Workers Online
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Workers Online
  Issue No 83 Official Organ of LaborNet 09 February 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

Tool Shed

Chris Clarke – The Information Rich

The man who talked Bill Kelty into bed with the promise of helping the Information Poor is reported to be set to emerge $81 million richer when his company, Virtual Communities floats.

The revelations, printed in last weekend's Australian Financial Review, are the depressing vindication of LaborNet's criticism of the ill-conceived VC venture to provide computer and Internet packages to working people.

According to the Fin, Clarke has shares in the company worth $32 million and options over shares worth another $49 million.

The value of the shares are based on VC's capital raising amongst a bunch of fellow comrades such as the Packers, the Pratts and the Smorgens - all of whom are also set to make healthy returns for their commitment to working people.

On top of this, the Fin reports that the advertising agency Clarke founded - Pure Creative has also received more than $2 million out of the VC venture for those dinky TV and radio ads that screened last year.

If these figures are correct, it means Clarke will soon be personally wealthier than the entire ACTU! Not bad for two year's work ...

For those who joined the story late, it unfolds like this: Clarke - a marketing wiz formerly with Telstra - teams up with Steve Vizard to convince Bill Kelty that it is his historical destiny to liberate the Information Poor.

Kelty pushed the deal through a ill-informed ACTU executive - shrugging off criticism from the NSW Labor Council that offering the union movement's membership network to a commercial venture for next to nothing was the modern day equivalent of handing over Manhattan Island for a handful of beads.

Now these predictions are proving true: with less than 35,000 members online, VC is heading to public float - at which point it will become a vehicle for the profits of the wealthy shareholders. Thus, the great hijack of the trade union movement will be complete.

On one level Clarke is just a smart young guy who's made a go of it in a tough business environment. Good luck to him. But what a lost opportunity for the movement ...

Disclosure: Workers Online and LaborNet are now involved in an alternate computer-internet packaging model called Getonboard. This venture retains significant ownership with the trade union movement. We will continue to promote this as being in the best interests of the broader movement. That being said, if anyone is prepared to write a defence of VC, we'll be happy to publish it.

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*    Read the AFR article

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 83 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Dispatch from Davos
ACTU President Shahran Burrow reports back on the trade union movement’s presence at last week’s meeting of the heavyweights of global capital.
*  Unions: After the Gold Rush
Recent mass sackings at high-profile e-businesses are beginning to expose the flimsiness of the ‘jobs for all’ predictions made on behalf of the sector.
*  Economics: The Other Davos
While the world’s business leaders met in Davos, a very different gathering was taking place in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Pat Ranald was there.
*  Politics: While We Were Snoozing
As we lay in our banana chair through summer the political world kept turning with a new man in the White House. Here’s what we missed while we were off the air.
*  History: Federation Day, 1901
One hundred years after Australia became a nation, Ralph Sawyer relives the original Federation Day through the eyes of Billy Hughes.
*  International: Burma: The Struggle Continues
As the internatinal community moves to bring Burma to account, APHEDA - Union Aid Abroad is working on the ground.
*  Review: Inside the Journopolis
In his new book, Rob Johnson brings the infamous Cash for Comment Affair to life.
*  Satire: Families Demand Longer Work Hours
A new report confirms the long held suspicion that employees who reduce their workload to spend more time with their spouse and children just end up annoying their families even more.

»  Union Busters Target Call Centres
»  Workers Take Message to World Bank
»  Korean Worker Bashed for Questioning Wages
»  Steelworkers Draw The Line
»  Sartor Thanks Workers for Games by Outsourcing Jobs
»  Outworkers Still Waiting for Action of Sweatshops
»  Workers Casualties in Wentworth Fire Sale
»  Fantastic Win for Furniture Workers
»  Billions Spent on Mine Takeovers
»  No Guarantees on Orange Jobs
»  M5 Project- Worker Pays the Price
»  Forum: Organising Youth in a Hostile Workplace
»  Western Sahara Marks 25 Years of Waiting
»  Action as Australia Considers WTO Ties

»  The Soapbox
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  Cavalier Attitude to Cricketers
»  Unions and the WEF: How should unions bridge the divide?
»  Botsman's Ivory Tower
»  Volunteering a Modest Proposal
»  Well Done, Workers Online

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