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Issue No. 291 25 November 2005  

International Relations
Globalisation drags up all sorts of contradictions, none the least the attitude of nation states to international law, as show by events in Australia this week.


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.


 Senators Back Rorters' Charter

 Families Last in WorkChoices

 Howard Loses Poll Position

 Printers Stamp on Low Paid

 Tough Men Back CFMEU

 Kiwis Fly into Starbucks

 Vale John Ducker

 Iemma Drives Hardie Bargain

 Memberships on the increase

 Uni Union Shown The Door

 In a Flap Over Flu

 Job Cuts Threaten CBA's Bottom Line

 Blackouts as Bosses Cut Deep

 Barnaby's Choice

 Wal-Mart Exposed

 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…

 Demonise the Laws
 Name and Shame
 Unite and Fight
 The Worker's Best Friend
 What Choices?
 Stop the Corporate Rot
 The Telemarketeers
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Tool Shed

Extreme Comb Over

Our Tool Of the Week has deregulated his mouth.


Just after we all stopped laughing, Peter Hendy started up again, and the comb over without a clue left us all in stitches once more.

The trade union movement's best secret weapon held his latest stand up gig at the Senate Inquiry into the WorkChoices legislation, where his performance left everyone wondering just what the man from ACCI had been smoking lately.

One of the best things to do if you're a washed up old member of the loony right is to simply make up information to back up your case. Gerard Henderson is a past master at it but old Hendy took it to new heights this week.

He had them rolling in the aisles when he presented "evidence" from the "independent" Office of the Employment Advocate.

Evidence it may well be; independent it is not.

No wonder Premature Pete liked to refer to them as the Office of the Employer Advocate in recent times, for they bowled him up this flat track beauty:

According to Hendy's industrial gigolos down at the Office of the Employment Advocate, "on average, employees on AWAs earn 23 per cent more than their counterparts working on other agreements".

It was an interesting statement, unfortunately devoid of truth. The reality is a long way south from there.

After the good senators drove a truck through and over that piece of fertiliser, Hendy persisted, claiming "women on AWAs earn, on average, 60.5 per cent more than women across the board".

Exactly which board wasn't immediately clear, as to everyone's puzzlement the statistic appeared to have appeared to emerge from some parallel universe occupied solely by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or maybe from Hendy's own fundament; it certainly smelt like it.

Just when it appeared that his next piece of evidence would appear courtesy of Mandrake the Magician, Hendy claimed that ACCI had supported a wage rise every year since 1997.

This too presented problems when matched with fact, for ACCI had supported many pay rises of exactly zero percent during this time.

Then, seeing that the good ship Reasoned Argument was listing badly to port, Hendy threw all caution to the wind, claiming that kicking people in the wallet in New Zealand had boosted productivity.

Unfortunately productivity in New Zealand has all the buoyant qualities of an anchor and has been in free fall for a decade.

Hendy's incredible source? Those wonderful chaps from the Business Roundtable in New Zealand! Who have about as much credibility as a Chocolate manufacturer arguing for three Easters a year

Who was going to be his next credible source of information? Bruce Ruxton?

So, the man with the Incredible Shrinking Argument began to duck and weave like some Sunday morning TV wrestler, trying to tag team with his Smithers offsider, Mr BarkingMad.

By this time, however, it was too late. The few strands remaining on his folliclularily challenged frontal lobes were drowning in sweat. Hendy's frontal lobe would have drowned as well, but it appears that was removed some time ago.

There was only one thing our Tool Of the Week got right in his entire evidence: "we are demonised as heartless, callous people".

Yes Peter. There's a reason for that. It's primarily because you are.


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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