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Issue No. 279 02 September 2005  

Middle Australia
The Prime Minister rarely responds directly to criticism, so when he rushed out a media release rebutting an ACIRRT analysis of wages data this week, it was clear that they had a hit a raw nerve.


Interview: Polar Eclipse
Academic David McKnight challenges some sacred cows in his new book "Beyond Left and Right".

Industrial: Wrong Turn
Radical labour reform is on the horizon but some workers, like Sydney bus driver Yvonne Carson, have seen it all before, writes Jim Marr.

Unions: Star Support
It wasn't just families who backed workers' rights at The Last Weekend, but a bunch of musicians who set the tone, writes Chrissy Layton.

Workplace: Checked Out
Glenda Kwek asks you to consider the plight of the retail worker, and shares some of her experiences

Economics: Sold Out
The Future Fund and industrial relations reform are favourite projects of the PM and the Treasurer. Both are speculations on the future and the only guarantee with them is that you will be worse off, writes Neale Towart.

Politics: Green Banned
The impact of new building industry laws wonít be confined to one industry, writes CFMEU national secretary John Sutton.

History: Potted History
Lithgow is a place with a proud history as a union town. The origins of broader community solidarity lie in the early industrial development of the town and the development of unions. The Lithgow Pottery dispute of 1890 was a key event.

International: Curtain Call
The curtains have opened for East Timorís young theatre performers, thanks to a Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA project.

Review: Little Fish
At last! An Aussie film with substance, suspense and a serious dose of reality, writes Lucy Muirhead

Poetry: Slug A Worker
In a shock development, the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, gave a ringing endorsement to the poetry pages of Workers Online, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Trucks Run Down Mums

 Boom! Biff! Itís Howard Unplugged

 Fun Guy Spreads Fertiliser

 Doors Close on Battered Mums

 Bing Lee Peddles Rubbish

 Bless This Bus

 High Court: Ads Do Kremlin Proud

 Families Water Win

 Tesltra Cuts Get Poor Reception

 Vegetable Campaign Sprouts

 Check Work/Family Balance Here

 Tim Wins For Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA

 Activists Whatís On!


The Soapbox
Families First
New Senator Stephen Fielding turned a few heads with his Maiden Speech to Parliament.

The Locker Room
The New World Order
Phil Doyle declares himself unavailable for the fifth and deciding test.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, reports from the NSW Government's Safety Summit

On The Bus
A bright orange bus travelling the state has become the focus of the campaign against federal IR changes. Nathan Brown was on board.

 Care Confusion
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Tool Shed

Junior Tool

The famous political surname of Hawke enters the Tool Shed at a tender age.


One of the defining moments of political journalism in this country was when Richard Carleton turned to the then opposition leader and asked "blood on your hands Mr Hawke?"

It was a question that reverberated around the nation that had eerie parallels this week when another opponent of Malcolm Fraser made headlines.

Even as the headlines made headlines, a shining new Tool emerged on the Australian political landscape as the hitherto unknown Alex Hawke stood up and made a right goose of himself by taking out a political leader, which was unfortunately, or fortunately if you're a public servant, his own.

While many residents in the Tool Shed over the years have given sometimes decades of effort and purpose towards becoming a Tool, our Tool Of The Week has emerged like a rising star, almost as forgettable as the latest Australian idol, but with bad hair and sans the teeth.

This gormless youth has taken it upon himself to correct the error of everyone else's ways but his own; demonstrating a style and a diligence that can only be compared to the Simpsons' Smithers.

(The NSW Liberal party is getting more and more like the Simpsons; they even have a Ned Flanders)

Our staunch Monarchist certainly likes his Queens by all accounts, so it comes a surprise that he would let the idle brashness of youth lead him to think that disseminating information about certain persons that other people may or may not find useful and/or interesting - or evenm palatable.

Being a boy who likes to sing along at Hillsong, you'd think he'd know that bit of the Gospel of saint Matthew that refers to living by the sword.

Alas, like reality, this information appears to have flown blissfully over his head.

No, the tragic John Brogden said that Alex Hawke needed to have a good hard look at himself, which is not a pretty thought, but the chances of that are about three fifths of Bronwyn Bishops IQ, which is to say, nada.

No, oblique little Alex will go on in life blissfully unaware of his own inadequacies, or even the pathos he engenders, which is to be expected given that one of his hobbies is learning how to kill people.

Brogden was right to refer to him as the "Clown of the Liberal party", only no one's laughing at Alex's joke anymore.

Brogden was a sexist, racist fool who showed why good governance and a professional political class go together like fish heads and ice cream.

But even his effort paled into pathos earlier in the week, while Alex continues on his dream of privatising the ABC, hanging out at handgun toting branch meetings up in the hills, expelling Malcolm Fraser from the Liberal Party and generally being the ideological equivalent of a dull witted, self obsessed dork.

In the wake of Brogden's behaviour it comes as little surprise that the heir apparent for the "Rabid Rottweiler Right", as they are affectionately known, is no more a fan of mail order brides than the last klutz who led the incredible shrinking party.

So we are left with this moral pygmy as the rising star of the lunar right and their dream of a scorched earth Australia, and the best defence of their position is not to be found in the works of John Stuart Mill or Edmund Burke, but rather in oscar wilde and the love of a good titillating gossip.

This little merkin should scurry back to the school playground where he belongs before he does himself a damage, but for his own safety little Alex Hawke can spend a week in the Tool Shed writing out a thoiusand times "I will not be a self obsessed little prat who thinks he can tell everyone else what is good for them while being a screaming hypocrite myself".


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!

View our Gallery of Tools

Nominate a Tool!

Your Name:
Your Email Address:
Your Country: Your State:
The Tool you wish to nominate:
Type why you think this person should be Tool of the Week here:


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