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Issue No. 255 11 March 2005  

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.


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


 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


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

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

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.

 The Auld Mug
 Banks Are Great
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Letters to the Editor

The Auld Mug

There can be no doubt in any sane person's mind as to the outcomes and the manner in which the Carr Government has achieved them over the last 18 months.

Particularly those Ministers whose behaviours and performances leave a taste in the mouth that requires the addition of copious amounts of Listerine to plain old Sydney Water to remove.

The behaviour of some of these Ministers if not so serious would be comical.

So, it was no surprise then, when an old Comrade who has survived the grim reaper at Sydney Water, showed me an "Every Drop Count Mug", which employees have been receiving.(Perhaps a reflection of the esteem in which their employer held them)

The novel way in which the colour changed in a large blue dot in the shape of a water drop on exposing the revelation that:

Saving water saves:

Water Costs

Energy costs

Chemical costs

Maintenance costs

This created in me a desire for one of these "Mugs" to place on my desk as a constant reminder to save water.

So, in my naivety and assuming that as a consumer I would be a prime target for the distribution of these "MUGS" I rang the Ministers office requesting a "MUG"!

You can imagine how my disappointment turned to frustration as I was sent from the Ministers office to the electoral office then to the media officer, who informed me that the "MUGS" were only for the employees?

Well I think that was what he said?

To cut a long story short:

"As one who has had considerable interaction with the Minister and he has in fact said on the Terry Willesee Show Radio 2GB "Its people like that I want working for me" , I find it hard to believe that there are no "Mugs" in the Ministers office if only for the reason that it is an absolute absurdity to restrict a save water campaign to those whose livelihood depends upon its usage.

There is an old saying "Get me a Mug, and don't come back with water".

Are you available Frank?

Yes Minister!

Tom Collins


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