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Issue No. 277 19 August 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Weasel Words
We are living in an era where words are not always as they seem, and where language is used to shape the world rather than just describe it.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: On Holiday
Historian Richard White looks back on the Aussie vacation - and finds a way of life is under threat.,

Unions: One Day Longer
Nathan Brown travels to the Boeing picket line and find a group of workers with a steely determination to stick together.

Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Jim Marr plays the Howard Government's industrial relations spin job on its merits.

Politics: Spun Out
Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising, according to Graeme Orr and Joo-Cheong Tham

Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
Evan Jones explains how the way we purchase alcolohol reflects the type of economy we live in.

History: Taking a Stand
Neale Towart looks at two books that chronicle how to build community support against social injustice.

International: The Split
Amanda Tattersal outsider's account of an insider's shake-out at the AFL-CIO Convention 2005

Legal: Pushing the Friendship
George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme

Poetry: Simple Subtractions
The latest blitz of taxpayer-funded advertising has revealed a crisis of arithmetic in government ranks has moved resident bard David Peetz to prose.

Review: Sydney Trashed
Sydney band SC Trash are on a mission to give new life to folk and country music – and the politics of common sense. Nathan Brown had a beer with them

N E W S

 AWAs Bully the Sisters

 Busted: Howard's 14 Percent Furphy

 Top End of Town to Write IR Laws

 New Laws Make Green Bans History

 Hardies Dodges Responsibility

 Blokes Wouldn’t Cop Child Care Wages

 MPs Duck As Unions Hit the Road

 Profits Do Not Mean Security

 Dodgy Wagons Rolling In

 Telstra: Death By 1,000 Cuts

 Andrews Shafts Employee Safety

 Indon Rail Workers Roll Paycut Plan

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, goes away for a couple of weeks and look what happens…

The Soapbox
The Last Weekend
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

The Locker Room
A Concept Is Born
In which Phil Doyle helps the proponents of the vision thing across the road.

International
Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

Postcard
London Post
During his recent stay in London IEU industrial officer John Shapiro was living only a few hundred metres from the site of one of the bomb blasts.

L E T T E R S
 Capital Terror
 Think of the Kids
 Let’s Talk
 Stupid Sale
 The Meal
 Stand Your Ground
 Convenient Flagellation
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

Donde Esta Las Dialtone?


The man who is making homing pigeons look attractive takes up residence in the Tool Shed.

*****

You gotta hand it to the latest carpetbagger to stroll in from headquarters with dollar signs in his eyes.

Sol Trujillo isn't your average Johnny come lately set to take advantage of the Howard Government's Not Nailed Down policy.

No, Sol and his happy band of Amigos, are just the sort of fun loving guys with an instinctive empathy for the needs of a disparate national infrastructure imposed on a nation the size of the continental United States, with about 8% of the population.

Now most people would think that, given the dynamics of the infrastructure are so different, radically different approaches would be needed to ensure an adequate level of service was maintained across the network.

Unfortunately this assumes two things:

Firstly, that Telstra is about service delivery for customers. Secondly, that Telstra is a telecommunications network.

It is best understood by familiarising oneself with the following three principles when discussing the appropriate ownership of Telstra or telecommunications infrastructure with anyone within a treasurer' handshake's distance from our humble Telstra CEO.

1. Telstra is a bloody great pile of cash for a desperate pork-barrelling government.

2. Telstra is a bloody great pile of cash for a desperate pork-barrelling government.

3. Telstra is a bloody great pile of cash for a desperate pork-barrelling government.

Afterwards, check you still have your wallet and watch.

No wonder they had to find a used phone salesman from Amarillo to execute this detailed policy.

In order to understand the mind of a man who looks suspiciously familiar, we need to understand that Sol knows a lot about milking dosh out of Telcos, and bugger all about the Realpolitik of telephone services in this country.

The man is either barking mad, or just nuts, to suggest that Telstra, who have shown all the corporate responsibility of a category five cyclone, should be less regulated than it is.

What does he want next? For Telstra to be freed from its shackles and be allowed to enter people's homes armed with nothing but a shotgun and a sports bag.

You wouldn't trust the senior management of Telstra with a baby's rattle, and it is into this milieu that Sol fits nicely.

Sol, who is never seen in the same place at the same time as Saddam Hussain, is now charged with the organised theft that is privatisation.

It's a bit harder this time round, as some people got a good identikit of the guy wearing the balaclava during the T2 sale, and he looked remarkably like Peter Costello, so jovial Sol was ushered in as the new front of house guy for selling the Australian public the ideological equivalent of a steaming pile of rotten fish guts.

The buffoon's buffoon took to his task with an alacrity not seen since Gerald Ford tripped down the steps of the White House on Inauguration Day.

This is the genius that has worked out that it is imperative that the half-public carrier spends $100 million in order to sack 1,000 workers.

This, at a time when there is apparently no money in the till to get a standard broadband service a few kilometres from the GPO of any capital city you'd care to mention.

Then, while rifling through some old lady's purse, Sol declares that this is all about focussing on the customer.

The absurdity of the situation was highlighted when a hapless Trujillo started to throw his weight around only to get king hit by some likely lad from western Queensland called Barnaby.

Since then Barnaby has done the triple backflip with pike, taken the cloth and joined Sol at the great altar of the free market, and now we will all now live happily ever after just so long as we don't need a dialtone.

In years to come when people ask how did Australia end up with a third world infrastructure, the beaming face of the thinking person's Cheech Marin, Sol Trujillo, will come flooding back to haunt us.



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