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  Issue No 27 Official Organ of LaborNet 20 August 1999  





Australia's Most Earnest

Strewth magazine scours the cultural landscape for its inaugural Earnest Bastard of the Year Award.

Bored to bloody tears of rich lists, A-lists, door lists, in lists, out lists? Un-intrigued by Who magazine's "most intriguing people". Find the "twenty most beautiful people" an ugly sight? Find the publicity shots accompanying the Herald's six young novelists of the year (young?) even uglier? Want an awards night where award winners don't turn up and don't give speeches? Well join Strewth!'s hunt for Australia's Most Earnest. Why be jealous of BRW's biggest earners when you can cringe at Strewth!'s most earnest?

The mood of Sydney was set early - by the 'mockers of Botany Bay' - the city's convict founders. They had little time for the earnest prayers offered up for their deliverance and reform, and who can blame them. In those days the most earnest bloke around was the Reverend Samuel Marsden, the famous flogging parson, who made sure a sanctimonious sermon came with a damned good whipping. The cat-o'-nine tails aside, not much has changed. Pumped-up, parsimonious tub thumpers prowl the land pontificating about the evils of society, tearing metaphorical strips off their poor unfortunate congregation - Us!

Through a Chardonnay glass darkly the dinner party set fume about drugs, greenhouse emissions, cyber-porn, lazy trade unionists, screen violence, moral collapse, fatty food, homosexuality, American TV shows, women, sport, schools, lack of sex, too much sex, sex with the wrong people, art, the republic, Bob Ellis and, of course, religion.

But it's not the causes and issues Strewth! objects to, but the humourless, holier-than-thou, poker-faced righteousness of the hectoring. We want to shame the humourless. Don't protest to us about what zany funsters you are in the privacy of a publicly funded long lunch. We don't care if a John Pilger BBQ descends into games of flaming arseholes and up-side down skulls. We don't give a shit if a Doogue dinner party in Balmoral ends up in a Catholic version of nude Yahtzee with Geraldine leading the charge in wide-mouthing schooner glasses. We were not invited. It's their public personas we have to put up with. Being so serious, so often, in public makes them a burden to society. In the interests of public safety we think it's time the earnest were outed. Read on as Strewth! exposes Australia's Most Earnest.

The following are nomination for Strewth!'s "Most Earnest Awards". There can only be one winner, and that person will see their name enter the vernacular as the new slang term for 'earnest bastard'!

The nominations are...


Dick Smith - Takes all the fun out of being a millionaire. Ever wondered why all those helicopter trips are done solo?

John Hewson - Baptist, econometrician and early rising jogger.

Poppy King - Smudges her make-up with crocodile tears. Accepted Young Australian of the Year Award.


Alan Jones - Sleeps 3 hours a night but never wakes up. Manages to qualify despite being unintentionally funny. Unlike Akerman and Zemanek, actually believes what he says.

Kerry O'Brien - The autocue cracks more gags and has a less repetitive interviewing technique. Would look for gravity in the space shuttle. Thinks he speaks with authority. Appeared in The Good Weekend's "The Two of Us".

Anne Summers - They say by thirty you get the face you deserve - no-one gives better furrowed brow.

Geraldine Doogue - Holy hockeysticks! We're praying for a miraculous Assumption. Bon Voyage!

Paul Sheehan - "I've been published in the New Yorker".

Quentin Dempster - turned the term "dobber" into "whistleblower".


Brian Harradine - Wants the species to multiply without dirty, explicit sex.

Gareth Evans - Anyone see him dance in Soweto or at the True Believers Ball? Now there's a man who hasn't been to a drunken party for years.

Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans - Stopped blue collar workers at Water Board parties from enjoying a smoko. Funny how these guys never want to ban Chardonnay. Democrat.

Natasha Stott Despoja - Youth is wasted on the ambitious. Democrat.

Social Affairs

Adele Horin - The Sydney Morning Herald's atrocity aunt. A righteous connoisseur of the downtrodden. Owner of Australia's most earnest dinkus.

Bettina Arndt - Orgasm was not meant to be easy. From sexpert to concerned mother who abhors lesbian teachers.

Hugh Mackay - Turns a toothpaste survey into the meaning of life out of a lower North Shore focus group.


Dr Helen Caldicott - Missile envy with an irony bypass.

Dr Bob Brown - Crusades and drones in boats and anoraks.

Dr Peter Singer - Wears canvas shoes.

Peter Garrett - Greenie. Christian. NDP. Diesel and Bulldust. Rock star evangelist. As Frank Zappa said "Shut Up and Play Your Guitar".

Lynda Stoner and Peter Sumner - cute and cuddly 80's celebrities with a cause.

