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Issue No. 320 18 August 2006  

Fixing the WorkChoices Mess
While the Rights at Work campaign has galvanised opposition to the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation, the debate about what sort of system should replace it is just hotting up.


Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Macquarie Street and Canberra are squaring off over safety in the workplace, NSW Minister for Industrial relations, John Della Bosca, explains what's at stake.

Unions: Fighting Back
When John Howard's building industry enforcer started threatening people's homes, one couple hit the road. Jim Marr met them in Sydney.

Industrial: What Cowra Means
The ruling on the Cowra abattoir case highlights the implications of the new IR rules, according to John Howe and Jill Murray

Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Howard Government hypocrisy is showcased in its climate change manoeuvring, Stuart Rosewarne writes:

Politics: Page Turner
A new book leaves no doubt about whether the faction came before the ego, Nathan Brown writes.

Economics: The State of Labour
The capacity of the state to shape the political economy and thus improve the social lives of the people must be reasserted, argues Geoff Dow.

International: Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

History: Liberty in Spain
Worker Self-Management is good management. The proof in Spain was in Catalania, Andalusia and continues in the Basque Country, as Neale Towart explains.

Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
Phil Doyle thought he'd find nostalgia, but instead Vulgar Press' new book, Maroon & Blue is a penetrating insight into the suburban mind under stress.


 Spin Bowls Fair Pay

 “Battler” Liberal on Safety

 Radio Rentals Launches Hit

 Under the Pump

 Privacy Goes East

 Which Bank Tossed Out of Court

 Mum Lashes Feds

 Sack Boss a Loser

 Let's Fly AWA

 Star City Bangs Wages Drum

 Prof Offers AWA Lesson

 Howard Stands By His Men

 Wife Miscarries After Attack

 Activist's What's On!


The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter One - Tommy and "The Boy"

Westie Wing
Ian West wonders what might happen if the NSW Coalition actually did win power next March at the State elections.

 Love Me Slender
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Tool Shed

The Man Who Wasn't There

Low pay commission boss Ian Harper expressed a desire to meet low-income earners a while back, and he's discovered a most toolworthy way to go about it.


Ian Harper's journey through life in a parallel universe appears to be going smoothly, untroubled by the appearance of any low-paid people from the real world.

The reality challenged Harper expressed a wish to meet low-income earners a while back.

Harper appears to be troubled that what he wished for may actually come true.

So Harper has done what lots of ordinary people do when they want to meet someone - he's hired a PR agency.

Of course most low-income earners have access to a PR agency.

When dealing with Centrelink, or negotiating an AWA, ordinary folk are often known to get on the blueberry and talk media with the guys down at the agency.

And who else to have their finger on the pulse of what ordinary Australians think and feel, but some ponytail wearing, banana swallowing goose from Crows Nest or South Yarra.

It really shows what Harper's low pay commission is all about; a vehicle for bible thumping Harper to continue his mendacious hypocrisy unabashed, providing window dressing for the Federal Government that it is going through some sort of legitimate process, when it is a forgone conclusion that he is about sending a sizeable portion of the Australian citizenry off to a third world existence.

Exactly what sewer Harper emanated from remains unclear, yet the man who thinks sweat shops are a good idea, and that the people cooking his food, washing his dishes and scrubbing his toilets are overpaid, has decided to distance himself from any accountability with the Australian public.

His idea of 'meeting' people consists of sending some B grade PR flack out into the real world to sound out

The last time this was effectively used as a form of public administration was during the reign of Louis the XVI - the French king was fond of sending his musketeers out into the countryside to deliver the kings will at the business end of a barrel.

Unfortunately the technique embraced by Harper was so popular in Monarchial France that the citizenry rose up against the powers that were, leaving many who supported the Harper-Louis XVI method sans head courtesy of the astonishingly efficient guillotine.

While Harper's intellectual prowess remains untroubled by reality, common sense, or anything that's actually going on in front of his face, his sanity must be called into question if he thinks that the Fair Pay Commission can get away with public consultation consisting of sending some smiling idiot out to

This must be a fantastic contribution to making those of us who will be affected by the Low Pay Commission feel so included in the decision making process.

In fact, Harper's concern for us runs so deep that he doesn't want to be sullied by actually meeting us and hearing what we think.

We look forward to Harper sending a PR flack along to meet with the Federal Government, the Business Council of Australia, ACCI and Australian Business Limited, after all, he would in no way be biased against the ordinary people who merely have to survive on the basis of his decisions would he?

Besides, our Tool Of The Week is a busy man. It takes up a lot of time making dumb decisions that alienate and annoy the general public.


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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