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Issue No. 290 18 November 2005  

The Long March
Half a million Australian workers turn out for the largest industrial protests the nation has ever seen, an old style symbol of resistance linked by new world technology, opposing laws from another galaxy.


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.


 Aussies Shrug Off Threats

 PM Executes Back Flip

 National Rally Boosts Local Action

 Restaurateurs Do a Runner

 St Hilliers No Angels

 Penalties Frozen on Sundaes

 Slammer Threat for Operators

 Sunday Light on IR Shadows

 Sol Dials Up 12,000 Scalps

 Boss Likes Women 'Work-Hardened'

 Bread Winner on $9 an Hour

 King Goes the Gouge

 Jo Jacks Up

 Currawong Funds for IR Battle

 Howard Joins IR Rogues

 Arnie Terminated

 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…

 Driven to despair
 What lucky country
 Swimming with Sharks
 Save Our Culture
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Tool Shed

Left Right Out

This week the Tool Shed discovers someone to the left of Attila the Hun


With comrade Murdoch in the country The Australian has been leaving no stone un-thrown in demonstrating a fine sense of balance in its commentary and reportage.

No doubt the Sun King would have been mightily pleased by the latest set of lips to grace his profundity in the form of our Tool Of The Week, James McConvill.

James, who in his spare times advocates ripping wings off flies and limbs of anyone who may or may not be a terrorist, announced to the nation that his politics tends to the left.

This is self evident, given his adherence to those great left wing principles; individualism, the free-market, starving workers and torture.

Being such a rabid socialist McConvill is puzzled as to why workers across the country are not rapturously embracing the new WorkChoices legislation as labour market deregulation is in all our interests.

McConvill, an academic who can be seen orbiting earth on a clear night, claims to be a strong supporter of social justice, evidenced by his belief that no Australian CEO need live in poverty.

According to this dangerous Trotskyite, it is a shame that we have any workplace laws at all. Hey! It works so well in Botswana, so why not here?

Conveniently for this advocate of social justice we do not live in a society, but rather, a labour market. Being such soulless widgets bestows certain responsibilities upon those who actually do all the work, such as not impinging upon shareholders rights to another daiquiri.

Equally, according to this subtle genius, the market will allow people to be paid "appropriately". Now, working 60 hours a week and still struggling to eat may be appropriate to closet fetishists like McConville, but most of us will pass on that if given a choice.

Then again, this great advocate of social justice may believe that starving half the population in some Malthusian fantasy is appropriate. In this case we may be better off if we just call the men in white coats in now.

Apparently by getting rid of all these silly workplace rules McConville believes we can arrive at just outcomes. We await with bated breath his analysis that the road toll could be slashed if we got rid of all those unnecessary and costly traffic laws and just let anyone do what they wished on the roads; or how health outcomes can be boosted by letting anyone who takes a fancy to it hang out a shingle and set themselves up as a surgeon.

And why not! If someone has watched a few episodes of Doogie Howser MD then they're about as qualified to practice medicine as someone who has never done a days work in their lives, such as McConville, is to say that a fifteen year old kid and a multinational fast food chain operate on a level playing field.

This scion of the left also has a curious attitude to organised labour, saying that over half a million people taking time off work is somehow irrelevant?

No doubt his view that the union movement is irrelevant is shared by the victims of James Hardie, and the couple of million Australians that rely on award wages each week.

The employer-employee relationship is just a standard contract according to our Tool Of The Week.

Which is a bit like saying a marriage is something you did one weekend, or that kids are an economic drain on society.

McConville places a lot of faith in the free-market, which puts him morally on the same level as a heroin dealer and probably socially as useful.

But one thing is certain; McConville could only be labeled as left wing in the Murdoch broadsheet, where all sorts of sociopathic market daleks are treated as if they're sane.

McConville should stick to torturing people, his pathological forays into the "left" aren't helping anyone.


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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