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October 2003   
F E A T U R E S

Interview: No Ifs, No Butts
Rugby League Professionals Association president Tony Butterfield on his battle to deliver a collective agreement for NRL players.

Unions: National Focus
In this month’s national wrap: Noel Hester meets a heavy hitter talking up open source unionism, truckies front the suits at Boral’s AGM, tales of corporate bastardry and Medicare birthday revelry.

Industrial: Fools Gold
Unions have thrashed out a string of protocols with the NSW Labor Government. Some, now, are questioning whether they are worth the cheap, imported paper they are written on, reports Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Bones of Contention
Byron Bay chicken boners have nominated thier boss for a Tony after seeing their entitlements plucked.

History: The Gong Show
In late September the South Coast Labour Council (SCLC) celebrated 75 unbroken years championing the rights of workers in the coastal Illawarra region 80 kilometres south of Sydney, writes Rowan Cahill.

Politics: The Hawke Legacy
The election of the Hawke Labor government twenty years ago holds some salient lessons for today’s Labor Party, writes Troy Bramston.

International: Sick Nation
As Australia celebrates 20 years of Medicare’s universal health coverage the crisis facing American workers in need of medical care is a useful reminder of what we’ve got – and what we stand, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Closed Minds
Philip Mendes looks at the political influence of right-wing think tanks, their financial backing and asks why the left hasn’t been able to get its ideas out there.

Review: Mixing Pop and Politics
He's had relations, with girls from many nations... but Billy Bragg seems to like us Aussies as much or even more than any of the others, writes Pádraig Collins.

Poetry: One Size Fits All
There once was a man from the Lodge - Who tried hard, our poems, to dodge... Resident bard David Peetz is back!

C O L U M N S

Postcard
North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Soapbox
The $140 Million Patriot
It would be hard to imagine a steeper slide from hero to zero than the experience of Richard Grasso, the now-deposed head of the New York Stock Exchange. writes Jim Stanford.

Media
Bush's Bad News Blues
The Bush Administration is cooking up a new campaign 'to shine light on progress made in Iraq', writes Bill Berkowitz.

The Locker Room
A Tale Of One City
Phil Doyle gazes into the crystal ball for signs of life, and finds that somewhere the horses are running in the wrong direction.

Culture
With Banners Furled
There is no better account of the glory that was the annual Labour Day marches than that given by Kylie Tennant in Foveaux, her fictional account of life in inner Sydney in 1912, the year she was born.

Politics
The Westie Wing
Our favourite Macquarie Street MP, Ian West MLC, reports on the world of NSW politics.

Postcard
The Cancun Wash-Up
The dramatic collapse of the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, last month has been followed by a deafening quiet from Geneva, Brussels and Washington, writes Peter Murphy.

E D I T O R I A L

The Monk Off Our Back
It should come as no surprise that Tony Abbott has been dragged from his workplace relations portfolio just as his $60 million assault on the CFMEU finally unravels.

N E W S

 Concrete Boot for Democracy

 Picketers Get Blue Ribbon Result

 ICAC Call at Mudgee Abattoir

 Telstra on Charges

 Unis Walk Over Federal Bullying

 IRC Shoots Rooster that Quacked

 Ugly Australian Riles Timorese

 Medicare Gets Abbott For Birthday

 Business Council Opposes Salary Vote

 Rail Workers Call For Self Defence

 ACT Leads On Industrial Manslaughter

 Thumbs-Up for Awards Binding Subbies

 Entitlements Crash into Hangar

 Blackouts on NSW Horizon

 State Govt Told To Clean Up Contracts

 Would-be Presidents Face Union Probe

 Activists Notebook

L E T T E R S
 A Hard Act To Follow
 Which Boss?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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The Locker Room

A Tale Of One City


Phil Doyle gazes into the crystal ball for signs of life, and finds that somewhere the horses are running in the wrong direction.

****

Grey, wet, windy and cold. Who could not love spring in Melbourne?

It's that time of the year when we creep inexorably towards the great public holiday that isn't - the Melbourne Cup. An institution that even the Channel Ten coverage can't cheapen, which is really saying something.

Instead of regaling the reader with tips that are about as reliable as a jockey full of bourbon, your humble correspondent reports from the Locker Room on signs, omens, key performance indicators and other signs of paranoia that will guide the mug punter towards November glory.

Despite what the marketing people at Rosehill will tell you, it's Victoria that has the big feature races this month.

Sure it might be an ugly place peopled with insecure, vaguely criminal types; sure the horses run in the wrong direction; sure the beaches match the weather; but it is the scene of the greatest assembly of horse flesh this side of the Packer family.

The big ones are distance affairs. Great long races steeped in tradition where five and six year old conveyances the size of a bus go like the clappers. It's the ability to stay the distance that sorts the horses out from the donkeys.

The lead up to the cup is signified by several events. As well as the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate there are a number of other lead up races that are worth having a Captain Cook at.

Dermott Weld's Media Puzzle became the greatest Irish Import since Ned Kelly's mum after it greeted the judge at Flemington last November. Immediately prior to this it absolutely flattened the field in the Geelong Cup, which is scheduled for the end of the month.

Mamool is another Irish visitor who shows promise. Watch the form of the visitors when they hit the deck in the country. Plenty of Group 1 winners come with great reputations and leave with none.

Honor Babe and Pentastic are two that are already here. Let's see how they go.

The Melbourne Cup is what is technically known as a 'bloody long race', two miles of torture that requires experience.

The biggest obstacle facing the punter in this day and age is the TAB. After assiduous research the Locker Room has discovered that the TAB is owned by a bunch of rich grubs.

This license to print money is becoming notorious for rounding down dividends paid to punters and pocketing the difference.

While it is accepted wisdom that the TAB are a bunch of thieves it is their attention to detail in screwing your average punter that makes them really stand out.

The TAB has a product that they're not going to tell you the price of, or even what the product is, until you buy it. It's called TAB Fixed Odds Betting. Firstly the TAB can't actually tell the punter what the fixed odds are. The only way to find out is to take a bet, then they'll try to make you pay for it.

One monochrome Sydney racing identity was recently charged for an inoperative TAB betting account. What a wonderful product; they can bill you for not using it.

The TAB has bought the racing press so don't expect any criticism there. It's enough to make a punter wish for the days when you could get a bet on at the butchers with your friendly neighbourhood SP bookie.

Phil Doyle - edging a rising delivery to third slip.


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