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Issue No. 293 20 December 2005  

Waves of Destruction
2005 was the year book-ended by two waves of destruction - the first causing untold suffering across the Indian Ocean; the second reawakening our darker angels on beaches closer to home.


Interview: Back to the Future
James Gallaway collars Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, on threats, challenges and opportunities.

Unions: A Real Page Turner
Jim Marr glances through Workers Onlines 2005 news stories and finds there is more one way to skin a Rat

Industrial: The Pin-Striped Union
Rachael Osman-Chin profiles a white collar union that is having some almighty blues.

International: Around The World In 365 Days
It was a year of online activism, as LabourStart's Eric Lee reports

Legends: Terrific, Tommy
Jim Marr tackles a champion.

Your Rights At Work: Worth Fighting For
The Your Rights At Work campaign has been a big part of this year and, as Phil Doyle reports, it is making a difference.

Politics: The Year That Was
Frank Stillwell looks at year that saw the politics of fear; and finds many reasons to be very afraid.

Economics: Master and Servant Revisited
Evan Jones asks if the Neo Liberals are taking us back to the future

Culture: 2005: The Year of Living Repetitively
Nathan Brown ignores Oasis and decides to look back in anger after all

Bad Boss: The Bottom Ten
Nathan Brown digs through his voluminous dirt files and comes up with the top 10 grubs of the year.

Religion: Hymns from a Different Song Sheet
James Gallaway on the Way, the Truth and life according to Brian.


 Melbourne Burns AWAs

 Corporates Defend Costello

 Speaker Won't Talk

 Bank Pays on Dodgy Contracts

 Plan to Save Jobs

 Harper's Bizarre Excuse for Failure

 It's Not Fair: Business

 Workers Walk As Warnings Wiped

 Teenager Hit With Shrapnel

 Pay Day Unlawful

 Tassie Rail Win

 Professionals Fear for Their Kids

 Boss Pings Rorters Charter

 New Ways to Take a Share

 An Hour of Need

 Boeing Steals Christmas

 Trouble at the Mill

 Activists What's On


The Crystal Ball
Workers Online consults a raft of leading psychics to find out what readers can look forward to in 2006.

The Soapbox
The Things People Say
It was a year of quotable quotes, reports Phil Doyle.

The Westie Wing
Ian West checks the rear vision mirror on 2005, and plants his foot down

The Locker Room
The 2005 Workers Online Sports Awards
After years of being overlooked by selectors at club, representative and national levels, Phil Doyle and Jim Marr, agreed to hand out our 2005 sports gongs.

Postcard from East Timor
In East Timor entertainment also spreads an important message into the community

 Pension Pinching
 Free to Rat
 Tax Cuts and Cockroaches
 Proportion, Not Distortion
 Corp That!
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Tool Shed

The Dog Whistler

If our Tool Of The Year left us any more relaxed and comfortable and we'd be dead


In the sixties John Howard opposed Vietnam War protesters and the protesters were right and Howard was wrong.

In the seventies John Howard opposed the African National Congress and the ANC was right and Howard was wrong.

In the eighties John Howard opposed Asian immigration and immigration was right and Howard was wrong

In the nineties John Howard opposed Eddie Mabo, but Mabo was right and Howard was wrong.

In the early years of the twenty-first century John Howard opposed the UN over Iraq and the UN was right and Howard was wrong.

Now John Howard is opposed to your rights at work; is there a pattern developing here?

If John Howard thinks he has scored a victory this year gaining control of the Senate he should look up the word Pyrrhic in a dictionary.

That it will fly obliviously over the head of this third rate suburban solicitor that his Thatcherite dream for us all may not be in the best interests of society should come as no surprise.

He is cunning, that is a given, but so is a shithouse rat.

Our Tool Of The Year knows that a quick bribe and a nod towards some popular bigotry will see him over the line every time. It helps if you can whip the populace into a panic like some snake oil salesman, then sell them the quack cure.

This will win you elections, but it ain't clever.

The problem is, no matter how many times you fudge, spin, distort, obfuscate, dodge, attack as a form of defence, cheat, steal or bastardise, there is always reality down the track.

Menzies hung onto power for years, invoking the red menace and pinching Labor Party policy, but it's hardly seen as a high point in Australian political life. In the end time caught up with Menzies, as it will with Howard, and all the bullshit that mendacious old fool from Toorak banged on about was writ large. In the end Menzies created more problems for the future than he ever solved.

And thus it is with his acolyte Howard.

This government is the most spineless, intellectually dishonest, corrupt, incompetent and callous administration this Federation has ever known. The people do not love Howard. Even those that vote for him do so grudgingly, motivated by fear. He has had more luck than a dancing drunk, with none of the charm.

This week the Salvos revealed that there has been a 17% increase in people seeking help this Christmas. This, at a time, when the economy is allegedly booming. But booming for whom? Booming for those who back John Howard, that's who.

And WorkChoices is supposed to make life easier for that extra 17% of people trying to put food on the tables for their families this Christmas? Yeah, right.

Howard's response? To complain there's not enough nativity scenes at shopping centres. A neat piece of dog whistling; with Howard hinting that we're all being overrun by Mohammedans and godless atheists hell bent on destroying “our” way of life.

It's the sort of mindless pap that lets people indulge their hatred. A special brand of "our" hatred, which, according to Dear Leader Howard, isn’t racist. Oh no. Not one bit. It’s just based on the way people look.

John Howard has made us smaller and darker as a nation. He is hell bent on turning this country into a grasping, money-obsessed leviathan; reduced to a battle of all against all. In Howard’s Hobbesian nightmare life will be truly be nasty, brutish and short.

He may invoke mateship, but he is its antithesis. A man who would stab his fellow countrymen in the back if it meant his own personal advancement. Machiavelli is alive and well and resides in Kirribilli.

The reality is more and more Australians are being driven to their wits end by this government's malfeasance. Things are crook in Tallarook. Yet our self proclaimed deputy sheriff continues apace, oblivious to the society unravelling beneath him.

He never talks about weapons of mass destruction anymore. Remember how the GST would wipe out the black economy? The map of Australia with all the bits the darkies were going to get painted red? Counting John Howard's lies is like counting the stars. This alone does not a tool make.

Remember his defence of Pauline Hanson? The "fact" that “we decide who comes here”? His waring of the "danger" of Asian immigration? His support for Apartheid? Haranguing people at a "reconciliation" conference? Saying that John Howard is racist is like saying the sun rises in the east. This alone does not a tool make.

Remember his debt truck back when debt was a fraction of what it is now? His opposition to ten consecutive pay rises for Australia's lowest paid workers? How the GST would end tax avoidance and make the young feel old and the old feel young? The fact that John Howard is the most irresponsible financial manager we've had since, well, when John Howard was treasurer under Fraser speaks volumes, but that alone does not a tool make.

Remember how he bailed out his brother's company? How he defended Geoff Prosser? How he appointed the incompetent head of immigration as the Indonesian Ambassador? How he tried to buy the 1983 election? The news that Howard is corrupt is not new, but this alone does not a tool make.

Remember how he stared down shooters, with a bulletproof vest? How he said East Timor was Indonesia's business? His tantrum after the rugby world cup? Sure, he's a coward, like all bullies, but that alone does not a tool make.

Remember that cricket ball in Pakistan?

That, along with all of the above, and more, is what makes John Winston Howard well deserving of the epithet, Tool Of The Year.


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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