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Issue No. 259 15 April 2005  

Roosting Chooks
It wasn’t that long ago that John Howard was the great Conservative leader who wanted to remake Australia in his own image, defending the monarchy, beating up gay mums and attacking the ABC.


Interview: [email protected]
Labor's Penny Wong has the job of getting more people into the workplace and keeping companies honest. In her spare time ....

Unions: State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson unveils the annual survey of attitudes of workers to their jobs, thier lives and the union.

Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Jim Marr unpacks the unlikely claim of a suburban house to be considered the New Mecca of the New Right …

Legal: Leg Before Picket
Chris White looks at how the federal industrial changes will impact on the basic right to strike.

Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Neale Towart asks why the only form of legitmate welfare seems to be going to the top end of town.

Health: Cannabis Controversy
Zoe Reynolds looks at how drug and alcohol testing is leading to some addled outcomes.

Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
As the indicators head south, Frank Stilwell wonders whether it is the way we do economics that is to blame.

History: Politics In The Pubs
Phil Doyle reports on the increasingly-popular Struggles, Scabs and Schooners day out.

Review: Three Bob's Worth
Doing their best Margaret and David, Tara de Boehmler and Tim Brunero have different takes on the new Australian flick Three Dollars.

Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
Workers Online bard David Peetz teaches how workers to dance to Howard's industrial laws.


 Freedom From Choice

 Hostile Takeover - Can Howard Do It?

 Premier Sues Miners

 Vanstone Shows Brickie’s Cleavage

 Sparkies Refine Safety Tactics

 Ten Cent Deal Cuts Beards

 Kiwis Vote for Flight

 Death Penalty No Deterrent

 Costa Railroads Jobs

 Greystanes Soiled

 Aussies in Ivy league Battle

 Drivers Shake the Cage

 Employers Come Clean

 Big Call in Newcastle

 Bosses Back Gaol for Cowboys

 Activist’s What’s On


The Soapbox
Notes From a Laneway
Mental Health Workers Alliance member Toby Raeburn shares a week on the frontline.

The Locker Room
War, Plus The Shooting
The Socceroos aren’t their own worst enemy after all, or so says Phil Doyle

Life Imitates Art
The jokes have been around for some time about the economic rationalist's approach to the orchestra, writes Evan Jones.

The Westie Wing
Ian West takes the secret passage out of Macquarie Street to deliver his take on NSW Parliamentary Committees and other goings on.

 Adler Should Be Hung
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Tool Shed

Rock Solid, Ironclad Tool

We’ve got a you-beaut Tool this week as Tony Abbott provides a fairytale ending to the Medicare safety net.


Once upon a time there was a man called Tony Abbott.

All his adult life Tony knew there was a Medicare system. He had just never had access to it.

After all, Tony believed that you shouldn't have access to health care before you could afford it.

So Tony got on with his life, spending his days happily arguing that black was white, down was up and that employers needed unfettered control over their workforce.

This went on for some time and Tony pushed all thoughts of a Medicare system into the back of his mind until, one day, Tony got a new job as Health Minister, and discovered the Medicare system.

Tony was overjoyed. So overjoyed he felt it necessary to tell the world about this long-lost medicare system he had discovered. In the end he spent $20 million telling people how wonderful this newfound medicare system was.

Nonetheless, the news that there was a health care system that looked after all Australians, regardless of income, came as something of a shock to Tony.

Nonetheless Tony took it all in his stride. It was a momentous occasion. He was looking forward to getting closer to the Medicare system he'd only recently become acquainted with. There was so much to catch up on.

Tony decided that what the Medicare system needed to be was a safety net.

Imagine Tony's shock when he discovered that the Medicare system wasn't a safety net, but a universal health care system!

Tony was a bit embarrassed. He'd gone public over the Medicare system being a safety net, and it turned out it wasn't a safety net at all!

He'd promised funding that was an "absolutely rock solid, ironclad commitment".

Then it turned out that there wasn't going to be the funding and that, rather, he'd have to dismantle the Medicare system instead.

Poor old Tony Abbott; things, like promises and commitments, keep drifting in and out of his life.

It's been an emotional time for all of us but luckily Tony lived Toolfully ever after.


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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