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Issue No. 292 02 December 2005  

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.


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.


 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!


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
Phil Doyle slices one into the car park.

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…

 Million Mum March
 Pension Pinching
 John Bares All
 Radicalising Yoof
 Tom A World Away
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Activist's What's On!

I Dream of Johnny

A musical comedy. Opening Thursday November 24,

Newtown Theatre. Cnr King & Bray Sts, Newtown South.

The play is a riotous musical combining 60's psychedelia, Gilbert and Sullivan type songs, dance routines and guest appearances from mythical gods as it steers its protagonists- namely John Howard and Tony Abbott, towards retribution for their policies on refugees and industrial relations.

Regular ticket prices are $25/20 respectively. However, union members are eligable for a $15 ticket in week two- from Tuesday November 29 to Saturday December 3.

The play has been made with generous support from unions such as the CFMEU and the Flight Attendants' Association.

After losing his passport and his memory John Howard finds himself on a boat to Norway as part of a 'refugees for nuclear waste' scheme, devised by his government and outsourced agencies. A series of mishaps lead to him being thrown over-board and stuck on a desert island with an irate Tony Abbott, who has been using his thinking time to devise a new dastardly portfolio for himself called the 'Department of Industrial Convalescence'. After being rescued from the island both men end up in the Baxter Detention Centre and must face the consequences of their past actions which winds up in an all-in rap battle and the appearance of Amanda Vanstone to sort things out.

The play features great musical and dance numbers, choreographed by Mark Daly, with music written by producer/playwright Joel Beasant and musician Matthew Campbell. The play was written by Joel Beasant, Robert Luxford and Leslie Marsh, and is directed by Jenelle Pearce, whose work recently featured in the Newtown Theatre's 'Short and Sweet' sessions. Adam Fraser and Rhys Wilson star as Howard and Abbott, respectively.

The play cleverly uses real dialogue from figures, such as Howard and Abbott, to challenge their actions towards refugees and the disadvantaged by literally placing them 'in the others' shoes'. John Howard finds himself in a number of situations where he appeals for humanitarian treatment, by re-stating quotes he has made in the past however, instead of being delivered by them, he actually gets the treatment his government has metered out. The irony is hilarious and made even better as it is regularly accompanied by groovy singing and dancing. The shows will run from Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on Saturdays. Ticket prices are:

$25 full

$20 concession

$15 special price for union-card holders in week 2, from Tues Nov 29- Sat Dec 3.

$15 special price for students in week 3, from Tues Dec 6- Sat Dec 10.

Enquiries about the show can be made to:

Bookings MCA 1300 306 776 or online:

For further information call Joel Beasant on: 02 9797133


Acclaimed novelist, Walkley Award winning journalist and literary editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, Malcolm Knox, will deliver the final Overland Lecture for 2005.

Following on from his provocative article in the May issue of The Monthly, Malcolm will consider: 'The Fate of Australian Publishing'

This lecture will also launch Overland 181 - Intellectual Activism featuring ChristosTsolkias, RW Connell, Andrew McCann, Linda Jaivin, and Vijay Mishra among many others. It's a fantastic issue, which may remind you that a gift subscription to Overland makes a great Christmas present!

Finally, we'll conclude the night with the Overland Christmas Party. You are all invited to attend.

6.30pm Wednesday 7 December 2005
New Ballroom, Trades Hall, Carlton South
$10 full/$6 concession [inc. copy of Overland 181]

enquiries 9919 4163 or

The Sedition Condition


The on-going saga of SBS and the Documentary Commissioning Editor: A debrief and discussion

Premier Screening of the "THE LAST VALLEY", a social political documentary by Peter Vaughan, with filmmaker Q & A.

In these trying days for documentary filmmakers, the MDG presents a program to get it all off your chest and view a film that will make your production difficulties seem like a romp in the park

DATE: Tuesday December 13
TIME: SBS discussion: 6.30 pm
Screening: 7.30 pm
VENUE: Cinema 2
VCA Film and TV School
Grant St, South Melbourne
RSVP: in[email protected]
NOTE: RSVP is a must due to limited seating. No RSVP, no entry


It's social, it's political and it may be seditious

Peter Vaughan's "The Last Valley" challenges the myth that Australia is a land with a limitless frontier and inexhaustible natural resources. The film is set in East Gippsland, a remote region in far eastern Victoria far from the eyes of the world. For fifty years it has been logged unsustainably to supply the bulk of Victoria's timber needs, and as a source of cheap woodchips for the Japanese paper industry. The Last Valley chronicles the conflict and change that accompanied the closing scenes of Victoria's old-growth logging era."

Peter Vaughan followed the events that unfolded in some of the old growth forests of East Gippsland, from 1999 to 2003. For 3 years he lived locally in Orbost, and gained access to the stories of the loggers, the conservationists and the townspeople. The film examines what happens to a community when the resource that had supported it runs out. It also examines the political/environmental consequences of government mismanagement of a finite resource and the conflict that results.However the story of the film is only half the story...

During the making of the film the logging department, then the DNRE, now renamed DSE (Dept of Sustainability and Environment), went to great effort to prevent its completion. Tactics ranged from trying to insist that the production pay a retrospective "license fee" of $5000 per day for any filming that had already been undertaken in state forests or National Park (both publicly owned areas). The DSE also insisted that the filmmakers get release forms from any government officer that had been filmed, before filming anywhere else in state forests. They threatened legal action if there was failure to comply. The production received legal advice that these demands had no legal basis.

Peter was arrested by the DSS on two occasions whist filming, but was not charged. However in early 2003 the DSE began a legal prosecution against him alleging that he had assaulted one of their officers. He was also charged with "littering'; "obstruct a lawful logging operation" etc, etc. The matter went to two trials and the DSE withdrew all charges on the second day of the second trial after Peter screened his unbroken video record of the events. Peter will attend the screening to talk about these and many, many more issues that surrounded the making of the film, not the least being the long and wearying attempts to secure a broadcaster (it is now with ABC TV) and financing.


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