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Issue No. 310 09 June 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

I'm No Economist, But ….
I'm no economist, but there a few things about the national economic debate right now that I don't quite get.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Rock Solid
Bill Shorten gives the inside story on the Australian Workers Union's involvement in the Beaconsfield rescue.

Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Phil Oswald bought up his kids to believe in their rights; so when his 16-year old daughter was told to cop a pay cut she was never going to take it quietly.

Politics: The Johnnie Code
WorkChoices is encrypted deep in the PM's political DNA, writes Evan Jones

Energy: Fission Fantasies
Adam Ma’anit looks at the big business push behind the 'clean nuclear' debate that is sweeping the globe.

History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
The WorkChoices Penal Powers are the latest in a long line of penal sanctions against trade unions, writes Neale Towart

International: Closer to Home
If Australia can forgive its debt to Iraq, why not to Indonesia and the Philippines, write Luke Fletcher and Karen Iles

Economics: Taking the Fizz
While the Treasurer has been popping the post-Budget champers, Frank Stilwell gives a more sober assessment.

Unions: Stronger Together
Amanada Tattersall looks at the possibilities of strengthening alliances between unions, environmental and community organisations

Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in a film about racism and retribution, writes James Gallaway.

Poetry: Fair Go Gone
Employers in the land rejoice, for we are girt by greed.

N E W S

 Grandmother Fights Fabrication Company

 Bog Standards, Hanssen Exposed

 Foxtel Channels Contracts

 Telstra Dials Up A Shocker

 Viva La Resolution

 Smirk Boss Loses Control

 Iemma Told To Change At Central

 On The Tiles

 APHEDA Offices Attacked

 Vanstone Sits On Wages

 PM Slap for Battered Women

 "Spineless" Andrews Apologises

 Howard Lags “Best Practice”

 Harper's Bizarre Theories

 Process Abused - Call Peter McIlwain

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
The Beaconsfield Declaration
As the Prime Minister feted Brant Webb and Todd Russell, their colleagues were outside with a message to the rest of Australia.

The Locker Room
Run Like You Stole Something
Phil Doyle observes that there are some tough bastards out there.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
That fun-loving friend of the workers, Ian West, reports from the red leather of the Bear Pit.

Education
Class Action
Phil Bradley draws the lines between education funding and the current skills crisis.

L E T T E R S
 Her Honour Judge Judith Scheindler
 Greens Are Good For You
 Calling All Micks!
 Coming Up Swinging
 Belly's Bit
 Mining For Gold
 Blood Spangled Banner
 Never To Be Repeated Offer
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Tool Shed

All In The Nuclear Family


This week Ziggy keeps an open mind about the Tool Shed.

*****

The-has-been-that-never-was surfaced again this week, putting 'conflict' back in the phrase 'conflict of interest'.

Ziggy Switkowski, fresh from his success with the Telstra share price, has been appointed as Officer of the Wedge for the master of the pointless distraction, Dear Leader Howard himself.

Howard correctly pointed out that Uncle Ziggy is "a proven person in the commercial area".

He omitted to elaborate that what Ziggy had proven was his ability to send a share price a long way south and take a gold plated telecommunications network and replace it with two tin cans and a piece of string.

Ziggy is a nuclear physicist, but it is kind of reassuring that he ended up as a telecommunications executive, anyone as incompetent as Ziggy would be downright dangerous left alone with a nuclear reactor.

After he screwed up his job at Telstra, Ziggy escaped the lynch mob by landing himself a gig with the cuddly folk over at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, who recently produced a report that - surprise, surprise - found out that nuclear power is a jolly good thing.

Which is a bit like Bookmakers holding an inquiry into whether or not gambling is a good thing.

So, in the interests of providing people with a distraction from various wheat board scandals, penny pinching and the new slavery laws, Dear Leader Howard turned to Ziggy to head an impartial inquiry into a foregone conclusion on whether or not we would buy a really, really big microwave oven.

Luckily Ziggy is apparently keeping what he calls an open mind about the foregone conclusion. This is a relief, as someone from a parallel universe like Ziggy could come up with something very imaginative in the area of power generation left to his own devices.

Whether or not Ziggy is keen on building something that will wipe out an area the size of Albury-Wodonga and render it uninhabitable for 75,000 years is a moot point.

Howard is no more interested in having a debate about nuclear power than he is interested in Morris Dancing, what he really needs is a toothless attack dog to savage the anti nuclear lobby with a wet lettuce and get some good old fashioned green baiting back in the papers to stop all this reality that is creeping in.

And Ziggy is the perfect man for the job - Smithers to Howard's Monty Burns.

If they were interested in policy development - which they're not - we'd have a debate about all the energy alternatives, including harnessing hot air from failed Telco executives, surely an inexhaustible energy supply if ever there was one.

In the meantime Ziggy Switkowski And the Spiders From Mars will go through the motions, calling for submissions, holding panels and generally making themselves useless.

Luckily the taxpayer will foot the bill, which saves the Federal Government from having to spend more money on fluff and bubbles like infrastructure, education and hospitals, when we know that what we really need is another inquiry with a foregone conclusion.

Perhaps we could have an inquiry into how much taxpayers dosh can be pissed up against the wall creating a wedge in order to distract people from the fact that Ziggy's erstwhile masters are robbing the country blind.



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