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September 2003   

Interview: Crowded Lives
Labor frontbencher Lindsay Tanner talks us through his new book on the importance of relationships and why politics is letting the people down.

Activists: Life With Brian
Work by men like Brian Fitzpatrick is exposing new Australians to old truths. Jim Marr reports

Industrial: National Focus
A showdown looms in Cancun, Qantas gets bolshie, casual and lazy in its response to aviation challenges, and long festering disputes fester on in Victoria and Tasmania reports Noel Hester in this national wrap.

Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Trades Hall is preparing for a major facelift but first, Jim Marr reports, it must bid farewell to the colourful bunch who have populated its dusty corridors in recent years.

Economics: Beating the Bastards
Frank Stilwell looks at some of the proposals for building a fairer finance sector.

Media: Three Corners
So its come to this. Four Corners, one of the world's longest running television programs is now under pressure from an ABC Executive that is less cultural visionary than feral abacus.

History: The Brisbane Line
Percy Spender was Menzies' foreign minister, but, Neale Towart asks, was he also prepared to serve as Prime Minister in a Japanese controlled Australia?

Trade: The Dumping Problem
Oxfam-CAA helps set the scene for this month's World Trade Organisation in Cancun.

Review: Frankie's Way
In The Night We Called It A Day Frank Sinatra learns 'sorry' Down Under is a loaded word and refusal to say it when due will lose fans in important places, writes Tara de Boehmler.


The Soapbox
Staking Our Territory
ACTU secretary Greg Combet argued for a fairer Australia in his keynote address to last month's ACTU Congress.

The Locker Room
Seasonally Agisted
Spring is a season when a person�s thoughts turn to�horse racing. Phil Doyle reports on the fate of nags and folk heroes.

Beyond the Block
We are wild about the people who live in The Block but not too interested in those who are on the streets outside, writes Michael Rafferty.

The Westie Wing
Workers friend Ian West MLC, reports form the Bearpit about a project to raise awareness about trade unionism amongst young people.

The Awkward Squad
Paul Smith meets one of the new generation of British union leaders who is taking the ball up to the Blair spin team.


Relatively Speaking
At its heart, political debate has always been a struggle between competing views about how a society should organise itself to maximise the benefits for the majority of its citizens.


 Truckies Tip Safety on AGM Floor

 Geelong Lockout Claims Family Homes

 Aussie Labour Laws Fail US Test

 No Accident � Insurance Dough Rises

 Union Mum Wins

 Rheem Runs Cold On Entitlements

 Unions Take It Up for Footballers

 Drug Boss Fails Workers

 Ministers Urged to Take Responsibility

 Museum Jobs Face Extinction

 Less News And More Of It

 Legal Costs Threaten Access

 Learning for Life

 Activists Notebook

 Lyon Roars
 Spicey and Tart
 Tony and Pauline
 PNG Bags Plastic
 Fighting Words Craig Emerson
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The Locker Room

Seasonally Agisted

Spring is a season when a person�s thoughts turn to�horse racing. Phil Doyle reports on the fate of nags and folk heroes.


"The owner of the finest arse in Australia is a toss up between Tatiana Grigorieva and Sunline." Bill Darcy, journalist.

There are very few people that can give themselves a place in history at the time their historical moment is breaking upon them. Whitlam did as much on the steps of the old parliament house on November 11, 1975 when he placed himself in an historical context that has largely become accepted wisdom.

How grand then was Anthony 'the Man' Mundine declaring himself to be a piece of folklore on Pay Per View after his points victory over Antwun Echols. He's right y'know. Even his detractors - and there are many - will have to accept that the Man is true to his word.

It's hard to say whether it's his unashamed Aboriginality or his very public self-esteem that motivates his army of antagonists. When one runs through the usual suspects, including a lot of people down the pub who would struggle to fill a postage stamp with what they know about boxing and rugby league, it usually ends up being a combination of both. Mundine is one of those public figures, like Pauline Hanson, that flush out the uglier side of this society. They prompt a whole bunch of experts whose declarations start with "I'm not racist but..."

But Mundine has overcome this. He is now folklore. I watched the fight with an old Sharman tent boxer called Brian 'Barlou' Marshall. Mundine means something to Barlou. The Man's right jab punches far above its weight. He carries the aspirations of a whole raft of people on his shoulders, and he does so in a way that doesn't set out to be a charm offensive on middle Australia. He is uncompromising. He is not the first black man that has had to duck and weave and backpedal in order to win against the odds.

The Sydney Entertainment Centre played host to something else the night of the Mundine fight. It showed that our national identity isn't the sole property of our self appointed guardians of the right. To hear the capacity crowd singing the national anthem in full chorus was something I'd never experienced before. It was hauntingly beautiful, like the aboriginal dancers before it. It was a sign that a more inclusive Australia was something people are prepared to identify with. Even fight for.

The booing of the insipid American anthem was a nice touch too.

This month is, of course, the start of spring. The time of year when the days get warmer, flowers bloom and smart three year olds from New Zealand that could run for a week pay over twenty dollars on the NSW TAB.

Yep, it's punting time.

With the AFL and the NRL descending into the farcical hubris of finals fever, sensible folk are scanning the form guides for anything that appears to look the goods.

The triple crown of the enigmatically named Spring Carnival is to be found south of the Border. The Cox Plate and the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups are a way off yet, but smart trainers, and even stupid trainers, will be dipping a hoof in to test the water in coming weeks, and there is a dollar to be made by the smart punter.

Keep an eye out for anything from New Zealand that's greeted the judges over a similar distance; anything that the Waterhouses are running, even if you've never heard of it before; stayers coming back from long spells; and keep an open mind as to this years crop of three year olds. Watch the weights as there are good young stayers that will start off with light loads early on in the piece but will be carrying a bag of bricks by summer. Who knows? It might even be dead by Christmas.

Remember that Sunline was a young unknown once. Not for very long, but it did happen. Now Sunline is, of course, folklore. Not necessarily self-appointed, but folklore nonetheless.

If you find something good then get on it while you can because these days we need all the folklore we can get our hands on.


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