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April 2003   

Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Walk Against the War Coalition convenor Bruce Childs outlines the challenge for the peace movement in the lead up to Palm Sunday.

Unions: The Royal Con
Jim Marr argues the Cole Commission can only be taken seriously by people kept ignorant of the way it actually operated.

National Focus: Around the Grounds
Unions maintain the pressure for peace as the upcoming organising conference takes on added significance, reports Noel Hester.

Economics: The Secret War on Trade
Overseas-based multi-nationals are coming after our film industry, electricity, water, pharmaceutical benefits and even childcare. Or are they? Nobody knows, as Jim Marr reports.

International: United Front
Workers and their unions around the world have possibly never been as united in their commitment to campaign together against the War in Iraq, writes Andrew Casey

History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Bill Pirie has one of the largest collections of trade union badges in the world. After 20 years the collection now numbers some 6,000 badges.

Politics: Stalin�s Legacy
Fifty years ago last month Josef Stalin died. How could it be that a democratic and socialist revolution produced one of the monsters of the twentieth century, asks Leonie Bronstein.

Review: Such Was Not Ned�s Life
The life of Ned Kelly is what we in the world of journalism term a �ball tearing yarn� so why have writers of the movie adaptation felt so impelled to dress it up with fiction, asks Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Through our extensive intelligence networks, we have managed to track down the top recruiter for the global terror network of Osama bin Laden.

Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
Woolworths chief executive Roger Corbett was devastated today to report an 18.3% rise in profit under his management over the last year.


The Soapbox
Factional Free-For-All
Chris Christodoulou looks at the fallout from the selection of the new Carr Ministry and what it means to the factional warlords.

The Locker Room
The Best Season Since Last Year
Phil Doyle goes trudging through the mud in search of the heart of the matter beneath the corporate biffo

Books on Bombs
In times like these, reading inevitably turns to America and war. Chris White wades through Pilger, Chomsky, Eco, Moore and Vidal.

Postcard from Harvard
Labor Council's Michael Gadiel was elected to give the valedictory speech to this year's Harvard Trade Union Program.


The Fog of War
As the War Without a Mandate proceeds apace, any notion of a domestic political agenda has become surplus to requirements.


 Cole Launches Civil Rights Assault

 Protests Target Arncliffe �Shocker�

 Commerce Swallows DIR

 Abbott, Bosses Turn Guns on Low Paid

 Fat Cats Should Justify Salaries - LHMU

 Black Humour for a Dark Issue

 Minister on Threats, Coercion

 Bosses Stonewall Union Dues Ruling

 Private Hospitals Pay Out on 15 Percent

 Councils on Hotel Workers� Agenda

 Sharon Hammers Israeli Workers

 Shangri-La Blue Ends

 Inaugural Orwell Awards

 Activist Notebook

 The Rule of Law
 Trots Bomb Back
 Tom's Turn
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The Locker Room

The Best Season Since Last Year

Phil Doyle goes trudging through the mud in search of the heart of the matter beneath the corporate biffo


And another thing/ I've been wondering lately/ Is it crazy/ To believe in ideals - Whats My Scene (Hoodoo Gurus)

Apparently so, Dave Faulkner.

It's that time of the year when we put the flannels away and drag musty beanies and scarves from the closet and scrape the mud off the boots from 2002's flogging in the last round and replace the genteel summer pursuits of Tennis and Cricket for the more erudite winter codes.

Ever since Tina Turner coached the Kangaroos to their undefeated tour of Britain and France Rugby League has been getting out of the blocks earlier and earlier. The sight of the big blokes going round in the heat isn't right.

Not that the NRL has a monopoly on this, we've seen the same shenanigans with the Harry Potter Cup in the AFL.

I have a copy of Rugby League Week from the late seventies that shows round one starting on April the first, as it rightly should. In those days Penrith wore brown and were aptly known as the chocolate soldiers, dutifully propping up the ladder with Norths [sorry Ed.] and Balmain. Theses days they look like Cronulla with these post modern football jumpers that change quicker than the set at a Kiss concert.

I went down to Penrith...errr...Stadium to watch the local blokes have a go at the forces of evil from north of the Tweed. In the sparsely populated arena that once sat opposite a television factory, when Australia had such things, I watched Penrith do the right thing.

The game was largely a non event. There were no local blokes after all and Talliss's blue with the Penrith prop was a bit of a sideshow, but what did restore my faith was that when Talliss got sidelined he was pelted with stuff from the crowd! How good was that!

In this day and age of sport as an electronic soporific it was good to see a bit of good old fashioned audience participation. The only thing that could have made me happier was a dog on the field.

Me and The Ghost Who Walks did the right thing and left with ten minutes to go and returned to the pub in the mountains to conduct the post-mortem. Penrith really are a shining example of sports administration in this country. The largest Junior Rugby League in the world, the biggest licensed club and they still can't string together three wins on the trot. Mind you, it didn't help that from where we were swaying most of the Penrith supporters were either failed science experiments or blokes I went to school with.

The footy will drag the punters in one way or another. We've moved on from Tina Turner to Dave Faulkner. The League tries hard. They did the right thing at the Grand Final by getting Billy Idol all the way out here and then not letting him sing. That was a stroke of genius that endeared the NRL to the hearts of music lovers across the country.

It's hard for an old westie like me to accept, but Australian Football still is the real deal when it comes to crowds and the Swannies do not disappoint. With their own variety of science experiments in the stands the Swannies have made a successful transition to the White Elephant at Homebush.

With Draft Concessions and the like you'd think that the AFL would be keen to promote the game in NSW. Well, think again. Sure, they're keen to promote the Swans, but lo betide any mug over AFL recruitment age who wants to actually get off the lounge and have a go at the game. There is not one red cent available to support senior football in NSW at a club level.

It shows that the Franchise is king, not the sport.

Even so, your humble correspondent will be battling it out with Dozer, Shirley, Bondy and the coal mining boys from Lithgow this year with the Katoomba-Lithgow Mountain Lions Australian Football Club, because sport is about having a go.

I hope.

Then again I might be an idiot, which is very possible, and sport might actually be about advancing marketing opportunities within a defined franchise.

Even so, I'll still be getting mud on my boots, and more power to anyone else who is doing the same, or making it possible. I'd like to think it's about community, and sacrifice and discipline and doing something with your mates.

What's my team? My mates. That's my team.

Phil Doyle

Kicking a wobbly shot on goal that dribbles out of bounds.


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