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Issue No. 271 08 July 2005  

Polls Apart
The tragic bombings in London may knock industrial relations off the front pages over the next few days, but it is unlikely to end the groundswell of opposition to the Howard Government's mad grab at workers' rights.


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.


 Then There Were Three

 Dad's Choice Goes AWAL

 OEA Invokes Sgt Schultz

 CFMEU Resists Standover Tactics

 Tall Tales and Two

 Corrine Throws Stones

 Cardinal Adds Weight to Concerns

 Bosses: Unions Beat AWAs

 16 Hours to Recover Worker

 Choice Gets Confusing

 Attack Derailed In Qld

 PM Pulls Rank On Ads

 HT Lee Gravely Ill

 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.

 Don’t Call Me Customer
 Do It Yourself?
 Vale the Eight Hour Day
 The vision thing
 Campaign Pushes Right Buttons
 It’s Time to Punt the PM
 Bob Each Way
 Ads Value
 Travel Allowance?
 Hits the Mark
 Reforms not an Erosion
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Tool Shed

Hanke Panky

Fresh from his success in annihilating the Liberal Country Party in the Northern Territory, the Doctor Strangelove of the radical right turns his sights on the Howard Government.


Over the last week the mild mannered Reverend Kev Andrews has become surprisingly strident in his public statements.

The man who has all the charisma of a four-day-old omelette, but with none of the compassion, had become rather predictable. The Howard Government had began to look like Napoleon's army on its way back from Moscow, so it was decided that the barrel would have to be scraped.

Enter, stage right, our Tool Of The Week, Ian Hanke, fresh from his latest success destroying the Liberal Country Party in the Northern Territory. Now he is providing the script for the increasingly strident Andrews, and we can't be surprised - this was the man that Peter Reith outsourced his brains to during the waterfront dispute.

Our Tool Of The Week has form.

Recently, old moon face Hanke trousered $15,000 a month for what appears to be three months worth of blundering mismanagement for the Northern Territory's Liberal Country Party election campaign.

His effort ended up costing $7,500 for every seat the conservatives lost; cheap at half the price.

The problem was that Hanke had to come up with a policy - not his strong suite - policy involves thinking and cause and effect. Using Hanke as a policy adviser is about as sensible as using a Bulldozer to weed your grandmother's flowerbed.

His policy was to link NT to the national electricity grid using what would have been the world's longest extension cord.

After this went down like warm beer Ian then managed to cap that effort off by being thrown out of Darwin pub.

Do you have any idea how obnoxious you have to be before you get thrown out of a Darwin pub?

Luckily though, The Rev Kev was obviously drowning, not waving, so Mr Hanke was dispatched, poste haste, to Canberra to save the Liberal Party from destruction.

The result was a drop in the Prime Minister's popularity of ten percent as Ian started helping Kev sell his message on how getting the sack and having your pay cut was a good thing.

With friends like Ian Hanke who needs consultants.

Who best to comment on the needs and situation of working Australians than somebody who is taking home a taxpayer funded package that works out just under four grand a week. Here is a man who can empathise with the needs of casual and part time retail and hospitality workers.

Of course, when it comes to being a public servant, Hanke is neither.

Ian's doublespeak sprung to the fore as he explained that Liberal policy was Labor policy, down was up and that the other mob were telling bigger lies than ours. Blah, blah, blah.

There will be plenty more of it over the forward months given old Hanke's form.

First we'll hear that it's all lies, that the ACTU can't be trusted. That these laws will bring about a golden age of prosperity and happiness. The problem is that Australian workers have been fed this line for over a decade now and the end result is we're working harder than ever with less job security, into debt up the eyebrows just to stay afloat. People won't buy that one.

Next we'll hear how opponents are doom and gloom meisters and naysayers. How we're all Chicken Littles following on from the GST experiment. Well, the GST bedded down because it was the shop's problem in the end, not ours. And if Ian thinks the GST is popular he may discover it is merely accepted, in much the same way as cancer is accepted, or diphtheria. It doesn't mean anyone particularly wants it.

Then we'll hear how opponents to the change are dinosaurs who are stuck in the past, when Ian himself is trying to take us back to the Golden Age of the Lazzais Faire Victorian era. Anyone with a remote understanding of history will tell you why that particular age of enlightenment was abandoned.

We'll also hear how the ALP is being dictated to by its union masters. Given that defending rights at work is an electoral winner, and the main point of difference between the major parties, Ian will be doing the ALP the same service he did in Darwin.

Finally we'll hear what corrupt and dangerous people trade unionists are and how the Rev Kev and Brother Howard are the workers friend, protecting them from evil nurses, cleaners, bus drivers, clerks, call centre workers, bar staff, checkout operators, apprentices, well diggers and chicken sexers.

Poor old Ian doesn't realise we've heard it all before, that the eighties ended fifteen years ago and the union movement has moved more with society than the ideologues in the Liberal Party have.

This is the sort of thing that happens when you earn nearly four thousand dollars a week rubbing shoulders with the big end of town. You lose the plot. Here's a hint Ian. It's the workplace, stupid.

Of course, we could hear a positive campaign, but thinking of things that are good for society is not Hanke's forte. And these laws aren't good for society.

Instead he can tell us how comfortable the Tool Shed is.


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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