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Issue No. 302 07 April 2006  

The Cowra Clause
The plight of the Cowra meatworkers is a fitting illustration of the way the new industrial laws will fundamentally shift the balance of relations in the Australian workplace.


Interview: Head On
John Buchanan has been warning that WorkChoices would be a car crash. Now he surveys the damage.

Unions: Do You Have a Moment?
CFMEU Mining national secretary Tony Maher lets fly at the new industrial laws.

Industrial: Vital Signs
In his new book, Craig Emerson argues that destroying unionism will not be in Australia's long term interests.

Economics: Taxing Times
Frank Stilwell argues that there are progressive alternatives to the slash and burn approach to tax reform.

Environment: It Ain’t Necessarily So
Don't let anyone tell you that jobs and the environment are opposities, argues Neale Towart.

History: Melbourne’s Hours
Neale Towart reluctantly pays homage to Victoria's celebration of the eight hour day.

Immigration: Opening the Floodgates
John Howard is deciding more and more foreign workers should come into this country - without the rights of citizenship, writes John Sutton,

Review: Pollie Fiction
For someone barely 25 years Sarah Doyle has an enviable track record in theatre behind her.

Poetry: The Cabal
Poetry returns to Workers Online with this rollicking ode to employer power.


 Abattoir Boss Slaughters Andrews

 More Slaughter in South Australia

 Pickets Won't Face Cannon

 Teens Win Thousands

 Praise the Laws

 Where The Bloody Hell Is Our Contract?

 Building Crusade Raids Pockets

 Workers Shows Its Hand

 It's All Yellow, Mine Barons

 Lismore Nine Breaks Ranks

 Uber Bosses Clean Up

 Howard's Skills Solution: Sack Apprentices

 Spineless Companies Block Safety

 Boxall in Sickie Backflip

 Activist's What's On!


Democracy in Action
Former NSW Premier Neville Wran's speech to commemorate 150 years of responsible government.

The Westie Wing
There has been activity aplenty in the NSW Parliament this month, reports Ian West.

The Soapbox
From Chaver to Cobber
John Robertson, Unions NSW Secretary, hosting Passover at Sydney Trades Hall discovers the first comrades followed a bloke called Moses.

Postcard from New Orleans
Mark Brenner surveys the long-term impact of Hurricane Katrina on the regions workers.

The Locker Room
My Country Right Or In Lane Five
Phil Doyle observes the golden shower at the recent Commonwealth Games, and asks what it means for the last great unpredictable drama.

Vale Bill Hartley
Unlike some of his comrades, Bill Hartley never departed from his position as a radical nor did he die rich in assets, writes Bob Scates.

 Crap TV
 Social Action
 French revolution
 Fan Mail
 Belly Spreads The Word
 All Out!
 Lying Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
 Help Wanted
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Tool Shed

Misadvising Yourself

Kevin “the Altar Boy” Andrews genuflects as he enters the Tool Shed this week, after he saved us all from himself.


The Ten of Hearts has been at it again.

Our beloved Workplace relations Minister disappeared up his own logical fundament when he accused a NSW employer of misadvising themselfs.

Apparently, according to Andrews, there are sound protections in the WorkChoices legislation, a statement which left them all in stitches over at head office.

About the only obvious protection provided by WorkChoices would be using its couple of thousand odd pages to clobber someone over the head with if they came at you with evil intentions.

It's something we could probably clear up with our Tool Of The Week, after all, this man has, literally, written the book on evil intentions.

The idea that you protect people by sacking them is certainly a unique departure from most conventional wisdom vis-a-vis the workplace.

Only someone as naive as a Siberian Ice Cream salesman could believe that taking away protection for workers wouldn't be ruthlessly used against people who, after all, are only your fellow human beings.

But the fact that we share a common humanity appears to fly obliquely over the beady little eyes of the Altar Boy, along with most other bits of information, such as which direction his arse is pointing in and what day it is.

Now, Kev can be forgiven for being as thick as two short planks, after all, that is the nature of being a part of that class of people that run the shop these days, but when he expects us to be as stupid as him he may run into trouble.

When the pressure from the union movement shining a Klieg Light on the situation at Cowra proved too embarrassing, Kev decided to try a little positive projection.

That Kev would reach for some whacky new age solution should come as no surprise, after all, there really isn't much else left in the kit bag to use to defend a set of laws that will send the standard of living off on a holiday to Argentina for a generation.

So Kev claimed, in true Tony Packard style, that the laws that were used to sack the workers were actually the laws that saved the workers.

Yes, that left everyone else blinking and wondering if Kev was back on the Ritalin or not as well.

Unfortunately Kev's pronouncements on the situation at Cowra were devoid of two essential ingredients: Truth and Common Sense.

While his attempts at positive projection may be considered by some to be a rather advanced form of denial, others with a broader perspective may appreciate that Kev was merely making it all up.

That, and his considered opinion that people were misadvising themselves (which sounds like a rather unconventional activity that appears to run counter to several Vatican Catechisms on keeping the mind and body pure), led to people backing away from Andrews slowly, not taking their eyes off him.

Especially given that his great job-generating policy was seeing people punted from Cairns to Kalgoorlie all week. After all, most people seem to be able to grasp the subtle differences that separate getting a job and getting the sack.

For the slower members of the audience, and that includes you Kev, the difference is that in the former state you have a job, with the latter state meaning you don't have a job.

It is generally accepted that most people on the sane side of the philosophical spectrum see having a job as a good thing, and the absence of a job as a bad thing.

The ten of hearts may wish appreciate this fact as there's going to be a lot of the latter going around in the near future, and a number of people experiencing the bad thing may not be very happy about it at all, and may wish to come after those responsible.

If that happens the responsible parties would probably find a copy of the WorkChoices legislation handy, as a clobbering implement may come in handy.

So our Tool Of The Week is correct, WorkChoices does offer protection, unfortunately not for employees in the workplace though.


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!

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