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Issue No. 286 21 October 2005  

Lord of the Lobster Legs
It was probably only shame that prompted the Prime Minister to drag himself away from a $250 per head fundraiser to meet with a group of emergency workers in Wollongong this week. But, this in itself may be a development.


Interview: Under Fire
Michael Crosby outlines his agenda to save the movement – and explains why Australians have nothing to fear from the SEIU.

Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Wal King, Allan Moss, Roger Corbett, Chip Goodyear, Michael Chaney and David Murray have lots in common, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: Un-Australian
Labour lawyer Clive Thompson argues the changes to IR are fundamentally at odds with the national tradition of consesensus.

Economics: The Common Wealth
As the policy wonks debate the future of our cities, Neale Towart mounts a simple argument: It’s the real people in a society, stupid

History: Walking for Justice
The Eight Hour Day, a very Australian celebration, had its origins in New Zealand it seems, writes Neale Towart.

International: Deja Vu
A group of trade unions have walked away from America's peak council, again. Labourstart's Eric Lee was there.

Legal: The Rights Stuff
Terror laws have sparked a fresh debate on a Bill of Rights - and workers have a bigger stake than ever before, writes Rachael Osman-Chin.

Review: That Cinderella Fella
Russell trades the phone for mitts in an inspiring cinematic slug-fest. Nathan Brown is ringside

Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
Mel Cheal asks who Howard thinks he is kidding to the tune of the ‘Dad’s Army’ theme song.


 Family Grieves an Enterprise Worker

 All Quiet in Dandenong

 Hotline Gets Wires Crossed

 High Flyer Crashes Families

 Bolt Strikes Lecturer

 Good Heavens - Della Plays Santa

 Maori Take Challenge to Canberra

 Drips Fail Water Test

 Hardie Shuts the Door

 Hadgkiss Threatens Protesters

 Army Fires Salvo

 The Munro Doctrine

 IR Sparks Emergency Call

 Tassie Jobs Hit By Truck

 Canberra Coy on Promised Statements

 Inquiry to Speak No Evil

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
No Place For A Woman!
Doreen Borrow spoke to the Public Service Association’s women’s conference in September about her experiences of working life that span seven decades.

North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Locker Room
In which Whatsisname slams the recent poor form of Thingummyjig.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West MLC, gets all casual in his latest missive from the Bear Pit.

 Sacking For Dummies
 DIY Tool
 Thus Spake Sydney Uni
 Morgan’s Way
 Vote 1 Dictator
 Howard’s Choice
 Buying peace Of Mind
 Coolies Bullish
 Unfair ads
 Rev Kev Speaks
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Tool Shed

$8.4 Million Dollar Tool

Humble grocer Roger Corbett believes that we all need to tighten our belts. Well, when he says “we” he doesn't necessarily mean him.


It has come to the attention of Woolworth's CEO Roger Corbett that shareholders are being gouged unmercifully by this newly discovered phenomenon called an employee.

It appears that these employees - who work doing all the mundane sorts of things involved in running a store, such as operating a checkout or stacking shelves - are actually expecting to be paid in cash for the work that they perform.

This will not do. The money they are defrauding from Woolworth's could actually be spent on dividends to those powerhouse scions of the economic miracle that is Australia, the shareholder.

Without shareholders it is hard to imagine the sun coming up, or even a reason for existence.

The shareholder is the wisest, most acute of minds. Using that never failing tool, the market, to allocate resources in such a manner that they are distributed efficiently.

It is the shareholders that decided that Roger Corbett is worth $8.4million a year.

This is another amazing miracle of the Australian Economy. The other being the peyote buttons the Reserve Bank must be popping if they think that borrowing $1.50 for every dollar you earn is sane and rational.

This economic miracle is why someone who, as we discovered in Workers Online 260, doesn't even know what a truck is, can earn a seven figure sum while appearing to struggle to understand which direction his arse is pointing in.

What is even more disconcerting is that this guy wants to sign individual contracts with teenagers as young as 15. There's a word for that sort of behaviour, and it's not pleasant.

Meanwhile "Uncle" Roger, when not locking himself away with teenage kiddies, seems to think that his ability to pay people in a rock and a shiny thing will enhance the economy.

This sort of reckless intellectual adventurism is not surprising, coming as it does from someone who affected surprise that rising petrol prices have an affect on the economy.

Then again, as we already know, transport is not Corbett's strong suite. He has many truck drivers. Raking it in at $2000 an hour he can afford to lose a few along the way. So it helps if they're on individual contracts. Well, it makes sense on planet Corbett.

Neither is retail acumen his intellectual specialty by all accounts either. Or, for that matter, remembering to put his pants on before his shoes.

If this keeps up we can expect the sort of mental athleticism that will leave our Tool Of the Week dribbling from both sides of his mouth.

The love that weirdos like Roger Corbett has for John Howard's new workplace terror laws probably goes some way to explaining why it's about as popular as Monday.

But meanwhile, on planet Corbett, life carries on at $2000 an hour, which is why petrol hitting $1.40 a litre doesn't bother him. But for those of us in the real world, it goes some way to explaining why you can't find a piece of fruit in Woolworth's that tastes any different to the box that it came in; or why Einstein's like Roger Corbett are the best argument for regulating the workforce we have - starting with executive salaries.


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.


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