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Issue No. 303 21 April 2006  

Brand Spanking
It took the Easter Bunny, a couple of diplomatic crises and a bit of classic Howard wedge politics to shift industrial relations off the front pages, but if you think the story is over, forget it.


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.


 Costello Plans Super Swindle

 Control Freak Turns Hand to AWAs

 ‘Clean Start’ Sweeps Into Action

 Fleas Leave Andrews Scratching

 The $130 Question: What is He On?

 Howard Stings Liberal Mum

 Apprentices Assume Missionary Position

 $80,000 for Friendly Act

 David Phoenix Rises Again

 Rights At Work Worth Playing For

 Qantas Sackings Grounded

 Eight Hours Play

 TWU Boss Gaoled

 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.

 Say No To Optus
 Lying Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them II
 What Tax Cuts?
 Belly Says It’s Time
 A Word Of Warning Stop
 Mexican Revolution
 Well That Clears That Up Then
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Tool Shed

The Thinking Person's Idiot

The seven of spades swings into action this week with a wonderful suggestion that we send tens of thousands of Australian job s offshore.


It's a good thing Heather Ridout doesn't work for a living or she may be alarmed by her own advice.

The brains trust for the bosses' union, the Australian Industry Group, was released from whatever institution is holding her these days to share her intellect with us.

Thankfully that didn't take long.

Heather is sick of Australia being a wealthy egalitarian nation. She's had an absolute gutful of a fair days pay for a fair days work. In fact, Heather is spewing that people who didn't go to the very best schools have a job at all!

Those that thought that having to pay people stuck in Ridout's craw were wrong, it's the fact that they've got a job to start with which is annoying her.

Luckily for her she has come up with a solution; abolish the manufacturing sector.

This will free up more capital for her and her mates to get back to the really productive business in Australia, buying and selling each other's waterfront homes and yachts.

After all, what better for a country with a corrupt government and an income source that stems from digging up rocks and growing things than to just throw in the towel and become a third world country.

Luckily this won't affect Heather or any of the other oxygen thieves down at AIG, after all, they are protected by the law of nature that says that rich people should never have to suffer from decisions of their own making.

We've seen the brilliant minds that populate the corporate sector in Australia; from HIH, to One.Tel to the AWB; and now know that, when these people open their mouths, most working Australians instinctively check where their wallet or purse is.

It's certainly a novel idea, that punting 40,000 jobs a year is a good thing.

Using Heather's redoubtable logic we may as well shift the whole country offshore.

After all, where most classical economists talk of the hidden hand of market, trickle down effect and producers manufacturing widgets, Heather is one step ahead - she's abolished the widget entirely.

Ridout lays great faith in a future steeped in research and development. Unfortunately for Heather, R&D involves both venture capital and a brain, both completely lacking from the monied classes in this neck of the woods.

It would be curious as to exactly what Heather thinks we should be researching and developing, considering that 100% of R&D in this country has traditionally been done in public enterprises like Telecom and in publicly funded universities and the CSIRO.

Unfortunately all of these institutions have either been taken out behind the shed and shot or are sleeping on a bench in Belmore Park.

Maybe she thinks we should be researching whether or not Verve Cliqout, Yellowglen or Moet is an acceptable sparkling white to serve at Kirribilli?

And what's most curious of all is Heather's desire to punt 40,000 jobs as, after all, isn't her beloved WorkChoices legislation about creating jobs?

Or can't she recall?


All those who have placed their orders for their Decks Of Tools will be receiving information via email this week. This is your last chance to order your limited edition and attractively packaged deck of tools for the bargain basement price of $10 by emailing [email protected]


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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