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Issue No. 266 03 June 2005  

An Act of Faith
After a week of watching the Howard Government attempt to explain their vision of work relations we have a clearer picture of what the social safety net will be in the future � an act of faith


Interview: The Baby Drought
Social ethicist Leslie Cannold has delved into why women - and men - are having fewer children. And it all comes back to the workplace.

Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
David Peetz uncovers the truth behind the latest statistics on earnings under Australian Workplace Agreements.

Workplace: The Invisible Parents
Current government policies about work and family do not reflect the realities of either family life or the modern workplace. writes Don Edgar.

History: Bruce�s Big Blunder
The Big Fella, Jack Lang, gives an eyewitness account of the last time Conservatives tried to dismantle Australia�s industrial relations system.

Politics: All God's Children
The battle for morality is not confined to Australian polittics. Michael Walzer writes on the American perspective

Economics: Spun Out
The business groups are feeling cocky. The feds have announced their IR changes, business says they don't go far enough. What a surprise, writes Neale Towart

International: Shakey Trials
Lyndy McIntyre argues the New Zealnd IR experiment provides warnings - and hope - for the Australian union movement.

Legal: Civil Distrubance
Tom Roberts argues that there is more at stake than an attack on building workers in the looming legsilation.

Review: Crash Course In Racism
Paul Haggis flick Crash suggests that when cars collide the extent of people's prejudices are revealed sans the usual veil of political correctness, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: You're Fired
New laws will leave bosses holding the whip and workers with a Raw Hide, writes resident bard David Peetz


 Beattie Dares Job Vandals

 Broken Hill Confronts "Choice"

 BHP Faces Losses

 Howard Threatens Babies

 Working Between the Flags

 Hadgkiss Makes History

 Bob The Organiser

 Johnny Packs Toothbrush

 Security Blunders to the Max

 EDI Court Out

 Feds: Do As I Say �

 Soaring Mercury Sparks Walk Off

 Unions Offer to Play Libs

 Education Stands Up To Howard Assault

 Dodgy Bosses Get a Tick

 Weight Watchers Raise Scales

 Hyundai Showdown a Riot

 Activists' What's On!


The Locker Room
Ashes to Dust
In which Phil Doyle travels to distant lands in search of a meat pie, and prepares for the joys of sleep deprivation

The Westie Wing
Ian West lists the Top Ten reasons why workers in NSW can gain some solace from having the Labor Party sitting on the Treasury benches�

The Soapbox
Dear John
In response to this year�s Federal Budget, Bishop Kevin Manning wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard

 Patriot Doug
 Remembering Workers In Cairns
 Bad Law
 Fair Go For Injured Workers
 A Question Of Choice
 Galahs Up The Cross
 National Solution
 Bomber�s Classic
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Tool Shed

The Nutty Professor

It�s time to welcome back into the Tool Shed a truly unique individual, Des Moore


He's back!

The Gilbert and Sullivan aficionado who's been suffering from relevance deprivation since we abolished child labour is back in the media again.

And, like a snake that sticks its head up when you beat the grass, it's his old bugbear of a fair and decent standard of living that has sent everyone's favourite Scrooge, Des Moore, off foaming at the mouth.

This time he is very, very cranky.

Not with working people expecting to be paid this time (although that's a part of it) but with his old mate, Johnny Howard.

As far as Des is concerned the planned changes to workplace laws don't go far enough.

Des is disappointed that they didn't bring back the Masters and Servants Act apparently.

Apparently John promised Des they would, and Des is still dopey enough to think that a Howard promise actually means anything.

According to Des it is a travesty that we are not also taking to the halt, the lame and the sick with a length of chain in an effort to encourage them back into the workforce to work for, ohhh, salt, perchance?

Apparently a freer labour market is fairer because it allows people to be forced to work for whatever the boss is prepared to dish them up, or they have the fine economists choice of slowly starving to death.

What could be fairer or more egalitatrian than starving your fellow citizens?

On planet Des, apparently fairness is something to do with beating all the poor with an equally hard stick.

Poor old Des, he makes Ghengis Khan look like a smiling Amway rep.

Des is director of the Institute for Private Enterprise, which must also double as the institute for Very Public Embarrassment.

He is upset that Howard and Andrews will still let unions exist. This is obviously some dangerous Marxist trend on the part of the Liberal Party according to our Tool of the Week.

"[They will] not cut wages, not abolish awards, not stop workers joining unions, not prevent strikes, not outlaw union agreements and not abolish the Australian Industrial Relations Commission,' says Des, who then storms off in a huff back to his Ivory Tower.

In a deft display of why no one is asking Des to solve anything more difficult that a crossword puzzle these days, Des explains that this soft effort by Howard has been forced onto him by what he describes as a "politically powerless" trade union movement.

When Gogol wrote Diary Of A Madman he may have had our Des in mind.

Des believes that workers are paid too much; the worker's, of course, not being human beings who have kids, families or need to eat and live. No, that would be investing them with a quality quite alien to Des Moore, the quality of humanity.

Their humanity may even be a part of their shared existence known as Community.

But concepts like humanity and community are foreign to Des, who doesn't particularly believe in sharing anything, especially humanity - and certainly not the nearest thing that he understands as community, profit margins.

We now look forward to Des's next foray into public life where he can advocate single mothers selling their children into slavery and the use of chain gangs for the unemployed.

What a salesman Des is. He's offering us a chance to dismantle our society, and he can't for the life of him figure out why we're not buying.


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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