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June 2003   

History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howardís plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
Itís every power workerís worst nightmare Ė and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEUís Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues thereís another side to the recent furore over Telstraís use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costelloís latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstartís Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your Ďtís, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.


Itís Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALPís union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstreamís media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
Itís all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle


To the Victors The Spoils
Revelations that private American lawyers, rather than the ILO, will rewrite the labour laws of countries levelled by the American military vindicate the warnings of those concerned by US unilateralism.


 Rail Chaos Looms

 Electrolux Blows Fuse at Fundraiser

 ACM Loosens Handcuff on Democracy

 Sick Call on Mumís Job

 Now For Industrial Shock and Awe

 Brian Miller Ė Working Class Hero

 Dynamite: Howard Handout for Rorters

 Family Case to Nurture Mothers

 Militants Lock Out Another 600

 Tipping the Turtle Ė Fijian Style

 Carr Goes Private

 Wages Blemish Sound Budget

 Westie Takes On Westfield ĎHypocrisyí

 Eleventh Hour Reprieve for Women's Centre

 Activist Notebook

 In Defence of Cuba
 The Story in General
 Thinking of America
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The Locker Room

Location, Re-Location!

Itís all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

"The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away" - Tom Waits.

It was a sage Rugby Union coach who said that no one is useless - they can always be used as a bad example.

A wonderful demonstration of that aphorism came to light recently when a consortium describing itself as the Gold Coast NRL Bid Team were reported as having written to a number of NRL clubs in Sydney asking them to relocate to the land made famous by Russ Hinze and Mike Gore.

Apparently the potential that awaits any Sydney based NRL club can be measured by the "success" of the Brisbane Bears - Fitzroy Lions "merger".

Success is many things to many people; but I doubt that many would measure success as being taken out behind the shed and having a bullet slotted into the back of the cranium.

It is alleged that the letter read: "The Lions-Fitzroy model has proved that joint ventures regarding clubs moving interstate teams do work successfully.

"Why? Such entities are able to progress because the traditional club retains its entire heritage and introduces that history to the new entity with a little or no change.

"It does not have to absorb any of the culture of another club."

The "Lions - Fitzroy model" was already extant. It was called the Fitzroy Lions. While it could be argued that Brisbane has maintained some of the heritage of the 'Roys it's also true that up until 1996 they did nothing to enhance it. They certainly didn't create it, so why should they appropriate it for their own ends, which in the realpolitik of modern football means running a profitable company.

In other words they picked up a valuable asset - the decades of very real sacrifice by tens of thousands of Fitzroy players, supporters and staff - through a very pernicious deal.

In doing this they were aided and abetted by the AFL.

For many people it is losing the culture of Fitzroy that hurts. The corporate nature of the Brisbane club and the fait accompli with which the "merger" was presented have been a source of ongoing rancour for many Fitzroy people.

While any NRL club shifting to the Gold Coast may not have to absorb any of the culture of another club (and we've seen what a "success" that has been at Wests Tigers) they still have the problem that its a bit tricky for their Sydney based fans to get to home games 900 k's away. Even taking into account the entrepreneurial mood that has modern sport in its thrall, it's a brave business that seeks growth while alienating its own customer base.

Any NRL club considering such a folly could do well to examine the truth of the Bears - Fitzroy merger and its apparent success.

The reaction of Fitzroy fans to the merger has been diverse. Some support the Brisbane entity, either willingly or grudgingly; others have abandoned AFL completely; a few have drifted off to other clubs. The bottom line is that the number of memberships of the Brisbane Lions in Victoria is far short of the number who were members of the Fitzroy Lions in 1996.

"I'd dispute that on the whole the merger hasn't been a success," said one Fitzroy supporter. "There are a couple of issues that I'd like to see rectified, such as the FFC playing a more prominent role in the Victorian operations."

With the Gold Coast council willing to invest $6 million in upgrading the Carrara sports stadium to attract an NRL team this issue won't go away.

As another Fitzroy supporter put it: "The pain and annoyance that happened with Fitzroy will unfortunately be repeated in the not too distant future for a couple more clubs and that is the saddest part."

The business of football continued apace with revelations this week from a Collingwood fan site exposing what appears to be an interesting way to circumvent the inconvenience of the salary cap.

The AFL has been probing the arrangement between Essendon and its two star players, James Hird and Matthew Lloyd, over the ownership of internet site rights.

A website called has tracked down owners of the domain sites Essendon claims to have bought. The site does not even exist. has never been registered as a domain name. So who Essendon "bought" the site off remains a mystery. There were similar results for sites involving James Hird's name.

Check out the findings at

Phil Doyle - giving away a 50 metre penalty late in the third quarter.


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