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Issue No. 272 15 July 2005  

Home Ground Advantage
American pollster Vic Fingerhut has been in Australia this week with a reassuring message to the labour movement - it's OK to stand up for what you believe in - and it might even win you elections.


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.


 PM Rallies on Spin

 Crafty Boss Bytes Staff

 Andrews Faces "Thuggery" Challenge

 Delta Blues

 NRL Plays Man Not Ball

 Boeing Hits Turbulence

 Whole Truth Eludes Rev Kev

 Correct Weight Caulfield

 Business Nervous Over IR Changes

 Last Weekend Gets a Lift

 Free Pass for Death Doctors

 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.

 Do It Yourself?
 The vision thing
 True Lies
 You C.A.N. Do It
 Water Works
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NRL Plays Man Not Ball

The National Rugby League launched a vicious attack last week on the head of its players’ association, after his members called for increased funding for junior rugby league.

Rugby League Professionals Association CEO Tony Butterfield copped a battering after commissioning an independent valuation of the NRL’s secret TV rights deal with the Nine Network and Fox Sports.

The analysis by global investment bank Lazard, found the deal was at the low end of the reasonable range but appeared to ignore emerging new technologies such as broadband 3G phones.

The report also called for a proportionate increase in funding for juniors and clubs.

The increase would see grants to juniors rise from $10 million to $20 million per annum and annual grants for clubs rise from $2.5 million to 5.2 million.

"The health of rugby league is the product of a team effort between the NRL, the clubs, the players and the junior leagues," Butterfield said.

"We believe the distribution of income from the TV rights should reflect that partnership, " Butterfield said, drawing on his own experience as coach of the Dudley Magpies under-12s.

These conciliatory words drew a vicious response from the NRL, which told players to butt out of matters that did not concern them.

"Today is typical of Tony Butterfield's approach to dealing with the NRL, it is nothing more than inaccurate and mischievous public grand standing," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.

Accusing Butterfield of making a 'thinly veiled grab' at the salary cap, Gallop went on to reject the Lazard analysis as being based on the wrong figures - while refusing to make details of the deal public.

Gallop concluded his spray by asserting the RLPA had no interest in the broader debates around the game's future. "Tony is purporting to speak on behalf of the wider game from the grass roots to the clubs when of course he does not. He represents the NRL players union."

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson described the attack on a union leader as 'immature'. "Tony has legitimate right as the leader of a registered trade union to talk about the future of the game - and the NRL criticisms just show that they are an industrially immature organisation," Robertson said.

On the figures, Lazard managing director Paul Binstead noted, the biggest issue was that News Ltd was both a stakeholder and the owner and the seller of rights, with interests in both the NRL and Fox.

Without any transparency, which exists in major sports including the NFL in North America, the public has no idea what the value of the code really was.

Click here for details of the Lazard analysis at


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