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Workers Online
  Issue No 42 Official Organ of LaborNet 17 December 1999  





The Workers Online 1999 Sport Awards

Judged by Peter Moss and Noel Hester

The Bernadette Devlin Proletarian Stirrer Award

Winner: Essendon AFL coach Kevin Sheedy

Silvertail AFL club Carlton confounded the pundits by playing their way into the 1999 Preliminary Final. As the crucial game against Essendon approached, Carlton President and former Liberal Party National President John Elliot declared that his boys would enjoy 'sticking it right up Essendon'. Coach Sheedy, when pushed by journalists, simply mumbled: 'The reason John Elliot is like he the reason we have the Labor Party'.

The Sex Pistols Great Swindle Award

Winner: The Olympics

And the winner is ... Beijing. Oh we wish. Maybe its not too late. Maybe a billion class conscious Chinese proletarians can build the stadiums, the tracks, the velodromes and the pools in 9 months. They got rid of the flies didn't they. We can't do that. Why can't the Olympics just go away. They're even more irritating than the Y2K bug. Whatever made us think that bankrupting NSW for the world's most boring sports event - true, even more boring than the rugby world cup - was a good idea. We should have been suspicious when someone as boring and straight as John Fahey starts dancing like on ecstasy when sleazy old Samaranch dropped us in it. If that's the calibre of the crowd at the party - Fahey, Samaranch, Phil Coles, Richo and the rest of the IOC - I'd rather stay home and watch the Sopranos, a gangster family that at least make you laugh.

The Ted Hopkins Plucked From Obscurity Award

Winner: The 50-something bloke who sat with Tony Lockett in the back of a red convertible during the SCG victory lap after the big fella booted his 1300th goal.

The fans presumed this bemused, portly figure was Plugger's Dad, up from Ballarat to share the special occasion. In fact, the notoriously shy Lockett was reluctant to do the stadium circuit alone and had asked this complete stranger to accompany him and share the glory before 35,000 Swans fanatics.

The Darth Vader Greed Is Good Award

Winner: Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch

You've got to admit that Rupert is consistent. Everything is dispensable to the man who ultimately pays Piers' salary. First it was Murdoch's nationality, then his wife - now it is an entire football code. With respect to the courageous Georgie Piggins, the red-and-green survival campaign has made a tactical error by relying on the law alone. Why not bring Fox Studios and the glamorous A-list social events attended by Lachlan into the frame? We'd like to see angry Souths fans outside telling the Murdochs: 'You can't buy and sell us!'

The Ollie North Late-Blooming Patriotism Award

Winner: Mark Phillipousous

The young Greek-Australian from Melbourne may suffer at times from bad attitude and bad advice - but, gee, can he play tennis. For years he was the torquey prima donna with a big lump of lumber on his shoulder, alienating his supposed Davis Cup team mates and just about everyone else in Australian tennis. Then the Scud steps up to the baseline in France and just about wins the Cup for Australia off his own racquet (with a little help from the unlikely Woodies).

The David Oldfield I'm The Real Captain Award

Winner: Shane Warne

Rob Sitch and The Panel might have exposed the Muller sledging incident, but everyone seems to have missed a telling moment on the Australian team balcony during the cricket World Cup. As the Australian batsmen hit the winning runs in the final, the cameras switched to the balcony to capture the reaction from the rest of the team. Captain Steve Waugh was, appropriately, right in the centre of the shot - but Warne gave him a very visible elbow in the ribs as the spinner jostled for a more prominent position.

The John Howard Knitted Eyebrows Award (a very small trophy)

Winner: Bart Cummings

Just how does he do it? OK, we can understand it working with champions like Galilee or Light Fingers. But how can he take an old horse that has been competing in bush cups in WA and in the space of several months turn him into a top thoroughbred capable of competing with and beating the world's best? It's a clich� but it's true - Bartholomew Cummings is a genius. Bart's Cup-winning formula is well known. 10,000 metres in the legs in the leadups. A good hit-out in the McKinnon on the Saturday. And - kapow - the first Tuesday's in the bag. It sounds so easy but how come no one else can do it? It's mystical, mysterious, spiritual ... that's it! ... Bart Cummings is GOD.

The Lady Godiva PR Coup award

Winner: The Matildas

You can imagine the scene. Soccer Australia asks PR gurus: how can we improve the profile of our young, fit, athletic women internationals. Arrrhhh ... Get them to take their clothes off!! they reply. They're so creative those PR guys and do they work hard for their money. This year's Women's World Cup in the United States consistently drew crowds of 90-100,000. And that was before the Americans started stripping in the final. FIFA bean counters are now toying with the idea of converting the Grand Canyon into a stadium for the next tournament in 2003. (The Matildas were also runners up in the Ted Hopkins Plucked From Obscurity Award.)

The John McEnroe Superbrat award

Winner: Martina Hingis

Martina has a long, long way to go to emulate McEnroe for controversy, colour and charisma. But in a sport dominated by robots she gets the superbrat award for at least trying. She started off the year with a tasteless tirade at the Australian Open accusing emerging French talent Amelia Maurismo of being 'half a man'. Later Hingis showed how she hard she had been working at her superbrat game with a memorable meltdown at the French Open. Tears, tantrums and a lovely screaming fallout with her manager mum sealed superbrat victory. She's not very likeable but anything is better than Pete Yawn Zzzzzzzzampras.

