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Issue No. 268 17 June 2005  

Courting Public Opinion
This weekend marks a significant step forward in the evolution of union campaigning, with the launch of $8 million in advertising to hit the Howard Government where it hurts – in the lounge rooms of middle Australia.


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


 Insults Hertz

 Andrews Bends Over for Big End

 Boeing, Boeing Gone

 Cobb & Co Punt Parkes

 Corporates Arm Firing Squad

 Quad Gets the Brush

 Practical Joke Costs Police

 Unions Target Soap and Grunt

 US Backs Terrorists

 Royalty Held Hostage in WA

 Bad News Rising On AWAs

 Workers Exercise Choice

 Howard Scores Own Goal

 RailCorp Shocker

 Activists Whats 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

 Wandering In The Wilderness
 Once Upon A Time In America
 The Truth Is Out There
 History Repeats
 Cash Cow On Private Tax Farm
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Tool Shed

The $50 Million Man

That cheerful barrel of laughs from the finance sector, David Murray waves goodbye to us this week, and we wave goodbye to $50 million.


In his tenure as head honcho of what was once the labour movement's pride and joy, David Murray managed to steer the Commonwealth bank out of the hands of the many and into the hands of a few.

The departing Commonwealth Bank CEO managed to turn the people's bank into the person's bank, with our Tool Of The Week being that person.

A less discerning person would recognise this sort of theft for what it is. In the old days people used to rob banks; under Murray this transaction was reversed.

David has taken full advantage of the Not Nailed Down Act during his time at the helm of an organisation that he moulded in his image, making Attilla the Hun look humane and personable by comparison.

During the ravages of the restructuring he so wholeheartedly supported, our Tool Of The Week was often to be seen on the economic battlefield, rolling the corpses over and pocketing anything shiny.

He trousered the assets of anything with the word state in it. The NSW State Bank, the State Savings Bank of Victoria. For a while there the only state he didn't own was a state of excitement.

Murray has his $50 million payout to keep him company in the Tool Shed.

What an extraordinarily talented man is David Murray that he is recognised with a payout of such magnitude.

What wondrous life saving, socially useful and community spirited contribution has David made that he shall be adjudged to be deserving of fifty million smackeroos?

Well, it should be said from the start that you'd have to work very hard to bugger up the Commonwealth bank, and, for forty years, he did.

Many of us will remember a Commonwealth bank that had the common touch, looking after ordinary people who don't think it's possible to accept $50 million for sitting on your fat arse and still show your face in public. It was a bank that underwrote the dreams of working families. It was a symbol of staid fiduciary integrity.

The Commonwealth bank is now none of the three.

His $50 million works out at around $3333.33 for every person he sacked along the way, or $83,333.33 for each branch he shut down. Cheap at half the price.

In the meantime a few privileged customers and even more privileged shareholders have benefited. Many small businesses, working people and farmers have been bent over the table and been given a solid lesson in free market forces.

David Murray is about as cheerful as a bushfire on Christmas day. The pity is that he decided to spend forty years inflicting that arrogant misery on the rest of us.

The greatest regret we can have of his retirement is that it didn't come sooner.

It is forty years too late.


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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