Documentary makers

John Pilger - international passport to misery. White man's burden. Irons frown and fatigues on in the morning. Has had his irony substituted by conspiracy. Took Bob Ellis seriously enough to sue him.

Jenny Brockie - Campaigned against Darling Harbour Sega World and the playing of Cat Stevens' songs on 2BL. While on radio always telling us to "do drive carefully on the roads out there". Thanks mum.

David Goldie - Won a Walkley out of homeless kids but did he ever let them stay the night? Titillated Pymble and hit the top through those on the bottom.


Jocelyn Scutt - Feminist jurisprudence expert who refused to read Marx at university on spurious PC grounds. Does not own a TV.

Robert Manne - Mr Could-it-happen-here? Genuinely concerned about the influence of Helen Demidenko.

Sheila Jeffries - Unpenetrative thinker. Impenetrable text.

Humphrey McQueen - Doesn't own a TV. Is worried about gang violence in Manuka.

The Arts

The woman who made "The Well" - For wasting taxpayers money foistering girlie, privileged Darlinghurst angst on a clearly bored world.

John Polson - Believes he is the buttress of the "Independent film industry" when he's nothing more then a self-indulgent slide night proprietor.

John Bell - Knows every Shakespeare quote except the one warning about the dangers of lean and callow men.

Whoever hosts The Arts Show on ABC TV - For taking every wanker in Australia seriously.

John McDonald - His journo mates think he'll expose the nakedness of contemporary installation wankers, but listen to the righteous clang as his mind snaps shut.

The Law

Michael Kirby - Caught working on Christmas day.

Group Award

Friends of the ABC - These commandos in cardigans don't realise what a complacent bureaucratic junket they're defending.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Organising Committee - Get the name wrong and you won't get into their party. Remember when sex was ambiguous and dangerous and not something to be proud about?

No Aircraft Noise Party - Weekends weren't meant to be spent letterboxing and whingeing.

International Award

Noam Chomsky - Stars in an American film about American films brainwashing us.

Salman Rushdie - "Why don't young people today make great music like we did in the 1960s?"

Ken Starr - Seriously believed the public would give a shit about Clinton getting a blowjob.

Winner to be announced in next issue of Strewth!.

Strewth is now on sale in The Union Shop, 377 Sussex Street


*    Visit Strewth

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 27 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Stepping Up To The Plate
ACTU secretary-in-waiting Greg Combet talks about his report on international trade union trends and the need to adapt for the future.
*  Work/Time/Life: The Good Type of Wharf Security
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has locked in better job security for casuals as part of its collective agreement with P&O Ports.
*  International: Venezuela Warned By Global Labour Group
Venezuela's new Constituent Assembly has drafted a decree providing for the dissolution of the country's national trade union organisation, the CTV.
*  Legal: Politically Motivated Case Against Unionist Fails
A politically motivated extortion case against Eric Wicker, a long-time trade unionist on the Port Kembla waterfront has failed.
*  Republic: Direct Election Republicans who say YES � and MORE!
Despairing at the sight of Ted Mack and Phil Cleary fronting for Kerry Jones and the Australians for A Constitutional Monarchy? Appalled at the disastrous strategy and paralysis of the Australian Republican Movement? A significant group of Republicans has an answer for you!
*  Unions: Technology for the Times
New technology offers exciting opportunities which help union growth, according to this extract from Unions@Work.
*  History: Australian Unions and Industrial Action 1788-1900
A project is under way to compile a comprehensive record of unions, informal worker organisation and strikes from the period of European settlement to 1900 using a specially designed computer database.
*  Review: Stage Left! - Workers Theatre Hits the Mark
'Rare' is the word on the Melbourne Workers Theatre production, 'Who's Afraid of the Working Class?' currently touring the eastern states of Australia.
*  Satire: Australia's Most Earnest
Strewth magazine scours the cultural landscape for its inaugural Earnest Bastard of the Year Award.

»  Combet�s Call - Double Effort Needed Now
»  Rally or Surf Party? It�s the Workers� Call
»  Vizard Agenda Analysed
»  Truckies Face Another Oakdale
»  Former Union Leader to Investigate SOCOG Uniforms
»  Second Steggles Mum Wins Job Back
»  Strip Leads to Fair Wear Win
»  Rail Security: Scully Cuts Staff as Assaults Rise
»  Civil Libertarian Support Sought Against "Big Brother"
»  Dita Sari takes Sydney by Storm.

»  Guest Report
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Piers Watch

Letters to the editor
»  Thanks for Einstein
»  A Non-Unionist's Sympathy
»  A Mexican on Piers
»  Group Homes Claims Disputed
»  Rallying Cries
»  Security Overload

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