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Issue No. 292 02 December 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

A Free Vote
This week’s charade of the Senate amending the Howard Government’s workplace laws raises fundamental questions about the sort of democracy Australia has become.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: The Binds That Tie
Dr Don Edgar has demolished the Prime Minister's credentials as a family man.

Unions: Worth Cycling For
Pedal power joined the Your Rights At Work campaign on a 350km journey to take a message to Canberra’s politicians, wrties Phil Doyle.

Industrial: The Elephant in the Corner
Jim Marr takes a look at what the government has secreted away in the WorkChoices package, revealing what is really at stake - and what can be done about it.

Legal: A Law Unto Themselves
In this extract from the Evatt Foundation's 'State of the States' Jeff Shaw & Monika Ciolek look at the constitutional issues rasied by WorkChoices.

Politics: Ethically Lonely
At a forum in the Australian Stock Exchange sponsored by big end of town solicitors, you would expect at least one person to be in favour of John Howard’s industrial relations laws, wrties Rachael Osman-Chin.

History: Women, Unions, Banners and Parades
Trade union banners reveal more about union history than their male designers and makers intended, writes Neale Towart.

Women: Relaxed and Comfortable?
Suzanne Hammond from WEL argues there are many hidden nasties in WorkChoices for working women.

International: The Last Social Democrat
A trade union leader's victory marks beginning of class politics in Israel, wrties Eric Lee

Review: The Corpse Bride
Come to a world where decay, loss and broken dreams are everywhere - and it's not the Federal Senate.

Culture: Tony Moore Holds His Own
In his new book, Tony Moore argues that today's generation of political leaders has much to learn from Bazza McKenzie.

N E W S

 Read His Lips: WorkChoices Too Much

 Joyce A Christmas Goose

 Workers Leave Boss in Tool Shed

 Costello Chokes On Asbestos Compo

 Telstra Hangs Up on Former Staff

 Bank Check on Bras

 Bill of Work Rights on Agenda

 Funny Film - Scary Message

 Sign Of the Times

 Unions Chip In for Lauren

 Company Raids Own Ship

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Whitefellas - You Just Can’t Trust ‘Em.
Racial stereotyping is a bad business. That said, Graham Ring has discovered a segment of society that drinks too much, behaves unreliably and can’t seem to adapt to change. Sadly, the conclusion is inescapable…

The Locker Room
Fore!
Phil Doyle slices one into the car park.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West makes a midnight dash to Workers Online, slides his State political report under the door, then heads back to the Macquarie Street Chamber of Horrors…

L E T T E R S
 Million Mum March
 Pension Pinching
 John Bares All
 Radicalising Yoof
 Tom A World Away
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Letters to the Editor

John Bares All


My philosophy? I assume the very worst is possible then go about protecting yourself as much as possible from the potential downside, especially when times are good.

I think it is much safer to be and pessimist and essentially defensive in nature when looking at economic realities - the damn thing is so hard to predict. Let's face it, we have had an extremely good run over the last decade, and eventually all good things must find a balance.

None of this is rocket science, it simply takes into account the type of outcomes that seem typically associated, historically, with economic 'boom' and 'bust' cycles (in other words, generally predictable dynamics). The problem as I see it is 'when life is good we tend to forget past horrors, until once again reminded through painful experience that life does have checks and balances'.

I think we are now just seeing the tip of the iceburg when it comes to the reporting of corporate scandals, and the only reason many of these cases have remained largely undetected (except for the spectacular collapses such as OneTel and HIH) is because we have had it so good (economically) for so long. When cash (supported by excessive lending and borrowing) is freely flowing and everything looks rosey we have tendency to overlook any negative long term-consequences that may be lurking around the corner (life is good , so who gives a shit!).

However, when the tide goes out and the economy slows, we should start getting a pretty good indication as to who the patsies and sharks have been.

There also seems to be an emergence of what can only be described as an 'unholy alliance' between business and government, and unfortunately our pollies are not the savvy dealmakers they may think they are.

In my limited opinion, the mechanics of business and politics are worlds apart - just look at the deals being brokered between the NSW government and private enterprise - unintended consequences are rife and proving to be very expensive lessons. It is clear here who the patsies are, and it is not the private deal makers.

As for the the housing market, it should throw up some mouth watering bargains for the savvy bargain hunter, as many lenders are now trying to recoup money from people who overextended themselves by borrowing in a overheated market.

I am also convinced that Mr Howard has tried to put the cart before the horse by trying to introduce his IR reforms in their current form. In fact, if he focused on addressing major corporate governance issues, red tape, and taxes, by the time he got around to addressing IR, the glaring holes and opportunities for abuse would probably reverse his thinking drastically (couldn't help having one last dig about IR).

John McPhilbin, NSW


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