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Issue No. 273 22 July 2005  

Split Infinitives
As unions across Australia put up a united front against the Howard IR assault, events across the Pacific serve as a warning of what can happen when individuals start going one out.


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.


 Centrelink to Cheat Workers

 Foot Soldiers Get Blisters

 Feds to Lift Voting Age

 Taskforce Plastered

 Paint It Slack


 Hadgkiss in Safety Failure

 Freedom to Starve

 Police And Thieves

 Feds Make Asbestos Blue

 Scabs Farewelled

 Capital Idea Under Threat

 Masterton Homes Crumbles

 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.

 Frame Up
 Keep the Faith
 Life on a Low Wage
 Seeing the Trees For the Wood
 Carnival Comes to Town
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Tool Shed

Tool Of Fame

This week Mark Bethwaite moves from the Mosman Sporting Wall of Fame to the Tool Shed


There is always a bit of a risk in being the Prime Minister's favourite yachtsman, as Alan Bond well knows.

Mark Bethwaite; champion yachtsman, member of the Mosman Sporting Wall Of Fame, Chief Executive of Australian Business Limited, prime minister's representative on the Sydney Olympics committee and all round Tool has been gibbering like a crazed howler monkey for weeks now about what is referred to with a straight face as "reform" over at the yacht club.

His intellectual tacking manoeuvre left him on the rocks last week when he claimed that he was here to defend Christmas.

"Santa will still bring joy to children on Christmas morning," said Bethwaite in response to news that AWAs were stripping people of penalty rates for working public holidays.

Our public holidays were not under threat declared Bethwaite. Our Tool Of The Week reassured us all that, in fact, the 25th of December would still exist. It was just that we'd all be working that day on ordinary time.

Bethwaite's belief in Santa Claus comes as some relief, as it underpinned his logic that these wonderful new workplace laws are a "win, win, win" outcome.

And he's more right than he knows.

It's a win for business, business and business.

Unfortunately if you actually work for a living things may not be so wonderful, but hey, as the skipper reminds us, that's life isn't it.

"There are those who say that no employee should be worse off under any change,' says Bethwaite, who shows that he does grasp the basics of human decency. But to do that is a problem according to our Tool because to do that "institutionalises mediocrity for all".

And he should know. Mediocrity appears to be his strong suit.

"Australia has one of the most welcoming and accepting workplaces in the world and it will not change," says Bethwaite. Just which workplace this was remained unclear, but it was pretty obviously not his

And we need AWAs because "Enterprise bargaining has clearly resulted in a more harmonious workplace". Hmmm, devastating logic that.

We should be grateful that we give up the best years of our lives to keep him in yachts, after all the new laws will defend the fact that people get paid according to Bethwaite.

What exactly they will be paid remains unclear.

If one of his mates wants to pay people with a rock and a shiny thing well, why the hell not!

As he points out, "contribution above and beyond that of fellow workers should be recognised by higher remuneration, perhaps he means in money. Who knows? Sun's over the yardarm and it's time for the rum ration.

Besides, he's delivered the clinching argument that should shut up all those pesky priests who keep up that unpleasant chatter about the working poor.

"God looking down would not design a system with the complexity of that which operates in Australia."

So there you have it. Our Tool Of the Week has informed us of what god thinks, so that should finalise the matter.

Which poses the question, where did that other yachty, Alan Bond, end up?


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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Nominate a Tool!

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