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Issue No. 262 06 May 2005  

Rights and Wrongs
Something unseasonal and hitherto untoward has been occurring up at Macquarie Street in recent weeks, a flurry of legislative activity around workers rights.


Interview: Fortress NSW
NSW IR Minister John Della Bosca on how to win the battle for workers rights - and save the state system.

Unions: Fashions Afield
With new anti-sweatshop creations being paraded at this year's Australian Fashion Week, is equity the new black and are sweatshops the new fur? asks Tara de Boehmler.

Industrial: Pay Dirt
John Burgess argues that the flow-on effect from changing the minimum wage could be more than we bargained for.

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: Big Day Out
Neale Towart looks back on the events that created the May Day heritage.

International: Making History
Hundreds of aid organisations, charities, trade unions and religious groups have formed a global alliance called “ Make Poverty History”.

Economics: The Fear Factor
The solution to skill shortages is intelligent planning, argues John Spoehr

Review: The Robots Revolt
New kids flick Robot uses our electronic friends to teach audiences that inbuilt obsolescence is just a state of mind, writes Tara de Boehmler

Poetry: The Corporation's Power
The idea of a corporations power that could cure any ill has inspired our resident bard, David Peetz, to verse.


 Harmer FACS Families

 Brats Drive Bus Row

 Harsh Reality – Bella Turns Pink

 Rev Kev Blesses Bosses

 Workers Online Legit

 Howard Rides Kiwi Model

 Della Opts for Gaol

 Feds in the Dock

 Carr Race to Bottom

 Bosses Walk on Water

 Govt Gets Claws into Nurses

 Ion Faces Legal Probe


The Soapbox
May Spray
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson delivered the annual May Day Toast - and warned it is no time to be comfortable and relaxed.

The Locker Room
A Rucking Good Time
Phil Doyle reveals many things, some of them useful

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, is back to regale us with inside goss and intrigue from the Bearpit.

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Tool Shed

Spun Out

Aussie propagandist Lynton Crosby has spun himself in the Tool Shed after failing to sell racism to the Poms.

Now, we all believe the English can't play spin, but the abject failure of the Tories star Aussie imports, Messrs Crosby and Textor, put us all to shame.

In a desperate bid to boot the moulding Blair regime out of office, the Tories called on the 'geniuses' behind John Howard's political ascendency, the former Liberal Party director Lynton Crosby and his partner, the pollster with prejudice, Mark Textor.

Reports suggest that Crosby was paid more than $600,000 to spend a few months in the Old Dart masterminded the election.

And what did they get for their money?A fear and loathing campaign on immigration, revving the Tory leader Michael Howard into increasingly feral bleatings about the dilution of the British blue bloods. Unlike Australia, where this type of opportunism was like a siren's song and left the ALP with no where to go, the British public did not take the hook.

When Plan A failed, the attack moved to gypsey's, a small number of itinerants who became a threat to the British way of life. This one was so obnoxious that some Tory MPs black banned the leaflets in their electorates.

When that didn't work, the final throw was to hurl personal abuse at Tony Blair for being a 'liar' over the Iraq War. The poetic irony of this line coming from the men behind Children Overboard and the interest rates scare campaign may have been lost on the Poms, but Aussie humour has never travelled that well.

As Faser Kemp, the deputy manager of the Labour election campaign, said Mr Crosby had failed to swing the campaign to the Conservatives "despite all the hype about him". "He brought his dog whistle over here but the British bulldog bit him."

"The problem with the way they ran so hard on asylum and immigration was it turned out the dog whistle could be heard by everyone, and there was a real backlash."

At the end of the day, the Australian masterminds were sidelined, and Howard tried to pare back lost grounded by spending the last week running positive. That he managed to claw some ground back in the dying, may give the Conservatives some succour, but is unlikely to see them turning to our Tool again in the near future.

One final observation - while Crosby-Textor have proven very good at keeping John Howard in office, a brief look around the nation shows they haven't had a whole lot of success in getting Oppositions in.

And this is because from the position of incumbency a leader has far more opportunity to shape the public mood, massive public resources to reinforce a message and an increasingly politicised bureaucracy to implement it. After all, where would the Tampa had been without a cowed military and a compliant defence bureaucracy?

This is why the Crosby model of campaigning is so insidious - it requires a fundamental breach of the trust we put into our leaders. It is all about using the levers of public power for political advantage, by unleashing our darker sides.

It is why we should do everything in our power to keep their candidates out of office. At least the good people of Britain have got that much right.


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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