|Issue No 93||27 April 2001|
The Dirty Three
These Tools are prepared to stand up for a principle that not even their Leader will die in a ditch for. The reason? It could only be Blind Ambition.
After two weeks of wooing, these are the only three ALP backbenchers yet to sign up to Della's List, vowing to support amendments to the workers comp package in protection of injured workers.
John Murray claims, as Speaker, he has no Caucus vote (although this has not stopped his Upper House colleague Meredith Burgmann speaking out), while Peter Nagle is in hospital - so we, reluctantly, let these two off the hook.
Otherwise, the entire Caucus minus Messrs McBride, Anderson and Bartlett have come good for injured workers.
Originally this List included about half the backbench, those with the commitment to injured workers to stick their necks out in what can be fairly a hostile environment for Mavericks.
In the past week more and more MPs have been adding their names to the list, typically just before a group of workers were due to hold a protest outside their electoral office.
The have joined with a form of words, which we understand has been vetted by the Premier's office, in the form of a letter to Della.
I am writing to advise that members of the NSW trade union movement have sought my support for amendments to the proposed legislation, which seeks to protect injured workers.
"In your Second Reading speech you indicated your willingness to consider amendments to this legislation.
"I formally advise that I will support any sensible and constructive amendments proposed by the Trade Union movement which will protect the interests of injured workers.
I trust that, through consultation, an amicable agreement can be reached between the NSW Labor Council and the State Government."
Not exactly what one would call going to the barricades, but the statement does represent a commitment to constituents that the signatories will concentrate on the amendments when they go before Caucus, rather than rubber-stamping a piece of promotional material, as occurred with the original Della package.
Even the Premier this week, endorsed the notion of amendments stating it was totally consistent with his own position that amendments would be made to the Della Bosca package.
Yet this trio of wide-eyed idealists are still holding out, casting doubt on whether they have still even turned their confused minds to the proposition before them.
Needless to say, they have earned our respect, not for their policy position, but for their sheer determination to defend the indefensible.
Here's a quick rundown of those who are holding out:
Jim Anderson: Member for Londonderry - Founding Father of the Trogs and a former Mayor of Blacktown. Appears to have confused the National Party as his core constituency. A delegation of rank and file workers is planning to remind him otherwise next week.
Grant McBride: Member for The Entrance - is apparently in line for a Cabinet post so may be attempting to do a bit of brown-nosing. When contacted by Labor Council, McBride vowed he "would not be intimidated" into signing anything. We refer him to Labor Party policy and platform and suggest that if he has signed his membership forms, the rest should follow naturally.
John Bartlett: Member for Port Stephens - we have never heard about this guy before, but obviously he has nothing in common with his namesake in the West Wing. Martin Sheen is so wise and principled he would never attack injured workers. And if he did: Joel and Sam and CJ would walk out in disgust (although now they've hired that blonde Republican, there's a bit of a worry - but Toby will get her measure, as for Sam , hubba bubba).
The purpose of Della's List has always been to give the ALP backbench an opportunity to stand up in defence of injured workers. The vast majority of the Caucus have now signed up - most with relish, some with resignation, a few with outright resentment.
But it is only the Dirty Three who remain, the last men standing, Tools all.
Corporate: The Jobs Myth
Access Economics' Chris Richardson debunks employer claims that increased workers compensation premiums have a dramatic impact on jobs.
Interview: The Workers� Voice
When trade union stalwart Ian West took a seat in the NSW Upper House he was determined to be more than a bench-warmer. Then the Workers Comp legislation hit.
Unions: Postcard from the Pilbara
In the face of unprecedented pressure, BHP workers in the Pilbara are standing together and refusing to sign individual cotnracts.
Economics: Currency Unification: Dollarize or Die?
Dick Bryan asks what happens to an economy when it gives up its domestic currency.
History: Instant History
In his address to the Australian Labour History Conference, the SMH's Brad Norington asks whether there is still time for history.
International: The End of an Era?
The post-Cold War era is over. Something different is developing to take its place. John Passant writes.
Media: The Battle for Aunty
The CPSU's Graeme Thompson ouitlines the campaign to save the ABC and this week's emergency share-holders' meeting.
Review: Share-Holder Nation
A legacy of government-backed privatisations, demutualisations and stockmarket hype over the past decade is the creation of a nation of shareholders.
Satire: SOS: Save the Investment Banker!
Spare a thought for those less fortunate With redundancies at investment banks around the globe looming, now is the time for us to show the world just how much we care. It's just not right.
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