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Issue No. 270 01 July 2005  

After the Action
After a National Week of Action that has had everything from mass rallies in all capital cities to IR chat rooms opening on the Vogue Magazine website it’s fair to say that the first objective of this campaign – to raise public awareness – has been achieved.


Interview: Battle Stations
Opposition leader Kim Beazley says he's ready to fight for workers right. But come July 1, he'll have to be fighting by different rules.

Unions: The Workers, United
It was a group of rank and filers who took centre stage when workers rallied in Sydney's Town Hall, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: The Lost Weekend
The ALP had a hot date, they had arranged to meet on the Town Hall steps, and Phil Doyle was there.

Industrial: Truth or Dare
Seventeen ivory towered academics upset those who know what is best for us last week.

History: A Class Act
After reading a new book on class in Australia, Neale Towart is left wondering if it is possible to tie the term down.

Economics: The Numbers Game
Political economist Frank Stilwell offers a beginners guide to understanding budgets

International: Blonde Ambition
Sweden can be an inspiration to labour movements the world over, as it has had community unionism for over 100 years, creating a vibrant caring society, rather than a "productive" lean economy.

Training: The Trade Off
Next time you go looking for a skilled tradesman and can’t find one, blame an economist, writes John Sutton.

Review: Bore of the Worlds
An invincible enemy has people turning against one another as they fight for survival – its not just an eerie view of John Howard’s ideal workplace, writes Nathan Brown.

Poetry: The Beaters Medley
In solidarity with the workers of Australia, Sir Paul McCartney (with inspiration from his old friend John Lennon) has joined the Workers Online resident bard David Peetz to pen some hits about the government's proposed industrial relations revolution.


 Don't Get Angry, Get Organised

 Feds Threaten Hardie Battlers

 Beasts of Bourbon Play Dog

 Churches on Workplace Mission

 Unions Are The New Black

 Muster Has Bosses in Fluster

 Workers Flood to Protests

 Official: Libs Don’t Know Own Laws

 Schools Out For Uni Bosses

 IR Campaign Taxing Andrews

 Air Safety at Risk

 Carr Runs Over Lib Laws

 Aga Khan Workers Gaoled

 Activists Whats On!


The Soapbox
State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson lifts the lid on ‘The Nine Myths of Modern Unionism’

The Locker Room
Wrist Action
Phil Doyle trawls the murky depths of tawdry sleaze, and discovers Rugby is behind it all.

To Hew The Coal That Lies Below
Phil Doyle reviews Australia's first coal mining novel, Black Diamonds and Dust.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite State MP, Ian West, reports from Macquarie Street that the Premier is all the way with a State Commission.

 Workers Give In FNQ
 Power and the Passion
 Mao and Then
 The Third Way Hits A Dead End
 Unfair For All
 What Is To Be Done?
 Black Hawk Up
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Tool Shed

Yesterday’s Tool

The fallen King of Bogan-Ville, the Plucked Rooster, the Lord of the Shed returns to his spiritual home this week after committing the political equivalent of farting in a lift.


It was the week that the labour movement was to ramp up its defence of working rights for the Australian people; a week when the media was poised to focus on the impact of undiluted power for the Howard Government; a week when the momentum created by the union movement could finally be harnessed by the ALP.

At least that was what it was supposed to be. Until Mark Latham let spray at the Party that had made him everything he was , before he imploded in a cloud of self-obsession, blaming everyone but himself for his failure to win the last election.

Press conferences called to highlight the attack on workers rights have been hijacked by the Latham story all week. When Kim Beazley meets childcare workers to talk about the attack on the minimum wage, the story is Latham. When Bob Carr vows to protect the award rights of NSW public servants, the story is Latham. He's been stealing oxygen our all week - the ultimate revenge for a leader who never much cared for the union movement.

Was the timing of this biography deliberate? In fairness, probably not; but the statements he shared were calculated to undermine the Beazley leadership a time when Blind Freddy could tell the movement would be needing all the unity it could muster

And this is the point that seems to have been missed this well: Mark Latham's failure to hold the Senate is the very reason working people and the union movement are in the firing line today. That his inability to accept this failure has undermined the union's Week of Action means that this sorry spectacle is not just his tragedy, it's ours as well. It was the act of a B-grade arsehole

Of course, this is just the first act of the Latham retrospective - his personal diaries are still to come and we're already taking bets about who will cop the vitriol.

Which reminds me of my own run-in with Mark, at a Labor Party Conference a few years ago. Long-term Workers Online readers may remember his last visit to the Shed, after releasing an 'idea's paper' speculating that the stairway to nirvana for workers was, well, speculation. It gave rise to this missive - - that I'm still rather proud of.

Only problem was Tony Abbott liked it too and next thing I knew he was reading it onto Hansard. This was not the idea and I had wanted to square up to Mark and apologise for letting thing get out of hand. Next thing I new I was in the middle of a verbal barrage, of an intensity I had never experienced before. I can't remember the exact words but the parting shot was along the lines of - "You are the biggest rat in the labour movement. Go on, fark off!" I can only repay the compliment with interest.


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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