The Curtis Mayfield Darker Than Blue Award

Winner: Anthony Mundine

If angelic Cathy Freeman is one of the best (and most comforting) things to happen to white Australia, Anthony Mundine is the antichrist. In an era of Jordan wannabes - cardboard athletes who won't rock the Nike boat - Mundine is a brilliant, black loose cannon in Australian sport. Choc says what he feels, often before he thinks - that Aborigines still get a raw deal in Australia. Radical.

The Lord Denning White Boys Can't Chuck Award

Winners: Daryl Hair and Ross Emerson

Who needs slow-motion video replays or bio-mechanics experts when you have these cricketing gods? Infallible as the pope, Daryl and Ross are up there with Shane Warne in exposing the bent nature of the sub-continent and preserving the lily white purity of world cricket.

The Lazarus Award

Winner: Mark Occhulupo

Occhulupo's world surfing championship win is a real redemption song. After spending a year working for Hawaiian homeboys to pay for his charlie, a traumatised Occhulupo retired to his couch for several years and ballooned on hamburgers and beer. A surfing geriatric at 34, this is one of the all-time great comebacks.

The Sigmund Freud Etiquette Award

Winner: Julian O'Neill

A drunken shoving match at the Bourbon and Beefsteak, petulant accusations at a Sri Lankan casino, the exposure of a well-toned male member in the lobby of a Coogee Hotel - unpleasant perhaps, but hardly remarkable in the historical context of elite sporting behaviour. This year even Susie Maroney won a guernsey in the 'bad boys' club, with her agent Max Markson rightly surmising that (for Susie, at least) any publicity is good publicity. But rugby league nomad Julian O'Neill proved, in a preseason incident at a NSW country hotel, that he really knows how to party. Casually announcing 'Hey Shlossie, I just shat in your shoe', O'Neill immortalised himself in the pantheon of sporting perversity.

The Emperor's New Clothes Mogadon Award

Winner: The Rugby Union World Cup

Amidst the avalanche of jingoistic hype, few commentators were prepared to state the obvious: The Rugby World Cup had less thrills than a weekend away with the Sisters of Mercy. Totally ruined by rules which reward defensive play and encourage professional fouls, nearly all the big games were won by penalty and field goals. Of the major teams, only the French justified missing out on sleep. With nothing to lose they delivered some wonderful seat-of-the-pants rugby, not to mention the odd Gallic gouge. Yeah, yeah, yeah Australia won it. Another oversized trophy to put on the country's mantlepiece. Another bloody ticker tape parade (I used to work as a courier in the city once and hate ticker tape parades with a passion. Can't they have them somewhere where they don't stop life? Like Kalgoorlie maybe.) But let's be honest - this tournament was a cure for insomnia. Most of those teams were a joke. Uruguay, Romania, the United States. Give us a break. Who'll be there next time - Easter Island, Greenland, Uzbekistan? And what have the IRB warlords done to this game? It's meant to be about scoring tries fellas. Reduce drop goals to about 0.2 points. Outlaw the kicking flyhalf. Take the pea out of the whistle of the Northern Hemisphere refs. I could go on ...


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 42 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Costa Bravo
Labor Council�s chief trouble maker chronicles the battles of the past year and ponders those still to come.
*  Unions: More Wins Than Losses
Workers Online ranks the Top Ten industrial relations stories from a year of frenetic activity.
*  International: Eric Lee's Year in Review
The editor of Labourstart looks back over his favourite stories of 1999.
*  Politics: So Many Questions
It was a year in politics that threw up more questions than answers. We look at some of the sticky ones.
*  Republic: Referendum With Class
Labor heretic Michael Thomspson analyses the failure of the Republican proposition.
*  Environment: Seattle Kills Greens V Jobs Bogey
The sight of US unionists, environmentalists and human rights activists being attacked by police in Seattle shows how far the progressive movement has come.
*  Deface a Face: Give Him a Hairdo
What better present could Michael Costa offer Workers Online readers than the chance to give him a Deface a Face style make over?
*  Labour Review: What's New at the Information Centre
See the latest issue of Labour Review, our resource for officials, activists and students.
*  Review: Cultural Wasteland
Workers Online resident door-bitches Zanga and Paul pass judgement on the year that finished the millennium.

»  What Price Aussie Jobs as Olympics Loom
»  TWU Activist Named Organiser of the Year
»  Unions Lock in New Years Eve Deals
»  'Scrooge' Destroys Staff Christmas
»  Rule Changes to Restructure Council
»  The Great Salary Rip-Off
»  George to Kick Start NSW IR Reforms?
»  Shaw Loses Key Advisers
»  More New Faces at the New ACTU
»  Reith Second Wave Not Beached Yet
»  Peace in the Gong
»  Workers Support Register Gathers Steam
»  Pay Equity Enters Campaign Mode
»  Union Aid Agency to Establish Dili Office
»  Job Vacancies at the LHMU

»  Guest Report
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Piers Watch

Letters to the editor
»  Aquilina's Insult
»  Well Done 1999
»  US Union Site Worth a Look

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