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August 2003   

Interview: The New Deal
US union leader Amy Dean expands on her agenda to give unions a real political voice

Unions: In the Line of Hire
Unions have lobbied and negotiated in a bid to stem casualisation and insecurity. Now, Jim Marr, writes they are seeking protection through a formal Test Case.

Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
Young people are amongst the most vulnerable in the workforce. So why aren't they joining the union, asks Carly Knowles

International: The Domino Effect
An internal struggle in the biggest and strongest industrial union in Germany IG Metall has had a devastating wave effect across not just that country, but also the rest of Europe, writes Andrew Casey.

Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
Max Ogden looks at the vexed issue of Works Councils and the differing views within the union movement to them.

National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
Achieving a fairer society and a better working life for employees from across Australia will be key themes at the ACTU's triennial Congress meeting later this month reports Noel Hester.

History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Rowan Cahill looks at the role Australia's conservatives played in supporting facism in the days before World War II.

Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Frank Sartor might have shot through but Robert Domm still calls the IR shots at Sydney City which pretty much explains why the council is this month�s Bad Boss nominee.

Poetry: Just Move On.
Visiting bard Maurie Fairfield brightens up our page with a ditty about little white lies.

Review: Reality Bites
The workers, united, may never be defeated but if recent episodes of Channel 10 drama The Secret Life Of Us are to be believed, this is not necessarily a good thing, writes Tara de Boehmler.


The Soapbox
Fighting Words
Craig Emerson gave what could be the most spirited Labor spray in a decade to the NSW Labor Council this month. Here it is in all its venom.

Out of Their Class
Phil Bradley argues that Australia's education system should not be up for negotiation in the global trade talks.

The Locker Room
The ABC of Sport
Phil Doyle argues that the only way to end the corporate madness that is sport, is to give it all back to the ABC.

Locks, Stocks and Barrels
Union Aid Abroad's Peter Jennings updates on the situation in Burma, where the repression of democracy is going from bad to worse.


The Secret Life of Us
The fact that casual workers are too scared to come forward and testify about the need for job security seems to prove their basic point � no matter how long or how well you work, you can never feel safe in your job.


 Tough Women Draw Line at Sacking

 Witness Protection Urged on IRC

 Max Swings Axe at Safety

 Sick Twist in Drug Testing

 Sacked Mum Goes to the Top

 Cuts Sour ADB Birthday Bash

 Howard Enlists Russians for Military

 Vic Workcover Invests in Worker Misery

 Public Hole in Power Shortage

 Whistleblower Sacking Sparks Zoo Walkout

 Truckie With Conscience Wins Back Job

 Indigenous Labour honours Tobler

 Asbestos Blocks Liverpool Road Works

 Activist Notebook

 Bullies in the Ranks
 It Is Still About The Members Isn't It
 Tom's Purpose
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The Locker Room

The ABC of Sport

Phil Doyle argues that the only way to end the corporate madness that is sport, is to give it all back to the ABC.


"He's really grasped the nettle by the horns." Warren Ryan, ABC Radio

Sport is a simple thing. The effort to arrive at an outcome in an activity that is otherwise futile gives something to life. It's a good thing; or it can be.

Like the arts it can also raise up the beast inside people and produce events and instances that are truly grotesque and hideous and cannot said to even be in the social interest.

The Locker Room is not referring to the Staple Gun, which was the most interesting thing about the recent State of Origin palaver. Your humble scribe contends that the Staple Gun has a future in Rugby League if the game is to remain true to its meaning and possess plenty of poignant biff. Besides, the Staple Gun would also come in handy at the Gearin Hotel in Katoomba on any given Friday night.

Rather, the reader is encouraged to ponder on the venality of Channel Nine, which would rather screen Burgo�s Catch Phrase rather than test cricket. How much more of this fiasco are we going to have to put up with? For the last three Ashes tours we�ve seen the third test interrupted, not by rain, but for bloody Wimbledon. For crying out loud! Tennis is a game for people who don�t do physical work, and/or people who enjoy clothes shopping. It�s an entirely suspect activity and is probably some bizarre front for partner-swapping.

But even this is preferable to Burgo's Bloody Catch Phrase. Didn't they just rip some poor stiff off or something? All those game shows are crap anyway.

There is only one solution to this madness.

Give national sports to the ABC. They showed during the recent war that they do have a satellite dish so let's invest the national broadcaster with the responsibility to save us from horrible scheduling and inane self promotion. Let the ABC carry live our cricketers and footballers when they take to the sporting arena in various hues from the creamy whites of cricket to the off-yellow of the Wallabies.

Let Nine, Fox or that pirate TV station your cousin in Earlwood has set up carry individualistic nonsense like Tennis, Golf, Swimming and Freestyle Frisbee; leave the national pastimes to the national broadcaster.

The only other solution could be to nationalise Kerry Packer. They could carve him up and give bits of him to the states. Queensland could have his kidneys.

Warren Ryan�s laconic delivery would be a welcome irritation after Paul Vautin goes back to selling mobile phones or whatever he does to earn a living.

It�s not like revenues from television rights are going to increase after the appropriately named News Limited took such a bath in recent years. Besides, the NRL should be pulling in enough loot from the publicly owned telco to keep even the touch judges happy.

They�ve been packing them in at Penrith Park since the chocolate soldiers made a liar of me and ran into blistering form. The Penrith Panthers are seeing a season that we haven�t seen since Greg Alexander, Roycie Simmons and Mark Geyer got white line fever and went all the way in 1991. Modern football competitions are often a war of attrition and Penrith have been spared this representative season. With Canberra bolting like Fine Cotton it's a wonder we don't see a re-run of that auspicious year when the whole district of Penrith stood still - not that you'd notice much of a difference.

With everything old now new again, they might even give away free Winfields on the hill.

Sorry, I got carried away there.

Meanwhile, the rugby union fraternity continue to snort and harumph into their port glasses in the lead up to their World Cup. It seems everyone from Alan Jones to Alan Jones is offering solutions to the Wallabies plight, with much talk about an absence of spirit.

What the Wallabies need to do is run the ball more, and with Alan Jones behind them I'm sure the Wallaby backs would run.

There is no doubting that rugby is in a crisis. Not since Billingthorpe-Smythe took liberties with the escutcheon at Shore has the Liberal Party with a football tucked under its arm faced such humiliation.

John Hopoate put his finger on the problem when he couldn't do better than fifth grade when he had a tilt at the old boys' game.

The fact that rugby is the game they play in heaven is a good reason to sin.

Phil Doyle - getting a clear run on the rails in the final furlong.


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