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Issue No. 296 24 February 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Sad Sacks
It has been a sad spectacle watching a Labor Government run down public servants, as they have in NSW this week.

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

 Taskforce Shrugs Bashed Teen Worker

 Abattoir Blues

 Car Plant Puts Pedal to Metal

 Call Me Now: Rev Kev

 Fat Boss Sings

 Unions Back After This Break

 Public Cuts Must Be Last

 Apprentices Grow Up

 ‘Castle Win Keeps Trains On Track

 Chicken Worker Stuffed

 ‘Revolving Gangplank' at Sydney Ferries

 NSW Councils Short $21 billion

 Activists 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
 Lest We Forget
 For Whom the Toll Bells
 Unfinished Business
 Labor Sells Hydro
 Stop the Hordes
 Packer Whacker
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

Decimation


NSW Opposition leader Peter Debnam could count himself lucky, if only he could count.

*****

Peter Debnam is an interesting chap.

His new plan to sack the entire public service and run the entire state with just himself and his deputy, the remarkably named Andrew Stoner, was received with about as much welcome as a Norwesterly at a bushfire.

Not that we'll have to worry about that. Not after Debnam single handedly wipes out the Rural Fire Service, National Parks and any public servant within a four thousand mile radius of his Vaucluse mansion.

Debnam's unique take on civilisation, and his belief that we don't need it, may have raised eyebrows, but his ideas are hardly new.

His desire to start by cutting a tenth of the population is borrowed from the Romans, who were fond of wiping out a tenth (or a decima in the old currency) of the population. It is where we get the word 'decimate'.

It's a skill our Tool Of The Week appears to relish. Spending the week pondering aloud on which public servants were hated more.

If he had continued his cogitations he may have surmised that unctious hypocritical politicians probably do have a bit of ground to make up to catch RTA workers.

After all, maybe the fact that there are queues in the motor registry may have something to do with the fact that his predecessor, Nick Greiner, liked to engage in a bit of decimation of his own. It would be a bit much to expect our tool Of the Week to ponder that what we need is an improvement in public services, not depletion, but the debnam mind is simple, yet lacks that sort of intellectual alacrity.

Despite his philosophical objection to poor people being allowed to breathe, nonetheless, public services do remain. Luckily, our Tool sees himself as the person who can put an end to such bolshevist nonsense as having school cleaners or health care workers.

After all, the private sector can do these things so much better, as the Cross City Tunnel, the Lane Cove Tunnel, the Sydney Airport rail link, property developers and sundry other hapless "service providers" demonstrate.

Luckily though Debnam has plucked the ten percent figure, like his wit, out of thin air.

It's astonishing that, in the midst of us inheriting the whirlwind of the infrastructure cuts and mismanagement of the Greiner/Fahey years, that someone who has half a clue would propose that the solution is to further emasculate the public sector.

Unfortunately Debnam does not have half a clue. He does, though, have no clue at ball, which will come in handy in coming weeks as his bizarre Dutch auction of community services shows us that cuts to Sydney Water may be affecting the quality out Vaucluse way.

Certainly, there is something awry with someone who thinks that the solution to having a clapped out old car is to take to it with a broadaxe.

Debnam is yet another tired old tax dodging, anti-community market forces Dalek, playing the politics of last century, who is seeking to avoid his community obligations by running off and putting his head in the sand while the rest of the world can go to hell in a hand-basket.

The Liberal Party calls this leadership.



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