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March 2003   
F E A T U R E S

Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Through a distortion in the time-space continuum, we have found a recording showing how people a few years into the future will deal with health care.

Interview: League of Nations
ICFTU general secretary Guy Ryder on the war, core labour standards and why Australia is an international pariah.

Industrial: 20/20 Hindsight
A retrospective analysis of the Accord is needed to help develop future strategies. Is it worth trying again? And if so, what would need to be different?

Organising: On The Buses
A new rank and file leadership team is standing up for the harried bus driver in the run-up to the NSW State Election

Unions: National Focus
A gaze around the country reveals some inspiring and innovative organising initiatives, a fruitful connection with young workers in South Australia and some typically robust industrial campaigns reports Noel Hester.

History: The Banner Room
On the eve of it’s refurbishment, Jim Marr ventures into one of Trades Hall’s best kept secrets; the room that houses relics of labour’s halcyon days.

International: The Slaughter Continues
Chilling new statistics from Colombia's main trade union confederation CUT: nine trade unionists assassinated in the first two months of this year.

Legal: A Legal Case For War?
Aaron Magner looks at the legal implications of the crusade of the Coalition of the Willing

Culture: Singing For The People
When there’s a struggle for social justice, when a war is brewing or rights are being eroded, the first ones to pen, paper and protest are often the folkwriters.

Review: The Hours
On the eve of International Women’s Day Tara de Boehmler follows the tale of three women who would rather choose death than a life devoid of personal choice.

Poetry: I Wanna Bomb Saddam
Scarier than Star Wars, the latest weapon to be deployed in the battle for Iraq is the Singing Dubya.

Satire: Diuretic Makes Warne's Excuses Look Thin
Australian cricketer Shane Warne today admitted that he was still feeling the after effects of the diuretic he tested positive to.

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Workers Friend
Shock jock Alan Jones snubbed his Liberal mates to bucket the Cole Royal Commission and launch Jim Marr's book

The Locker Room
Boer Bore Boring
In the face of oppression Phil Doyle falls asleep in front of the TV

Guest Report
Dead Labor
The Hawke and Keating legacy is John Howard, Leonie Bronstein argues.

Seduction
Hands Off, Tony
John Della Bosca argues the NSW Industrial Relations System gives his State a competitive advantage.

Bosswatch
Groundhog Day
Another year, another round of corporate excess. Bosswatch returns from its summer slumber to find the same old dogs up to the same tricks.

E D I T O R I A L

Re-considering The Accord
The twentieth anniversary of the Hawke Government’s election provides an opportunity to ponder the Accord’s historical conundrum: how at the moment of the union movement’s greatest influence did it suffer its greatest loss of members?

N E W S

 Sacre Bleu – It’s “La Gong” Now

 Mum Raises Labour Hire Bar

 Investigate the Buggers

 NSW Libs Madder Than The Monk

 Kits Strike Terror into Govt

 West Braces for Shelling

 Executive Pay Under Senate Spotlight

 Clean Energy’s Jobs Bonus

 Zoo Workers Buck ‘Mercy Killing’

 Canberra Firefighters Win Union Backing

 Global Equity Under Spotlight

 Aussie Workers Fight Indian Child Labour

 Water on the Brain

 Activists Notebook

L E T T E R S
 Re - Core/Non Core promises.
 Strangers in the House
 Nursing Home Concerns
 Catholic Tastes
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Review

The Hours


On the eve of International Women’s Day Tara de Boehmler follows the tale of three women who would rather choose death than a life devoid of personal choice.

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Not so long ago in the history of the western world women were given little choice but to bow down to the desires of men. Forsaking independence to perfect a role designed to keep them in their place while nurturing their spouses, many women saw no other way. But for a brave few, submission was never an option.

Stephen Daldry's The Hours follows the lives of three women linked by Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs Dalloway and a non-negotiable urge to live life on their own terms.

It begins at a time in Virginia's own life when she is considering suicide as the only alternative to granting her husband's wish that she stay in an isolated country cottage until her mental illness stabilises. Though his request stems only from his desire to keep her 'out of harm's way', Virginia refuses to yield.

"That which keeps us safe keeps us from life," she argues and this is largely the message behind the novel Virginia sporadically pens in between suicide attempts. It is also the message confronted by each character in the film as they are reached in various ways by Virginia's book.

The life of one 1950s housewife is thrown into question when, partway through reading Mrs Dalloway, she is finally able to identify the source of her own discontent.

On the surface her life is perfect. Her husband has returned from war and, committed to saving her from a solitary life, provides every material symbol of success. For her part she is consumed with her 'duty' of being the perfect wife and mother, and with creating token symbols of domestic bliss. The men have been through enough in the war, she declares, and now they deserve ... us.

Her aim is to please her man, but no reward and no show of appreciation can ever bring her fulfillment because her heart is not in it and she can no longer pretend.

The film skips between her story, Virginia's, and the life of another woman, who is living life on her own terms in modern day America. She too is considering the message behind Mrs Dalloway and asking inevitable questions about her own life.

How much of her life is she truly 'choosing', how much is dictated by expectation and conditioning, and how much of it is simply going through the motions in search of some great reward? And what of the hours in between?

As she prepares a party for a friend she confronts not for the first time in her life the tendency for token gestures to distract from the truth and provide a shield against experiencing genuine intimacy.

"Who is this party for anyway?" she is asked, reminding her again that illusions of love do no one any favours and bring no ultimate comfort in the end.

This is a mature film which never insults its audience through sentimentality or base superficiality. Designed to reach even the most numb-ified of hearts, The Hours is a subtle but powerful comment on human relationships that rings true throughout the ages.

Starring: Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and a prosthetic nose.

Rating: four out of five stars. (women who won't be kept down)


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