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Issue No. 264 20 May 2005  

Conviction Politics
In modern politics even ideology has become a matter of convenience; look no further than the principle that ‘third parties’ need to be removed from the workplace.


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.


 BHP Gets Decision to Die For

 Howard Turns to Water

 PM Noses into Pinocchio Territory

 Protest is Child’s Play

 A Baloney Deal Under Fire

 Decapitation Witness Dudded

 Newsroom Bullies Make Headlines

 Nelson Takes Axe To Brains

 Council Unhealthy for Families

 Top End Leader Backs Unions

 A Storm In Every Port

 Greens Go Rights

 Activist’s What’s On!


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

Who’s The Boss?

What do you call a Liberal Federal Treasurer who thinks he’s working class? A Tool of course!


Ah, poor old Dollar Sweetie can't seem to take a trick these days.

First of all, the only person to take up his policy of staying on in the workforce after retirement age is the one bloke he was hoping would retire.

Next, he is telling us that the best way to help the disadvantaged amongst us is to give them less money.

Then he comes out of the closet and claims he is the definitive working class man.

Despite the fact that most people would answer 'none of the above' to the Smirkin' Mirkin's claim to be either a worker, classy or manly the good people down at the ABC decided to humour him with a bit of intro music earlier this week.

To the strains of Jimmy Barnes' 'Working Class Man' the potato with a comb over took his place behind the microphone.

"I love The Boss," declared Pete in his newfound role as the Working Class Hero on $200,200 a year plus benefits.

Unfortunately it wasn't The Boss.

The Boss, as any working class man knows, is Bruce Springsteen - an American songwriter noted for his bittersweet observations of the sort of life you don't often find in the leafy inner-eastern suburbs that old mate Costello hails from.

Jimmy Barnes, a singer who hails from Adelaide's Northern Suburbs - from Elizabeth, was performing the song. Elizabeth is a place that also bears little resemblance to the leafy suburbs of inner eastern Melbourne.

It's the home of a big Holden plant, the Central Districts footy club, and a lot of people that didn't spend their younger years prosecuting confectionary factory workers for sticking by their mates.

They actually spent a lot of their years working. And when they aren't working they're defamed by the likes of our Tool Of the Week for being lazy bludgers. Costello wouldn't be able to find his arse from his elbow without these people building, fixing, cleaning and doing the millions of jobs that actually serve some use in this country.

Bible bashing bludgers from comfortable private-school backgrounds who are born with a complete silver service shoved down their gob are probably best advised not to swan around the country handing people six dollar tax cuts or a kick in the guts and then declare that they're just an ordinary Joe and working class like you and I.

At best, it makes you look like a Tool.

The sad reality is that Costello wouldn't know the working class if he tripped over one. Which he wanted to do at Blacktown earlier in the week, but unfortunately his minders created an invitation only affair to protect him from getting lynched.

It's not very edifying to see a man who has devoted his life to denying the existence of the working class try and pretend he are one.

Perhaps all this waiting and waiting to be Prime Minister is beginning to unhinge him - further.

No doubt we can expect him to embrace further the theoretical nature of the Working Class. We await his contribution with his theory of Diabolical Hysterical Materialism.

"From each according to their ability. To me and my rich mates according to what we bloody well want."


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.


Ship of Tools - All the tools in one shed!

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Nominate a Tool!

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