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Issue No. 263 13 May 2005  

A Fistful of Dollars
And so the great political debate of our time has become who gets the money and how quickly they can pocket it – the Howard Government’s latest application of the base art of wedge politics.


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.


 Bikies Needle Heroines

 Bosses Play China Card

 Giant Collapses on Ankle

 NAB Cuts More Than Jobs

 Left Footers Kick Back

 Oh Brother, Tim Plays House

 WA on the Block

 Patrick Fails to Hide Asbestos

 Budget Hits Civil Rights

 Combet Launches Shark Attack

 Childcare Wage Grows Up

 US To Drain More Aussie Brains

 Dictators Beg Eric To Stop


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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Labor for Refugees


Tool Shed

Permanent Tool Status

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone raids the Tool Shed and finds the only person with the correct paperwork is herself.


Misplacing one Australian citizen in detention is unfortunate, losing two is downright careless; but when the said unfortunate ends up in a Filipino hospice the behaviour can only be described as Tool-able.

Amanda Vanstone is one of those Liberals who, I suspect, started off with a good heart, but she is reaping the cost of associating with a gang who are without morals in their pursuit of power. After all, inheriting Phillip Ruddock's portfolio requires inheriting his moral blinkers, so finely honed during the Tampa crisis.

Vanstone is forced to defend the indefensible on an almost daily basis, locking schoolkids in detention, deporting long-term residents and generally filling detention centres with individuals who, in a time when we have a chronic shortage of workers, could clearly be making a more positive contribution to society.

Under the Howard Government the Department for Immigration has become the Department for Someone Else's Problem and the swift deportation of a mentally ill woman after she was in a car accident shows why the policy is so inhumane.

Vivian Young/Solon was an Australian citizen of Filipino extraction who'd been here 20 years after marrying an Australian. She had two sons, sisters, a life. None of this counted for anything when the Deportment of Immigration got their hands on her, shipped her out of the country where she ended up destitute in a hospice for the dying.

That was 2001; by 2003 it appears Immigration realised there had been a stuff-up and they went to some effort to find the woman; although this did not extend to informing her Australian family, including the five-year child who had been left at child care the day she disappeared.

This seems the stuff of comi-tragedy; but it is the real world in Howard's Australia, a mean-sprited, self-focused place where refugee advocates are dismissed as un-patriotic. And when the excesses of this meanness impact on an Australian citizen rather than an 'illegal' - who we are happy to see rot in the Nauru heat, our Minister's send responsibility back down the line with three simple words 'I am advised".

"I am advised" is Australian for arse-covering, basically an admission that an elected official is not prepared to vouch for the truth of the information they are providing the public. It worked a treat in Kids Overboard and now it's back in play with Citizens Adrft.

This is the level of responsibility Vanstone has taken this week , a Minister with no responsibility, just a bureaucracy to over her own political arse. Well, Amanda, all we can say is 'we are advised' you are a 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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