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Issue No. 296 24 February 2006  

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


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.


 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!


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.

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

 Lest We Forget
 For Whom the Toll Bells
 Unfinished Business
 Labor Sells Hydro
 Stop the Hordes
 Packer Whacker
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Letters to the Editor

Packer Whacker

Mort De Monolith

Pockmarked and pitted by vengeful time,
a mask ravaged by decay and failing strength,
a shroud of sagging, wayward flesh, incontinent,
bright eyed and jaundiced, lost to living glory.
Once a bold and boisterous Turk, now spent,
and at the last threshold, giving up the fight,
curiously compliant, yielding to invading night

Rags to riches to rags, whisper sneering cynics
and smirking oracles as his empire passes on.
His tongue-trapped heirs bleed dutiful phrases.
While his soon to be eagerly maligned memory
is set in tainted history by posturing, strutting,
sharp-beaked birds of prey, impatient to rend
rotting flesh and wallow in this dubious bounty.

They came to praise their outrageous Caesar,
this sycophantic gumbo of mealy-mouthed
mercenaries and miscreants, to bury him deep
in golden, overflowing, and mellifluous praises.
No truth to be exhumed from this sorry sepulchre,
no light to be shone into the darker shadows,
no one here with the will to cast the first stone, yet.

He gave generously and secretly to the poor,‚
the faithful trumpet, defiantly and desperately.
He was a magnificent man of the common people,
rough and ready in the great Australian tradition.
He was ever a warrior, and of noble countenance,
a brave crusader, a super legend with a kind heart,
said Channel Nine, committing prime time crime.

He was detested by many and feared by most,
responded the outraged and resentful peasantry.
Countless, bruised and sullenly silent survivors
will not mourn his early passing through this door,
and so very many will say, we don't want to pay
for this sanitising of history, this Roman Holiday,
this obscene carnival, this tribute to a dead tyrant.

Ruthless, he grasped at ever-increasing power.
In his arrogance, he conspired to bribe his way and
ride through the fine eye of the mythical, holy needle,
on a cavorting polo pony. Where is the dignified camel?
Chanted the insolent and vociferous lower orders, in
protest, but they were silenced, roughly dragged away,
into safekeeping, by the loyal people‚s paid-for police.

He wasn't present to share the farce, seethe at the fuss on
the evening news, or rage against the advert free special.
He‚d already gone, moved on, of course, he did it his way.
Farewells concluded at a private affair, select and discrete.
No beating of a muffling drum, no rain soaked squaddies,
in the dead of night, the sods with their bayonets turning,
no riderless horse, just the acrid smoke of a giant, burning.

Dermott Ryder, NSW


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