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September 2002   
F E A T U R E S

Interview: Still Flying
Flight Attendant’s Association international secretary Johanna Brem looks at life in the air since last September’s terrorist attacks.

International: President Gas
NSW Firefighter’s president Darryl Snow sent this missive to his members on the anniversary of a day when 343 of their colleagues died in the line of duty.

Politics: Australia: A Rogue State?
ARM director Greg Barnes argues that September 11 has summoned a new era of isolationism and international lawlessness.

Unions: Welfare Max
Maximus Inc is big, American and controversial. Right now its knocking on the door of Australian welfare delivery and there is every chance the Howard Government will usher it inside, reports Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Welcome to Telstra!
A Telstra call centre has joined the race for Bad Boss after sacking a pregant woman who had the audacity to need to use the toilet.

Health: Fat Albert: The Grim Reaper
Workers Online's cultural dietician Mark Morey chews the fat over this week's conference on child obesity

Satire: Iraq Pre-empts Pre-emptive Strike
Saddam Hussein has launched a pre-emptive strike on the United States to prevent it from pre-emptively striking Iraq first.

Poetry: A Man From the East And A Man From The West
Resident Bard David Peetz has penned this ode to the sacked Hilton hotel workers

Review: The Sum Of All Fears
Tara de Boehmler checks in to see that America’s cultural cringe is alive, well and sponsored by Marlboro cigarettes

C O L U M N S

Legends
Gough's Plaza
Labor's living legend challenged NSW Labor to lift its game as he attended a renaming of 2KY House to Gough Whitlam Plaza.

The Locker Room
Support The System That Supports You
This system is a certainty, a moral, a good thing and a knocktaker; well, at least according to Phil Doyle

Bosswatch
RIP Chainsaw Al
One of the heroes of corporate downsizing has been cut down but his memory lives on with golden handshakes for leaders of failed businesses still thick on the ground.

Awards
The Importance of Being Ernie
It was the tenth annual “Ernie” Awards for sexist behaviour and Labor Council’s Alison Peters was amongst the noisy punters

Week in review
Lest We Forget
You can’t help a sneaking suspicion, Jim Marr writes, that George Bush is conscripting the dead of September 11, 2001, to lead his push for another war in the Gulf…

Activists
Workers Out!
Gay and Lesbian trade unionists are organising an international conference to develop a global response to homophobia in the workplace, writes Ryan Heath

E D I T O R I A L

The Legacy of 11/9
From the orgy of righteous indignation that has enveloped the ‘Free World’ this week a more chilling truth is emerging: if the suicide bombers were attacking Liberal-Democracy they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

N E W S

 ‘Robbed Generation’ Seeks Stolen Wages

 One Year On: Ansett Crash Still Hurts

 Cole Exposed By Immigration Scam

 Car Workers on Howard Hit List

 Mystery Windfall for Hilton Workers

 Shock: Abbott Backs Workers

 Union Billboards Censored

 Track Grab Ignores Lessons of Glenbrook

 Casual Approach to Air Safety

 Bosses Say No Living Wage For NSW Childcarers

 Pastry Workers Tell Boss To Get Puffed

 Injury Toll Mushrooms

 Victorian Zookeepers Down Buckets

 Pride and Safety for Workers Out!

 Activists Notebook

L E T T E R S
 The CFMEU Race Debate #1
 The CFMEU Race Debate #2
 Keeping it Clean
 Sue the Leaders?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Health

Fat Albert: The Grim Reaper


Workers Online's cultural dietician Mark Morey chews the fat over this week's conference on child obesity
 

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As a child one of my favourite morning shows was undoubtedly the irrepressible Fat Albert: a youth of somewhat ample proportions but nevertheless the youngster most likely to bring understanding compassion and commonsense to the schoolyard. No more! He is the repugnant spawn of all that is wrong with our children, he is, 'tubby' and an anti-hero. Bill Cosby is making your children fat. Fat Albert would now represent all that is wrong with the world (well the eating part of it anyway).

Our kids are getting fat. This week I was able to squeeze in a couple of slices of the NSW Summit on Childhood Obesity. Now despite the ribbing I got from my fellow workers I decided to remain my ever watchful but open minded self. So fat was a feminist issue, now it's a parental issue! Does anyone else find it slightly strange that despite some two thirds of the world's children dying of starvation we in Sydney Australia are having a conference about fat kids? Sure it's a legitimate health issue but really.

And boy, as we were told this is a huge issue caused by the convergence of a variety of factors such as parents being too frightened to let their children out by themselves, crime, urban design, public liability insurance, children not being able to develop appropriate motor skills to catch a ball etc etc. And here I am thinking isn't it the fact that parents are feeding their kids shit food and not making them play outside for at least an hour a day? But wait for it, the professionals have decided there is no silver bullet answer, so I guess we will have to continue to fund more researchers in order for them to release reports telling us that when you eat too much and don�t exercise you get fat.

Just as an aside, to ensure those mothers out there who are working and struggling to make ends meet feel worse, the conference was told mothers who do not breastfeed for the first six months of their child's life will not only fail to give their child the best start in life they will contribute to making their kids fat. How the hell does any debate on breast-feeding always get into any health debate regarding children? The Nursing Mothers Association is everywhere. That�s what I always like to see, the old middle class chestnut of breastfeeding rammed up the proverbial at every opportunity.

And then of course we get into the old canteen debate. What should schools provide in their canteens etc. I can tell you from experience rather then the Education and Health Departments worrying about the bloody food in the canteen. Why don't they have a good look at the availability of breakfast clubs in schools?

What's that? I hear you say. It's a scheme for young people and children who don't get fed at home for one reason or another. And before you say anything, yes there are numerous areas in Sydney where children don�t get fed at all prior to getting to school. For most of the people at the conference, who would not have come across these people, they are called 'the economically disadvantaged'. That's right, people who can't AFFORD TO BUY FOOD. So why not start looking at children who get nothing rather than focusing on children who are obviously getting too much or as the conference would have it 'Not the appropriate balance of the important food groups', aaaaaaaaaaaaaah

And what is it with this TV advertising thing? Sure 80% of the advertising for food products is outside the core food groups. Lets face it, which self-respecting kid is going to throw a tantrum to pressure their parents into buying them broccoli? And sure there is a lot of program placement on commercial TV, that's why its called commercial TV. It continues to amaze me that when there is stuff on TV that people don't like they feel compelled to continue watching and then write or phone their complaints to the appropriate bodies. For God sake TURN IT OFF or even, wait for it, tell your kids why the food is shit, or, heaven forbid, say no.

If you haven't picked it up I found this conference annoying and painful. It's the great middle class masses worrying about a bloody issue that the wealth of Western Society has created. Indeed there is a role for unions in this, it's about workplace flexibility and work practices in relation to reasonable hours and family friendly policies. Thankfully, I am in control of what I feed myself and sure maybe there are people that don't know all they need to to be able to feed their children properly so why doesn't the government do something about this at a community level like, boost funding to early childhood clinics, or programs that provide young people with education about food, programs that assist parents to understand nutrition or even programs that provide food for children in disadvantaged areas.

I don't know; we seem to be able to run an Olympics but can't get the message out about food. And at the end of the day if people don't want to do this then that is the great thing about being responsible and living in a democracy, you actually have to take some responsibility for yourself and sure it is hard for children to do this but why not start at school. At least that way they could have access to good food in canteens if so directed by the Education/Health Departments and if parents want their children to have a lolly or soft drink they can provide it.

Anyways I'm off for a falafel roll and a guava juice.


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