and finds that things are getting smaller

New Matilda
Work is In
The rise and fall of the working hours debate in france is relevent to Australian workers, writes Daniel Donahoo and Tim Martyn

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP surveys the upcoming conservative centralist collective attack.

Postcard
Postcard from Harvard
Australian union officials making the annual pilgrimage to the Harvard Trade Union Program learnt that, at least, they are not alone, says Natalie Bradbury.

L E T T E R S
 The Auld Mug
 Banks Are Great
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

Let Them Eat Yellowcake


Australia’s original glow-in-the dark entrepreneur finds his way into the Tool Shed

*****

Howard favourite Hugh Morgan, who earns more picking his nose than most of us earn in a week, has shared his unique intellect with us all in his role as the grand pooh-bah of the Business Council of Australia.

Hugh's union, the Business Council of Australia, represents the big end of town. It likes to crow that its members employ a million Australian workers.

It's not so forthcoming about its plans to pay them all in salt.

Yes, the man who puts ugh in Hugh, the founding member of those warm and fuzzy guys at the HR Nicholls Society, is the same guy who, as Ian West MLC recently reminded us, "described the original living wage judgement as leading Australian society down to 'catastrophic collision with rural bankruptcy, sudden South American style devaluations, international insolvency and grave social dislocation'."

Well, our economic genius of a Tool certainly got that right, didn't he!

For our Tool Of the Week, slashing wages and conditions, creating a working poor and sending Australian living standards off to the third world are part and parcel of "having a vibrant, adaptive, changing competitive economy".

No doubt it's a lot more vibrant now that his old company, Western Mining, is throwing uranium around the place like confetti. So vibrant it's a wonder it doesn't glow in the dark.

Despite being a Reserve Bank Board honcho, Hugh finds time between awarding the interest rate rises that were never going to happen under Howard to hang out with such fun loving organisations as the Lavoisier group.

The Lavoisier group are a bunch of crackpots running around encouraging a head in the sand attitude to the future - if we say there is no problem then there is no problem, especially with inconvenient little problems like the greenhouse effect.

Hugh showed his hand when he lauded them as visionaries: "We learn from government agencies and their economic modellers that greenhouse policies may cost us upwards of $12 billion per annum in emission

charges. This equates to the economic impact of another GST. And yet we had an election and several years of public debate about the consequences of introducing a GST---contrast this with greenhouse policies."

And....

"Industry faces significant costs to meet our proposed greenhouse gas emission reductions---$100 million for WMC and over $1 billion for BHP. On this basis alone, we have a self-interest and, indeed, a moral imperative to be involved in the greenhouse debate."

What an amazing thought process that can argue that self-interest occupies a moral high ground!

Environmentalism, Morgan says, is the main threat to western civilisation. Who needs an environment when you've got an air-conditioner, eh Hugh?

Hugh points out that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide are good for us.

Well it's good to know that Hugh doesn't want science to get in the way of making a buck.

In fact Hugh doesn't want anything to get in the way of making a buck, especially restrictive work practices such as paying employees or not killing them.

Since Howard got his hands on the nation's title deeds the BCA has been lusting after the prospect of taking Australia back to the nineteenth century and the glory days of the masters and Servants Act. Or better still, the Stone Age, where it can be a straight up survival of the fittest.

They are the economic equivalent of the raincoat brigade in an x r*ted cinema!

"We have for the first time in 30 years a Government that isn't compromised through lack of control of the Senate and expectations of moving forward the reform agenda are, quite naturally, high. There's a measured sense of urgency, given that it's not long before you enter another election round."

Yes, Hugh's Fourth Reich will be of limited tenure, not because Australian's continuing to support Howard is a bit like a turkey voting for Christmas, but because of the terrible restrictions that democracy places on genii like Hugh.

If it wasn't for Democracy Hugh would be able to have the sort of ordered structured fascist dictatorship he craves so dearly.

Given his generous spirit that he shares with his fellow Australians, is it any wonder that Morgan has been charged with with genocide!



Show Us YOUR TOOL!

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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