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Issue No. 289 11 November 2005  

The Great Repression
In a rare outbreak of candour in Federal Parliament this week we have seen the Prime Minister admit the five-day week is going out the door and his leader of business, Tony Abbott, blow kisses across the House.


Interview: Public Defender
The CPSU's Stephen Jones has confronted the Howard Government's IR agenda at close quarters.

Legal: Craig's Story
An inquest in western NSW is a cautionary tale of the use of AWAs, writes Ian Latham

Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
The WorkChoice legislation sends Australia down the wrong economic road by smashing the instittutions that have made it strong, argues Greg Combet.

Industrial: WhatChoice?
The Howard Government has shown itself to be the master of illusion, writes Dr Anthony Forsyth

Politics: Queue Jumping
The changes to industrial laws, betray a new vision of Australian society, writes James Gallaway.

History: Iron Heel
Conservative governments using laws to take away basic civil rights. It's nothing new, writes Rowan Cahill

Economics: Waging War
When was the last time you heard an Australian politician talk about incomes policy, asks Matt Thistlethwaite

International: Under Pressure
The push for UN intervention in Burma is intensifying, following a report by Vaclav Havel and Bishop Desmond Tutu into slave labour.

Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
More and more people are meeting Billy, the hero of page 15 of the WorkChoices booklet, including our resident bard, David Peetz

Review: A Pertinent Proposition
Nick Cave's "Australian western" touches on some themes still relevant today, Julianne Taverner writes.


 Nobody Expects the Construction Inquisition

 Howard in Redundancy Raid

 States Sidestep Wage Hurdle

 Catholics Bless Day of Action

 PacNat Bids to Railroad Future

 Feds Authorise Invasion

 Howard Censors Workers

 Sol Plays Dumb Card

 Boycott Hangs Over Hardie

 Directile Dysfunction

 Pirates Face Kofi Break

 Miners Don’t Dig Safety Levy

 Keep the Spirit Alive

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Men and Women of Australia
What makes a perfect speech? Michael Fullilove has scoured Australian history to find out.

The Locker Room
The Hungry Years
Phil Doyle gets the feeling we’ve been here before

From Little Things
Paul Kelly's song about the battle for land rights misses one important character, writes Graham Ring

The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a look at Public Private Partnerships, and wonders if we should all just drink rum…

 Just AWBul
 Convict Costello
 We're Just Serfin'
 Take Warning
 Smells Familiar
 Howard's Gas
 Andrews' Operandi
 To the Shredder
 Stop Violence
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Tool Shed

The Whole Troeth

Those terrible people who don't come from good, landed families are all being paid too much, argues our Tool Of The Week


The little people were blessed with an illumination from the twin-set-and-pearls-that-took-human-form, Senator Judith Troeth, during the week.

While the good senator has mastered the art of opening a country show, and is a dab hand at cutting a ribbon, the intricacies of democracy, such as giving people an opportunity to express their viewpoint, appear to be a bit beyond her scope of work.

Chairing the of Senate's employment, workplace relations and education legislation committee, she proposed a model of "yes" and "no" cases, each nominating a panel of four experts to debate the WorkChoices package, rather than have a messy inquiry where people would be given an opportunity to drive a truck through the government's arguments - many of which stand as much chance of standing up as a two legged stool balanced on a bowling ball.

Apparently the criticism of WorkChoices has been rather tedious for Judith and this annoying democracy thingy keeps getting in the way of her families lifelong dream of re-establishing feudalism in the Wimmera.

There will be none of this silly taking of evidence from authors of the thousands of written submissions to the inquiry nonsense.

No doubt she is concerned that working people have had the temerity to express an opinion about whether or not they want laws that will enable them to be fleeced, just as the lambs are on daddy's farm.

She has also ruled out investigation of secret ballots, termination of bargaining agreements, pattern bargaining, remedies for unprotected industrial activity, strike pay, right of entry, award simplification, freedom of association and civil penalties on union officials.

None of these obviously has anything to do with industrial relations on planet Troeth.

Our Tool Of The Week represents all that is wonderful about Australia's bunyip-aristocracy, managing to encapsulate snobbery, ignorance, hard-heartedness and sheer bloody-mindedness in one fell swoop.

Judith, who put the word 'swill' in the phrase 'unrepresentative swill', also announced this week that people on award wages are being paid far too much.

"Government party senators take the view here that safety-net awards are probably too high - a matter to be addressed in the forthcoming legislation - and that this causes serious distortion in the wage structure, leading to discouragement of employment,' she said.

We'd all have a job if only we worked for food, remembering to bow politely and not get mud on the kitchen floor.

Troeth, who became a Liberal because she believes in "reward for effort" despite being a senator, passionately believes in the "strong family unit".

That is, of course, as long as that family unit isn't trying to survive on award wages. In that case, according to the good senator, the family unit can go to hell in a hand basket.

According to Troeth we should "care for those unable to look after themselves". Primarily this should take the form of not allowing them to bargain collectively, have any job security, demand decent wages if they're out-of-work or maintain employment standards for their children.

Thanks to the frank contribution of the good senator from Victoria we can now see that WorkChoices is neither. It's not about choice and it won't work.


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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