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Issue No. 265 27 May 2005  

Hit and Myth
John Howard came to power on the back of a myth about the sort of Australia we had once been; now he is creating a new myth about the sort of Australia we want to become.


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.


 Sign or You're Gone

 Unions Back a Winner

 Howard Chases Nurses

 Victims Champ Joins Resistance

 Red and Green Blue

 Usual Suspects Lead Cheer Squad

 Ugly Australian On Charges

 Aussies Longer and Harder

 Guard Attached, Then Sacked

 Doh – Homero Loses Voice

 Bunbury Families Win Payouts

 Double Standards For Dads

 Libs Back 'Illegal' Rally

 TAFE Teaches A Lesson On Winning

 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.

 One Hell Of A Job
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Tool Shed

The End

"This is the end," said John Howard from the Tool Shed this week – and how right he is!


When John Howard was Malcolm Fraser's Treasurer he visited a steelworks in Newcastle. While he was there a worker desperately wanted to shake Howard's hand. Howard asked why, and the worker explained that he'd always wanted to shake Howard's hand - as it had been in his pocket for the last two years.

Howard was at it again this week, trying to grab more dosh out of workers pockets. This time it was on behalf of those charming people who live on a planet where no one believes in fairness, the economic Frankensteins and Deficit Daleks who miss the days of sending ten year olds down mine shafts.

It was good to see that Howard got to meet a worker all those years ago, as he doesn't seem to want to meet them anymore. Within hours of announcing that he was going to reform the workplace in much the same way that a semi trailer is liable to reform a stray cat on the M4, Howard hastily shifted a press conference so that he didn't have to meet any of those nasty working class types.

"This is the end!" Howard had crowed the day before, and one thing's for sure, it probably is.

When you have a policy that is about as popular as rabies and you try to introduce it at a time when most people are drowning, not waving (in the economic sense) - your brilliant dreams of spending your entire public life hiding your incompetence are liable to come unstuck.

"My guarantee is my record," Mr Howard told parliament this week, and what a record it is.

Howard's record shows that, as the friend of the Australian worker, lowest paid workers would be $2300 a year worse off under his regime.

Howard's opposed every pay rise since Judas struck for twenty pieces of silver. The only difference between Howard and Judas though is that at least Judas had the decency to hang himself after betraying his community - Howard just keeps on bullshitting them to keep in their good books

"We provide people with the choice of remaining under the existing award system or entering into workplace agreements," says the Lying Rodent, knowing full well that the choice is actually between his delightfully Orwellian "workplace agreements " and starving on the dole.

The King Canute of Conservatism plans to legalise unfairness, justifying it by saying that the inability to treat people like a dried up piece of dog turd is hindering small business.

Apparently sacking people creates jobs. This is the sort of economist porn that treats workers and consumers and entirely separate beings. It is right up there with his next piece of subtle logic.

"Mr Speaker," said the Prime Miniature with a straight face. "The era of the select few making decisions for the many in Australian industrial relations is over."

It won't be a select few, just the few he selects.

Still, at least he didn't try to describe the nineteenth century industrial relations system that would have done Micawber proud as being a twenty-first century reform!

It was the select few who said that: The Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Notional Farmers Federation.

And they should know - they've put the bullets in the gun that our Tool Of The Week is going to shoot himself politically with.


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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