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Issue No. 294 10 February 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Total Impact
The long hot summer, the calm before the storm, is finally passed; and as March 1 approaches the new world of work is looming and the extent of the attack on organised labour is becoming clear.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Court's in Session
As the silks line up to challenge WorkChoices, Jeff Shaw is fighting for his own legacy - the NSW IR system.

Industrial: Whose Choices?
The Howard Government's WorkChoices legislation has been dissected by lawyers and the commentariat; now it's the turn of political economists.

Politics: Peter's Principles
Forget John Howard. The force behind WorkChoices is Peter Costello. The Prime Minister-in-waiting has devoted a lifetime to undermining the security and living standards of Australian families, Jim Marr reports.

Environment: TINA or Greener?
What does the greenhouse effect and legislation to control workers have in common, asks Neale Towart

History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
Power. They have it, we want it. Friendly societies tried to keep it for working people, writes Neale Towart

International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
The US Government has refused to allow France's most famous farmer Jose Bove into the country to address a conference

Education: No AWA - No Job
The Howard Government has given the Australian community its first view of the future by forcing new staff at Ballarat University to sign an Australian Workplace Agreement if they want a job, writes Jenny Macklin.

Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
The writings of a Middle Eastern theologian may provide guidance to those grappling with indigenous issues, writes Graham Ring

Review: Charlie the Serf
Nathan Brown takes the sledgehammer (and sickle) to Mr Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

N E W S

 Capital Punishment on the Menu

 Della Builds Fortress NSW

 Unfair Sackings Face Challenge

 Slave Contractors Sprung

 Holden's Bad Deal for Adelaide

 ACCI Never Sleeps

 STOP PRESS: Guest Worker Plan Goes to Water

 Taking a Punt on Melbourne Cup

 Backlash on Job Cuts

 Howard Coy on Ad Orgy

 Newcastle Rails Against Contracts

 Union Man Eyes Cuts

 Free Enterprise Kills Hundreds

 Aussie Icon Moves to China

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Hitler in Bowral
Political censorship has made its wasy to the sleepy Southern Highlands, wrties Rowan Cahill.

The Locker Room
No Laughing Matter
Phil Doyle tries to take Australian sportspeople seriously, and fails.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West is mistakenly sent an advance copy of John Winston Howard’s Little Blue Book of Australian History…

L E T T E R S
 The Best for the Best
 Belated Merry Whatmas?
 The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
 I Think Therefore I Scam
 A Taxing Answer
 Leslie John Turner
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

Riding Into the Sunset


There's a party in the Tool Shed this week, the National Party

*****

When the Liberal Party set up a youth wing they quickly became known as the Young Libs. When the Country Party set up a youth wing they changed their name to the National Party.

For most of last century the Country/National Party made itself relevant with policies designed for the century before that.

It was a proud tradition based on the universal belief in a bunyip aristocracy, the Masters and Servants Act and the salacious benefits of animal husbandry.

The party that the Anthony family treated as a personal family heirloom turned established political wisdom, and most other wisdom, on it's head by bringing socialism in our time to the wealthiest sections of what stoically passed itself off as the rural economy.

Founded by Earl Page as a boarding school prank gone wrong, the party really hit its straps under Tenterfield's answer to Joseph Stalin, Black Jack McEwen.

McEwen brought the unlikely policy of socialising losses and privatising profits to the Menzies' government by a unique combination of mulesing and crutching of Liberal members in three-cornered contests in what ephemerally became known as the bush, which was anything west of Doonside.

Of course the party gained some popularity by offering both a brimming pork barrel and a jingoistic nationalism that was useful for rounding up malcontents.

The party reached its zenith under the subtle genius of Joh Bjielke Petersen, who was just about to appoint his horse to the Senate when things started to go horribly wrong.

The first hurdle was the fact that there was no possibility of recreating the Queensland gerrymander, and the fact that 90% of the population south of the Tweed couldn't stop laughing when Joh launched his eponymously named Joh for PM campaign.

That was when the rot set in.

Amazingly the now re-badged Nationals thought Ian Sinclair would be their saviour, which made sense if you wanted a party that offered creative accounting as a selling point for its ideology.

Tim Fischer tried to steady the ship, but even a gawky trainspotter from the Riverina couldn't give the party credibility.

By the time the party turned to John Anderson it appeared that they were trying to sleep their way to power, but luckily that one-time Tool Of the Week has gone to Queensland drovin', and we don't know where he are.

With the brains trust settling on Mark Vaile as the leader it came as no surprise that Julian McGauran, the master of the one-fingered salute, decided to show his commitment to Rural Victoria by joining the party of Peter Costello.

With half the state on fire at the time he could have helped fight bushfires, but that has never been the McGauran way.

Still, the party that gave us the expression "as mad as a Katter" does have Warren Truss, which must be some consolation for someone, somewhere, but we can't think of any.

Our collective tools of the week have vowed to come out fighting, which is a bit like getting threatened by a cranky chook, they are already well on their way to being the feather duster.

And why? Because they never really have looked after people in the bush, just people with money, and the people with money have all moved to the city so their phones work, they can afford petrol and their kids can go to a halfway decent school and there's a hospital handy if they get gored by a vicious forex trader in Hunter Street.

Like banks, shops, schools, services, phones, roads and jobs, it's the end of the line for the Nationals in the bush.

The only humane thing to do would be to take them around by the back of the woodpile and put the poor bastards out of their misery.



Show Us YOUR TOOL!

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.

 
 

Ship of Tools - All the tools in one shed!

View our Gallery of Tools

Nominate a Tool!

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Type why you think this person should be Tool of the Week here:

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