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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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Duffy’s Song

By Zangers

Former Labor Council official Mark Duffy’s Sydney super band Sundial clocks in a bit of a corker.


We're talking 13 tracks of localised anguish, pursuit and introspective commentary in one CD, 'Issues'.

Opening with the driving road track "It hurts", Sundial's debut album is a collection of tracks that don't hurt, don't offend and are easy to listen to. Featuring fully fledged flanged guitars, this album opener is a track that when played live illustrates how tight Duffy's song writing and playing can get.

Some standout tracks on the album include "Something going on", "I will fall" and "Room with a view." Hooky chord progressions, chorus lines and strong lyrics are a feature of these songs, and it's the lush string arrangement on "Room with a view" that is one of the standout moments on the album.

An interesting inclusion is the track named after the band. Part southern delta blues, part folk, it's a twanging acoustic guitar tune complete with whistling, slide guitar and violin.

Having spent time working at the Labor Council of NSW, chief policy adviser to the NSW Treasurer and in recent times offering economic advice as a consultant; Mark Duffy has been a busy man in NSW political circles. Where he has been hiding his penchant for song writing, I don't know.

Perhaps the Premier Bob Carr may one day write a critique of Mark's first major attempt as a leader of an up and coming group! After all, it was a young Mark Duffy and Michael Costa who, as junior officials of the Labor Council launched a stinging critique of the newly appointed leader of the NSW opposition in 1989, belittling his chances of electoral success. Maybe then the score will be one day settled!

As he told ABC radio in a recent interview, Mark Duffy spent time in a ska band back in his hometown of Adelaide. So his interest in music is not new. Duffy has also written songs for local singer Shanley and the award winning Wendy Matthews.

Co-produced by Michael Szumowski, Daniel Denholm and Louise Taylor, "Issues" has the right level of production unlike many new bands that try to go over the top.

Enlisting the support of gun producer Daniel Denholm was a masterstroke for Duffy. Having worked with artists such as The Whitlams, Mark Seymour and Midnight Oil (to name a few), Aria nominee Denholm adds a strong influence to the album's final sound.

'Issues' doesn't really cover any new musical territory but if you don't mind the sound of the Whitlams, Karma County or the Cruel Sea, then this probably right up your alley.

Overall, what you have is an album that is slickly produced, songs that are well structured and melodies that stick in your head. A pretty good effort first up.


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