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December 2002   

Interview: Trade Secrets
Federal Labor�s trade spokesman Craig Emerson is on a mission to bring the shady world of trade talks into the open

Industrial: It�s About Overtime, Stupid
An overtime free-for-all is at the heart of Australia�s hours explosion and it's time to look at a cap on hours, reports Noel Hester from the ACTU�s Working Hours Summit.

Unions: Full Steam Ahead
After two weeks of rallies around the state, rural Rail Towns are making a stand for jobs and safety. Jim Marr reports.

Bad Boss: The BBQ Battle Axe
Manly restaurateur, David Diamond, is a shoo-in for this month�s Bad Boss nomination, leaving Workers Online looking for a good employer who can undo some of his damage.

Economics: Different Dimensions of Debt
Professor Frank Stilwell presented the big picture on debt policy at the Evatt Foundation�s Breakfast Seminar

History: Raking the Coals
Labour historians Rae Cooper and Greg Patmore explain why today�s organisers have much to learn from the lessons of the past.

History Special: Wherever the Necessity Exists
Rae Cooper tracks NSW union organising between 1900-1910 to argue that today�s activists should be looking closer to home for inspiration

History Special: Learning from the Past
Ray Markey looks at union membership growth in the 1880s & 1900s to argue that today�s unions must engage to grow.

History Special: A 'Cosy Relationship'
Barbara Webster looks at Rockhampton between 1916 � 1957 to debunk the �dependence� theory of trade union growth.

Politics: Regime Change for Saddam
Labour lawyer Jim Nolan looks at the challenge for the Left in the current geopolitical stand-off in the Middle East.

International: World War
Europe has suddenly come aflame with industrial action, Andrew Casey reports.

Corporate: Industrious Thinking
Neale Towart looks at the influence of German immigration on Australian industry policy in the post-war period.

Review: Jack High
Mick Molloy�s new flick Crackerjack tells the tale of a traditional bowling club struggling to stay afloat in an industry dominated by pokies, pokies and more pokies, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Culture: Duffy�s Song
Former Labor Council official Mark Duffy�s Sydney super band Sundial clocks in a bit of a corker.

Satire: A Nation of Sooks
The Strewth Institute's Tony Moore looks at the spate of defo suits and wonders if Australia has gone soft.

Poetry: Mr Flexibility
One of the key challenges facing unions, as the ACTU celebrates its 75th anniversary, is confronting the problems of increasing working hours and work intensity under the guise of "flexibility". Our resident bard, David Peetz, takes up that theme this week.


The Soapbox
Economic Migrants
A man - a worker - risks death by machine gun to escape what he is told is a 'workers' state'. He flees East Berlin through a tunnel, dug beneath a cemetery.

And the Winner Is �
It�s that time of the year when we honour the best. In the past week, both the IR Writers fraternity and ACTU have got in the act with more to come.

The Locker Room
More Post-Colonial Madness
Phil Doyle joins the fools and Englishmen out in the midday sun, and finds that it all comes at a price.

Call Waiting
The Howard Government backs off its plans to privatise the rest of Telstra under market pressure. But it�s nothing like the pressure that former HIH directors are under.

Month In Review
Way Down
As Elvis might have said, if he had had a longer-term perspective �ooh, what a month it was, it really was such a month ��


Lessons from History
History has a seemingly infinite capacity to create and debunk myths, as the latest offering from the Journal of Labour and Social History shows.


 And On the Seventh Day � Satan Joins Union

 Security Masks Political Bans

 Members Offered Spotters' Fee

 Casuals Written Out of the Script

 New Mining Bully On the Block

 ACTU Examines The Cap Option On Hours

 No Sweetener for Diabetic Workers

 Pressure Goes on Apartheid Employers

 ASIC Turns Blind Eye on Dodgy Boss

 Family Test Case a Priority Campaign

 Echoes of Prestige Hit Home

 Brutal Bashing Sparks Prison Strike

 Minister Challenged by Cleaners

 ABC Journos Off The Air

 Union Says RSCPA "Kills"...

 Guards Demand Campus Security

 Uni Backs Down On Regional Review

 Peace Returns to US Docks

 Activists Notebook

 Oh Bugger Me!
 State Based Organising
 Gino on the Gong
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The Locker Room

More Post-Colonial Madness

Phil Doyle joins the fools and Englishmen out in the midday sun, and finds that it all comes at a price.


"That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly, they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell." - Thomas Aquinas.

The high farce and tragedy of the current English cricket tour continues apace, with crowds flocking to witness the ongoing demise of the home of flannelled fools.

That people are turning up in numbers is mildly surprising, with most pundits suggesting that it would take a far more competitive English contingent to create interest in the series. This doesn't appear to be the case, as it seems we are actually enjoying the perdition of Englifh cricket. This sporting equivalent of slowing down to watch a car accident has been breaking attendance records at venues across the country.

The Barmy Army are all part of the spectacle, and are a damn sight more entertaining than the English bowling attack, who have become as predictable as the weather.

What the English cricket authorities were smoking when they agreed to the current tour schedule is anyone's guess.

The idea behind the three day warm up games seems more designed to protect the English from a few humiliating defeats at the hands of the state sides, but all it appears to do is leave this psychologically and physically injured side vastly unprepared for the conditions in the test matches.

Nonetheless the Australian side seems to be getting into the swing of things in the lead up to the World Cup,

Speaking of the rest of the world, one match betwen Australia and England that may prove even more a diabolical hurdle than the recent Rugby Union test is the forthcoming game between England and the Socceroos.

The round ball game has been a glaring omission from Australia's pantheon of sporting success stories.

Australia's bizarre contribution to the world game continued last month with Mark Bosnich testing positive to the Bolivian Marching Powder and subsequently finding himself in for a stint of rehab. Here is a bloke who gets paid a small fortune to play the game he loves, is married to a supermodel, and yet remains unsatisfied with life. I guess it must be the English weather.

Meanwhile llittle Lleyton Hewitt pocketed nearly two and a half million bucks for just under four hours work last month, with one commentator claiming that he "earned every cent".

I beg to differ.

Like the vast majority of trade unionists I think the labourer is worthy of his hire, and no one would begrudge someone making a buck out of the talent they may possess. But, as the Carlton and Canterbury football clubs are finding out, success comes at a price - and it is a price that few of us can afford. The payments to elite sportspeople are in the realms of the obscene. Two and a half million dollars would certainly go a long way in junior soccer.

With many of the media outlets that have been pushing up the price of sport over the last two decades in trouble to varying degrees we can see a bit of a shake out in terms of the money available to sport as a whole.

Channell Seven are in court with the National Rugby League over the NRL's pay TV deal with the Foxtus network. It appears at this stage that the NRL may have some difficult explanations to make to people, especially those that are CEO's of NRL Clubs, about $150 million that slipped down the back of the lounge.

One thing is for sure, as the money dries up it will affect the grassroots more than it will the financial future of the Llikes of Lleyton and Mark Bosnich.

So enjoy the tragedy of the English cricket tour while you may - we may never see such a crap contest on free-to-air television in the future.

Phil Doyle - Representing Australia in Lane Four


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