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Issue No. 283 30 September 2005  

Revenge of the Footy Dads
The release of the second wave of ACTU TV advertising last weekend continues to take the debate around industrial relations into the broader community Ė and specifically the nationís footy grounds.


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.


 Brazilians Score at Rocky

 PM Discounts Fair Go

 Centrelink Crashes Internet

 On Yer Bikes

 Road Toll Off The Rails

 Part-Timers in Bank Heist

 Itís Eight Against Eight

 OEA Says Plaque You

 Kez and Rupe Tighten Grip

 Feds Get Blank Cheque

 Rev Kev Absolves Killers

 Turning Business Upside Down

 Stink Over CountryLink Shrink

 Nurses Brush Sick Offer

 Men Make Permanent Choice

 Activist's What's 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.

 Four Cornered Rat
 Hrowadís Meixd Msesgaes
 Caveat Emptor
 Shop Front
 Petrol Price of War
 Unionist Slain
 Last Long Weekend
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Revenge of the Footy Dads

The release of the second wave of ACTU TV advertising last weekend continues to take the debate around industrial relations into the broader community Ė and specifically the nationís footy grounds.

At the heart of the ads is the plight of a footy Dad, being given no option but to trade off his weekends and regular hours, leaving his kid to kick the footy alone.

Who are the footy dads? They can be blue collar or white collar, they can even be Mums! What drives them is that they want to have a life that extends beyond the workplace.

They have built a decent job and life for themselves and want to be good parents. In coaching the local footy team, or running the organs on the sideline, they are committing to their kids and the kids of their neighbours - they are putting in 'social capital', because they know this is what community is all about.

But it is getting harder. More and more they feel themselves being squeezed between being a good worker and a good parent.

And if the Prime Minister really plans to take away their rights at work - leaving them to fight for things like penalty rates, weekend allowances and even four weeks annual leave - then things are about to get a whole lot harder.

This is a section of society that could emerge as the potent political bloc of the next few years, traditional Labor voters who, if only they were given an alternative, would come back to the fold.

In many ways they are Labor's lost generation. They voted for Hawke in the eighties because he was a good bloke and believed everyone had a fair go.

They were a bit iffy about Keating - some stuck with him because they are decent people who believe in giving indigenous Australians respect, but others thought he was pushing the globalisation a bit far, while Howard promised to slow it all down and make them feel 'comfortable and relaxed'.

They were shaken up by terrorism and more shifted to Howard in the Tampa election and, when their mortgage rates were under threat, they had no option but to keep voting for the PM.

Now the PM has the power to pursue an ideological obsession that he never even mentioned at the last election - and its these guys who will make them pay.

They don't want to be enterprise workers or small business people, their primary - aspiration is far more important - to be a good parent - and that means being an active participant in their kids' community.

The 'workers friend' has opened a can of worms, and no talk of opportunity and flexibility, no $20 million spin job, will convince the footy dads otherwise.

A dog is a dog is a dog. And this one has paws.

Peter Lewis



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