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Issue No. 316 21 July 2006  

Call Security
There's a bloke, a pollster, prowling the country with a tale for the centre-left about messages and constituencies.


Interview: The Month Of Living Dangerously
When the mobs took over the streets of Dili it was the people of East Timor that bore the brunt. Elisabeth Lino de Araujo from Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA was there to witness what happened.

Unions: Staying Mum
Penrith mums, Linda Everingham and Jo Jacobson, are at the heart of a grassroots campaign to boot Jackie Kelly, out of federal parliament. Jim Marr caught up with one half of the sister act.

Economics: Precious Metals
There's a lot of spin around AWAs in the mining industry, but Tony Maher argues all that glitters is not gold.

Industrial: The Cold 100
The Iemma Government has come up with 100 reasons why WorkChoices is a dud, with 100 examples of ripped off workers

History: The Vinegar Hill Mob
This month's Blacktown Rally was not the first time workers had stood up for their rights in the region, writes Andrew Moore.

Legal: Free Agents
Is an independent contractor a small businessperson or a worker? The answer depends upon whether the contractor is genuinely ‘independent’ or not, writes Even Jones.

Politics: Under The Influence
Bob Gould thinks Sonny Bill Williams is a hunk; he reveals all in a left wing view of The Bulletin’s 100 most influential Australians, questioning the relevance of some, and adding a few of his own.

International: How Swede It Was
Geoff Dow pays tribute to the passing of Rudolf Meidner, one of the architects of the Swedish model of capitalism.

Review: Keating's Men Slam Dance on Howard
These punk rockers are out to KO WorkChoices. Nathan Brown joins the fray.


 Hendification Blurs WorkChoices ll

 Visa Rorts Minister Urged to Quit

 Organiser On Front Line

 Fire Brigade Chokes on Tests

 Union Backs Man of Steel

 $3 Billion Dollar Chalkies

 Lib Pans Telstra Job Cuts

 James Hardie Joins AWA Crusade

 Job Network Unravels

 Andrews Discovers Irony

 Big Business Bashes Bush

 Howard Pinches Pay

 Tilers Spark Korean Protest

 Activists What's On


The Soapbox
Work Choice: US Military Style
John Howard has learnt a few lessons on workers rights from his Texan buddy, writes Rowan Cahill.

Westie Wing
As Pru Goward slams into the glass ceiling of the NSW Liberal Party, Ian West considers how women are faring under the Howard-Costello Government.

The Locker Room
A World Away
Phil Doyle is pleased that a display of subtle beauty and athletic grace has been overtaken by some good old-fashioned mindless violence

 Balancing Act
 Sick of Ants
 Swimming Uphill
 Praise from Belly
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Letters to the Editor

Sick of Ants

I was revolted at the sycophantic behaviour of our labour premiers towards John Howard re the COAG meeting. Obviously anyone would support the vaunted $4 billion for mental health; if it delivers even one more psychiatric nurse, let alone, a new mental hospital and not just more paper in triplicate.

Are our ALP premiers so threatened by Howard and Costello's machiavellian double act, that they accept the first offer made by Howard, and 'crow' as if it were a victory. This is not a shining example of cooperative federalism. It is cooperative 'roll-overism'.

Back in the 1980's Premier Court snr of WA and Bjelke-Peterson of QLD used to threaten to secede from the federation, when the federal government of the day wanted to enact a policy when one of them thought threatened their states rights, or they just plain wanted to thwart Bob Hawke from enacting a piece of ALP policy. Sometimes it worked and either Hawke or, before him, Fraser had to give up on whatever they had planned.

It is a pity that none of our premiers used it, purely as a negotiating tool over either the recent IR legislation, to force some moderation, or with last years anti terror legislation. Again, not with any intention of actually leaving the federation, but as a tactic to force some watering down of the more draconian aspects. By this time next year we could well have two coalition state governments.

Any opportunity for all states acting together against Howard will be lost for at least three years, or they could've refused to hand over the GST revenue, for say 6 months, as an alternative tactic. The states had an opportunity of provoking some sort of constitutional crisis, to get a better deal. An opportunity was missed.

All governments seem to have a policy of diverting the public's attention from the above issues by providing a modern equivalent of the old, "beer and circuses" - now called the Commonwealth Games, Olympics, World Cup soccer, celebrity weddings, or weekly gladiatorial sporting contests, NRL and AFL, partly funded by Rupert Murdoch.

For reasons best known to itself the NSW Government allows the guts to be metaphorically and financially kicked out of Jeff Shaw; by a glorified Kangaroo court, that is judge, jury and sentencer. Shaw was not only one of the most brilliant ministers, but ironically, one the most ethical and decent.

I suppose that's considered part of the publics 'entertainment'. Magazines are filled with the life dramas, and weight loss crises of third rate celebrities, that hardly anyone has ever heard of, while our resources, and some industries are going overseas on the cheap. Like good ants we work ever harder for less wages on a one-way race to the bottom trying to earn less than our competitors in China. After spending more than ever on petrol we try to fill our homes with consumer goods and clothes made in China. I think there is some irony in this somewhere, but it's not funny.

F Mitchell, NSW


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