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Issue No. 300 24 March 2006  

Of Milestones and Millstones
Three hundred issues ago, in February 1999, Workers Online published its first edition, with the following promise: “to bring you news and views in the traditions of the workers press of yesteryear, but with our eyes firmly on the future.”


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.


 Coonan Practises Her ABC

 Mr Andrews Decrees

 Year Zero Set for Monday

 Secret Police Visit Workers

 PacNat Back On Track

 Print Bosses Finger the Bush

 Whinger Draws Fire

 National IT Win

 RailCorp Shtum On Asbestos Stations

 Deaf Bank Pinged $145,000

 Phantom AWA of the Opera

 Crane Company Hooks Workers

 Umpire: Dump Contractors Now

 Lift Companies Promote Falls

 Activists 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

 Bully for Us
 Onya, Pete!
 Blind Johnny
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Tool Shed

The Deck Of Tools

The Tool Shed has had some strange tenants over the 300 editions of Workers Online, and it's time they were dealt with.


There is a certain kind of something in that separates the Tool from others that occupy this mortal coil.

Whether it is their complete disregard for their fellow human beings; a blighted arrogance unsullied by either thought or logic; the subtle genius that may appear to the lay person to be little more than pig ignorance; a distinguished contribution to the public debate by displaying the sort of cultural sensitivity associated with Attilla the Hun; or just being a good old fashioned wanker, arriving in the Workers Online Tool Shed is a measure of just how cretinous a person has become.

So, on our 300th edition, to celebrate the many that have passed through the Tool Shed, Workers Online presents the Deck Of Tools, a full set of playing cards featuring the 53 most distinguished bunch of drongos ever assembled this side of a Liberal Party National Council.

This deck of cards, similar to those issued by US forces for the day when they would be greeted by rapturous Iraqis, is an aid in helping members of the public to identify those persons around the shop that are generally responsible for all that is brown and sticky around the place.

This handsomely packaged, limited edition Deck Of Tools makes a wonderful gift and is available for the bargain basement price of $10.00. Interested parties can email their order, including a name, postal address and daytime contact number, to [email protected]

Below is a list of those exceptional people who have spent time in the Tool Shed over the years, and have risen above other Tools to feature in our top 53 Tools Of The Week, long with their position in the deck, the editions they have featured in and a brief explanation of their contribution to Tooldom.

Joker - Piers Akerman (Editions: 1-43, 110, 129, 152, 157) The original Tool! A model of intellectual inconsistency

Ace Spades- Rupert Murdoch (Edition 182) Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

King Spades - George W. Bush (76, 127, 145, 207, 244, 280) the man who represents those who are "fighting to put food on their families"

Queen Spades - Janet Albrechtsen (168, 253) The thin-skinned corporate lawyer who likes to attack the big targets; like starving children and dying workers

Jack Spades - Peter Hendy (242, 291) The combover that lied - cheerleader for paying people in salt

10 Spades - Jonathan Hamberger (50, 203) The employee advocate who doesn't like employees

9 Spades - Lynton Crosby (120, 262) You can fool some of the people some of the time, and Lynton does just that for the Liberal Party

8 Spades - Des Moore (247, 266) The nutty professor - believes that the biggest problem facing business is having to pay wages

7 Spades - Heather Ridout (252) An economic genius - claims that providing menstrual leave will raise interest rates

6 Spades - Garry Brack (84) Only the boss should have a union. Garry's union, Employers First aka Employees Last

5 Spades - Mark Bethwaite (273) The most honest yachtsman this country's seen since Alan Bond

4 Spades - Max Moore-Wilton (186) the former public servant who privatised himself and took advantage of the Not Nailed Down Act

3 Spades - Tom Schieffer (166) The former US Governor of Australia

2 Spades - Paddy McGuinness (186) Another middle class loser who ran to the right when he realised he didn't have any mates

Ace Diamonds - David Murray (69, 149, 268) Got nearly $3500.00 for every person he sacked at the Commonwealth bank, a figure that totals up to $50 million

King Diamonds - Peter Costello (53, 97, 116, 133, 175, 181, 210, 220, 249, 252, 264, 274) The smirkin' merkin and Prime Miniature in waiting and waiting and waiting. Learning the art of Dog Whistling.

Queen Diamonds-Christopher Pyne (81) The oldest member of the Young Liberals is a great statesman. He really is. Just ask him

Jack Diamonds - Peter Reith (51, 73, 114, 124, 158, 163) "A wharfie threw my mobile phone overboard! Honest!"

