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Issue No. 307 19 May 2006  

Open for Business?
While our focus in recent months has rightly been on the federal political arena, the first skirmish in the battle for rights for NSW workers will occur at the state election, due in just nine months.


Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Reverend Jim Wallis is leading a crusade to take the moral debate into the public arena.

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Government has begun a series of workshops to sell its WorkChoice vsision. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Lockout!
Jim Comerford’s eyewitness account of the 15-month Lockout of 10,000 New South Wales miners in1929-1930 records the inside story of Australia’s most bloody and bitter industrial conflict

Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Professor Ron McCallum argues the WorkChoices laws are built on a fundamental fiction.

Politics: Labor Pains
Labor has dealt itself out of the crucial workplace relations debate by failing to articulate a credible policy alternative to Howard’s new WorkChoices legislation, argues Mark Heearn and Grant Michelson

Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Evan Jones pays tribute to John Kenneth Galbraith, a big man who never stopped arguing that economics should serve the public good, not create public squalor.

Corporate: House of Horrors
Anthony Keenan takes a tour of Sydney’s notorious, Asbestos House, courtesy of Gideon Haig.

History: Clash Of Cultures
Neale Towart with a new take on Mayday through the words of a punk icon

International: Childs Play
An ILO report into Child Labour shows some progress is being made to curb this gobal scurge .

Culture: Folk You Mate!
Phil Doyle dodges Morris Dancers to find signs of Working Life at the National Folk Festival in Canberra over the Easter Weekend.

Review: Last Holeproof Hero
Finally, a superhero who has worked out how to wear his underpants. Nathan Brown ogles V for Vendetta


 Laughing All The Way To MacBank

 Perth Apartments Go Like a Bomb

 AWAs - Just Say No!

 Andrews Puts Contracts on Families

 Safety Laws Mine New Depths

 Builder Threatens Homes

 Beazley to Halt Maxi-Scam

 Umpire Stumps Minister

 Worker Dumped Over Casual Affair

 Councils Trash Workers

 Union Journo Escapes Fiji

 Canucks Crash Howard’s Party


The Soapbox
Albo's Meltdown
Labor's environment spokesman Antony Albanese argues that Chrernobyl is one reason why the ALP should stand firm on nuclear.

The Locker Room
A Sort Of Homecoming
Phil Doyle plays to the whistle.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West reports from Macquarie Street on some strange collective acction.

 Psychometric Testing for Bullies
 Pleased with Beazley
 What is Working Class
 National Day of Protest
 Tax Cuts
 Independent Contractors
 Drought Proofing
 Higher Profile for Labor
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Tool Shed

The Full Nelson

Brendan Nelson has run out of excuses for why he shouldn't be a Tool.


The Jack of Hearts has trumped himself this time.

It is very strange that someone familiar with the medical principle of "do no harm" should find himself overseeing something as useful as Australia's Defence infrastructure.

Luckily Nelson is able to embrace the Howard government principle of "no care, and no responsibility" thus saving him from actually being accountable for the fantastic achievements of the Defence Department in recent times.

While we may shake our heads about an institution that seems to think that spitting on women is a brave and manly act, or wonder how it is that someone can lose several million dollars down the back of the lounge, or even why we would buy a helicopter that can't fly at night or over water, we can rest assured that the safety and security of a nation is in the hands of someone as principled as Mr Nelson.

Now, Brendan mightn't be the smartest bloke that's ever wielded a stethoscope, he does, nonetheless, possess all the talents necessary to rise in the ranks of the current show in Canberra.

Indeed, Dear Leader Howard took a break from his conga-line duties in the US to disagree with Blind Freddy and actually claim that the Department of Defence was, in fact, competent.

This raised eyebrows down at the club, where a few old boys had been muttering into their ports, because there is a tide of opinion that would indicate that things are, in fact, pointing 180 degrees from the position adopted by Gunner Nelson.

Now, Nelson may appreciate the many photo opportunities presented to the Minister for Playing Armies, but it's important to remember that Nelson has always been a big picture man, not one to be bound down by red tape, details or common sense.

And so it comes to pass that the boots fall apart, the equipment fails, the pay is crap and indignity after indignity is dumped upon what M*A*S*H referred to as 'enlisted personnel' and other indians in the defence infrastructure, while the Brass over at HQ continue to spend like, well, a drunken sailor, ensuring that Australia has the very best technology for the defence of the nation, such as ensuring that the Officers mess at Duntroon is suitable stocked with Grange and Larks Uvulas in Aspic.

Now, some foolish citizens would think that the defence establishment is about ensuring that our ever-growing list of enemies is kept at bay so that the general citizenry can celebrate the many freedoms that being an English colony entitles us.

Brendan Nelson has taken it upon himself to dispel such opinions.

He has, quite rightfully, shown us how the Defence Establishment is, in fact, a nice little earner for the idiot sons of the landed gentry (also known in Yachting circles as the Officer Class), an outlet for the buffoonery of chaps from good private schools, a good photo opportunity for conservative politicians, and a wonderful instrument for distracting people's attention to the fact they are being robbed blind by the Federal Government

Then there's also the fantastic bogey-man of terrorism, where the Defence industry can play a brilliant role in whipping up public hysteria to a perceived threat, and thus enable Nelson and his cabinet colleagues to address what might, in a sober assessment, be considered real threats to our way of life - such as living standards heading off towards South America while the environment takes on a very Saharan hue.

And if a few people get killed along the way, or their bodies mislaid, this is no cause for concern, as any body or report can be conveniently mislaid and the families of service personnel considered collateral damage.

Given the state of the Defence establishment in this country today maybe Minister Nelson should have stuck to his original medical career, god knows, he would have made a damned fine proctologist.


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