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October 2002   

Interview: The Wet One
NSW Opposition industrial relations spokesman Michael Gallacher stakes out his relationship with the union movement.

Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Virgin Mobile is sexy and funky, right? Well, only if those terms have become synonyms for dictatorial or downright mean.

Unions: Demolition Derby
Tony Abbott likens industrial relations to warfare and, like a good general should, he is about to shift his point of attack � from building sites to car plants, reports Jim Marr.

Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
For the powerful, consumerism equals freedom, and is all the freedom we need, writes James Goodman

Politics: American Jihad
Let�s get real. The origins of modern Islamic terrorist groups are in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Langley, Virginia not Baghdad, argues Noel Hester.

Health: Secret Country
Oral history recordings are an inadequate tool in trying to find out what happened to Aboriginal stockmen and their communities on cattle stations in Northern Australia, writes Neale Towart

Review: Walking On Water
On the 20th anniversary of the first AIDS-related death, Tara de Boehmler witnesses the aftermath of losing a loved one to the illness in Walking On Water.

Culture: TCF
Novelist Anthony Macris captures life on the shop floor in this extract from his upcoming novel, Capital Volume II

Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
The University of Queensland has sought to join the ranks of union-busting companies like Rio Tinto in trying to sack the president of the local union - and made the mistake of thinking they were dealing with an array of acquiescent academics.


The Soapbox
I Walk The Line
American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has weighed into the Hilton Hotel dispute with this special message to the workforce.

Mekong Daze
Union Aid Abroad's Phil Hazelton fires off a missive from Laos where he is spending a year working with the community.

Month In Review
Bush Whackers
It was a month where the world teetered on the brink of peace, no thanks to the leader of the free world, writes Jim Marr

The Locker Room
The Laws Of Gravity
Phil Doyle goes looking for the fine line that separates sport from an exercise in time-wasting

Snouts in the Trough
It�s AGM season in the corporate world, and deal after shady deal is being exposed as highfliers treat company accounts like the proverbial honey-pot.

Songs of Solidarity
There has been a proud history of pro-worker tunes dating back to the early days of the 20th century, which will be continued in a new CD, writes Dan Buhagiar.


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.


 �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

 The CFMEU Race Debate #1
 The CFMEU Race Debate #2
 Keeping it Clean
 Sue the Leaders?

Wrong Way, Go Back
The weekend machinations over the structure of the ALP are in danger of missing the fundamental point: Labor�s current malaise is caused not be an excess of core values but through a deficit.


 Corrigan Fires Shot in Rail Showdown

 Fight Begins For Long Weekends

 Experts to Arrest Drug Test Outbreak

 Jobs Auction Hitting Bank Workers

 Libs Pledge Moderate IR line

 Workers Kick Grand Final Goal

 NSW Screws Down Lid on Funeral Scams

 Hilton Strike Break Plans in Tatters

 Detention Centre Workers Demand Safety Search

 Religious Teachers Win Legal Coverage

 Pressure Builds on Parking Sting

 US Docks Lockout Hits Sea Trade

 Activists Notebook

 Jacks and Jills
 Shame on Murray
 Use or Abuse of Long Term Casuals
 Speaking in Tongues
 Casual Days
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The Locker Room

The Laws Of Gravity

Phil Doyle goes looking for the fine line that separates sport from an exercise in time-wasting


"Pro football is not the place for a psychiatrist" Arnold Mandel, US Pro Football Psychiatrist

What is sport?

Is it the thrill of the chase? Is it the uncertain outcome? Is it, as Eric Blair said, war minus the shooting?

Well, if that's the case then accountancy is a sport and rock climbing isn't.

There was a news report the other day that tried to pass off Ballooning as a sport. This left your humble correspondent saddened and depressed.

Truly these are troubled times when any mind escaping pursuit is passed off as some pseudo competition - and even activities that carry no risk are imbued with the palaver that surrounds that intangible beast we will, for argument's sake, call sport.

There is certainly a risk inherent with rock-climbing. The risk is that if you pursue this activity for an length of time then it is highly likely you will spend unhealthy amounts of time in cafes committing the sin of Onan.

"Onan spilt his seed on the ground and the Lord saw and was displeased."

Well, that's what the Bible reckons anyway.

I grew up thinking the Bible was Rugby League Week.

Life was simple. Winter meant hypothermia and watching Queensland get beaten, and summer meant sunstroke and watching Queensland get beaten.

No one went rock-climbing.

Life was good.

Extreme sports were Lacrosse and soccer. I mean, it was a pretty extreme thing to do. You stood a good chance of alienating yourself from sensible company, and becoming a social outcast. What could be more extreme than that?

These days the buzz is steeped in verisimilitude, and we claim our adventures vicariously. What is it that drives a person to engage in a pursuit that has all the trappings of a dangerous exercise, when the actual risk is minimal?

Marketing gurus understand that it is perception, rather than reality, that drives the human mind. If we think it's dangerous then it is. The threat of danger creates thrill. Best of all, because the danger has no

basis in reality, the chances of getting hurt are less than that of crippled prawn in a flock of seagulls.

The reality is rock-climbing is incredibly safe due to an amazing degree of precaution that is taken. If people were really into extreme sports they'd hang out at the Cross-Keys Hotel with an 'ALL BIKERS ARE POOFS' T-shirt on.

But that doesn't suit your yuppified sense of adventure. The problem with extreme sports is that they are actually so sanitised that it becomes a case of 'you want to be there, but you don't want to travel'.

There is no real danger, no chase and the result is pre-determined.

If these people really did have faith in the abilities of their multi-thousand dollar mountain bikes they'd sell their car. But, as we now know, it's the perception that counts.

More people get kicked to death by mules in Australia each year than eaten by sharks, but no one's produced the 'Killer Mules' video.

What these faddish sports do give us is a clue to what sports really are about - it's more ego than id that runs out onto a football ground on a muddy mid-winters afternoon.

Phil Doyle - preparing to take the new ball from the southern end


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