10 Diamonds - Roger Corbett (260, 285) The Woolworths Fresh Food CEO, with fresh ideas on how to drive truck drivers to an early grave

9 Diamonds - Jodee Rich (99) How many times can a rich kid go broke? As many times as he likes it would seem; luckily it's only workers entitlements and other people's money at stake

8 Diamonds - Geoff Dixon (169) The Spirit of Australia is now the Spirit of Geoff Dixon's Ego

7 Diamonds - Merideth Hellicar (235) "Let them eat Asbestos!"

6 Diamonds - Hugh Morgan (255) Invented the hole, called it the Pilbara declared himself a genius. Resents paying people and other people using his air 5 Diamonds - Frank Cicutto (131-32) paid zillions for developing the PfG strategy: Protecting Frank's Gonads

4 Diamonds - Lucy Turnbull (200) Brought peace to the Middle East, which she thinks is somewhere between Woolloomooloo and Bondi Junction

3 Diamonds - David Flint (217) Has a fondness for old queens

2 Diamonds - Vince Graham (245) You would have to work really hard to stuff up the NSW rail system, and Vince is doing just that

Ace Clubs - Alexander Downer (68, 122, 148, 267) "Daddy won the war awl by himself!" Lord Downer of Bagdad and sometime historian

King Clubs - Tony Abbott (44, 78, 87, 98, 102, 106, 138, 143, 241, 259, 278) His Holiness Pope Abbot I blends his muscular Christianity with a unique strand of sociopathic zealotry

Queen Clubs - Bronwyn Bishop (45) Big Hair Big Teeth Small Brain [Bronwyn_bishop.tif]

Jack Clubs - John Anderson (113, 135, 185, 195, 237, 269) A country member, and we remember, even if he doesn't

10 Clubs - Robert Hill (206, 223) The Minister for Defence, who left his job before anyone found out the choppers can't fly, the submarines leak, the boots don't fit - luckily the troops are safely out of harms way in the middle east 9 Clubs- Ross Cameron (52, 234) The morals crusader who should have started off with the guy he looked at in the mirror each morning

8 Clubs - Danna Vale (172) Made the ultimate sacrifice for her country by saving us from evil hordes and proposing that the butchering of young men at Anzac Cove be turned into a theme park

7 Clubs - Michael Wooldridge (108) The Health Minister who was so impressed, he bought the company

6 Clubs - Barnaby Joyce (292) Promised to defend us from the perils of Canberra, but he didn't respect us in the morning

5 Clubs - Louise Markus (287) The Federal Member for unctious bible bashing hypocrisy

4 Clubs - Ian Campbell (229) Doing his bit for global warming by producing a lot of hot air

3 Clubs - Warren Truss (156) The only Truss that provides no support

2 Clubs - Julian McGuaran (277) The Rat who used his finger to show that, despite thoughts to the contrary, he can count to one

Ace Hearts - Wilson "Ironbar" Tuckey (174, 192, 250) Believes that family members of politicians shouldn't have to obey the law

King Hearts - John Howard (47, 55, 65, 72, 88, 105, 109, 118-19, 164, 167, 190, 205, 209, 232, 239, 265, 283, 288, 293) The Prime Miniature, the Rodent, call him what you will. Never told anything by anyone and never did anything

Queen Hearts - Amanda Vanstone (140, 178, 263) Minister for Deporting Australians

Jack Hearts - Brendan Nelson (197, 226, 256) Having stuffed education and health he has now been left in charge of defending the country.

10 Hearts - Kevin Andrews (198, 215) Believes WorkChoices will offer employees the option of being able to do what they're jolly well told.

9 Hearts - Philip Ruddock (86, 179) Minister for Saving Us From Evil Hordes Intent On Slitting Our Throats In The Night

8 Hearts - Richard Alston (58, 184, 188) The eyebrows have it; currently in orbit around the planet Neptune

7 Hearts - Andrew Robb (275) The man with no mates who is upset that working people get paid

6 Hearts - Helen Coonan (55) Accidentally became Communications Minister

5 Hearts - Erica Betz (227) The lovable Tasmanian Senator who is agin' whatever it is he thinks they're going on about

4 Hearts - David Oldfield (172) Believes all Muslims are terrorists

3 Hearts - Ian Hanke (271) Works very hard to make the Liberals workplace laws seem logical - fails

2 Hearts - Nigel Hadgkiss (225) out to stamp out crime in the construction industry - except if that crime is perpetrated by employers


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!

Your Name:
Your Email Address:
Your Country: Your State:
The Tool you wish to nominate:
Type why you think this person should be Tool of the Week here:


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