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Issue No. 299 17 March 2006  

For Queen and Country
There’s nothing like a Commonwealth Games – and one on home turf to boot – to get one thinking about Australia’s relationship with Britain and the monarch who still reigns over us.


Interview: Organising In Cyberspace
Workers Online speaks to the ACTU's Union Organiser of the Year, Greg Harvey from the RTBU, who has been using cutting edge ways to communicate with a blue-collar workforce spread across five states.

Industrial: How Low Is Low
Neale Towart looks at the much hyped link between minimum wages and employment

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Govwernment has begun rolling out workshops to inform employers on how to use WorkChoices. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Bad Medicine
Nathan Brown reports on how Australia Post’s dodgy Faculty Nominated Doctor system is leaving sick workers feeling worse.

History: Right Turn, Clyde
Bob Gould believes news of Clyde Cameron’s demise may be premature

Economics: Long Division
Kenneth Davidson looks at a successful political strategy

International: Union Proud
A University of California librarian calls for union labels to increase worker visibility

Politics: Howard’s Sick Joke
Phil Doyle looks at an attack on one of the great achievements of the union movement

Indigenous: The year of living dangerously
That mob in parliament house seems to be hopelessly out of touch with Indigenous Australia. So much so, that Graham Ring wonders if the House on the Hill is becoming a ‘cultural museum’.

Review: Lights, Camera, Strike!
Mandrake the Electrician has been down to the video store over the summer and rounded up the Top Ten Union Movies of all time.

Culture: News Front
If the owners are selling off papers, perhaps the unions should buy them says Mark Dobbie.


 Fleas Bite Back

 Visa Boss Restrained

 Howard's Holiday Secrets

 Picket Buster Carpeted

 No Ticket No Start For Asbestos

 On The Road Again

 WorkChoices Goes Mental

 United Cuts Hit Turbulence

 Bad News for Bullies

 Vegie Contracts Poisonous

 Mac Attack

 Work Choices Canned

 Work Pressure Kills: Judge

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Australian Fascism
Rowan Cahill critiques Gerard Henderson’s unique take on history

Westie Wing
Will Westie's Wings be clipped, or will the Hills Angels repent and deliver?

The Locker Room
The Heart Of The Matter
Phil Doyle rolls up the red carpet and celebrates the death of an old foe

 Revelations of St John
 Save Frost
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Tool Shed

Euthanasia For All, Not Just The Rich

The Tool Shed welcomes the contribution of chimpanzee fancier, Steve Knott, to the debate on workplace laws.


The Australian Mines and Metals Association is a laugh a minute crowd.

They recently held their annual powwow in the shadow of the Tasmanian state election; in Launceston to be precise.

While Howard's new workplace laws fill nine out of ten Australians with feelings ranging from nausea to revulsion, the suits at the AMMA who like to pass themselves off as if they actually do something productive, accused WorkChoices of being too soft.

No doubt looking nostalgically to the age when they could send a nine year old down a pit, and obviously unhappy they haven't killed as many people as they'd like, the AMMA, led by their fearless leader Steve Knott, called on the so-called WorkChoices to be toughened up.

The AMMA is working on an "alternative model" for employee relations in Australia believing Work Choices has not gone far enough.

It remains unclear whether compulsory servings of gruel, floggings or serving up the lives of the firstborn are what Serious Steve has in mind.

Apparently euthanasia is part of the solution; or, more specifically, euthanasing the award system. This system is constantly eroding profits because these miners, tinkers, pederasts and sundry odd job men of the stellar right are constantly forced to have to pay people. Slavery would provide them with the flexibility they have long desired. That, and other agendas that make Dr Evil look like a Civil Rights Activist.

The award system itself should be "euthanased", Knott told the slavering mass. "The award system is limping along like a wounded dog; and needs to be put down." He told the gregarious mix of the mad, the bad and the clinically insane.

Maybe not a wounded dog, but old Knotty does a fair impersonation of a mad dog, illustrating his sophisticated understanding of just what this industrial relations debate is about, by presenting an overhead projection of a picture of a startled Chimpanzee as an example of the ALP's reaction to workchoices.

Given that Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon is about to be returned on the back of a re-election strategy of nailing his flag to the Your Rights At Work campaign, despite showing a public policy sophistication seldom seen outside of Djibouti or Sierra Leone, our Tool Of The Week exhibits a subtle genius in insisting his policy is a prescription for popular renewal.

It immediately became apparent to everyone outside of Knott's asylum that the only thing close to being euthanased was this drongo's credibility.

Knott said his crew is working on a paper 'Beyond Enterprise Bargaining', also known by its working title Arbeicht Macht Frie.

Knott is another in a litany of sad, sorry individuals who are ensuring that Howard is losing this industrial relations war. Sure, he may win a few battles, but with peanuts like Knott in his saddlebag it is inevitable that this policy will one day be little more than bleached bones in the desert.

Besides, if Knott thinks that euthanasia is a solution he may want to start with the bloke he looks at in the mirror each morning.


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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