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December 2003   

Interview: Muscling Up
Labor�s Craig Emerson discusses how the changes to his party�s leadership will impact on the industrial relations agenda.

Unions: Thinking Pink
What�s the difference between a Nursing Home and an Aged Care Facility? More than semantics, according to nurses worried Australia is woefully unprepared for the crash at the end of the baby-boom cycle, writes Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Global Bully
If nothing else, US-based call centre giant TeleTech is consistent. After being nosed out of last year�s Bad Boss gong it is back, bigger and badder than ever in its search for Tony honours.

Unions: National Focus
In this national round up by Noel Hester, Hugh McKay tells us how the young are sticking together in a bewildered society, the gongs get handed out at the ACTU awards and there is a chance to win as a worthy wordsmith.

Economics: Friend or Flunkey?
On New Years Day as you look at the wine stains and tread on a soggy puddle on the carpet, will you look for the phone and call a cleaner? Gabrielle Meagher gives a few ethical dilemmas to confront before you make that call.

History: Young Blood
Youth is no barrier to political leadership, as the 37-year-old John Watson proved 100 years ago, writes Neale Towart.

Industrial: Living For Work?
Mark Hearn reports from a recent conference addressing the dilemma of work, citizenship and community.

International: Fighting Together
The international trade union movement is launching a Global Unions HIV/AIDS campaign to combat the spread of the virus.

Poetry: Medicare Plus Blues
Is the Government's new health plan a plus for Medicare? Asks resident bard David Peetz

Review: Human Racing
Seabiscuit is a great horse movie but more than that it serves as a powerful metaphor for the importance of living for the future while maintaining passion and compassion in the present, writes Tara de Boehmler.


The Soapbox
Dear John
In his 500th piece of activist journalism, long-term Workers Online contributor Rowan Cahill sends a personal message to our prime Minister.

The Locker Room
Retired Hurt
Every innings comes to an end, some too soon, and others not soon enough, writes Phil Doyle.

Wedge Watch
Labor's Craig Emerson puts the spotlight on the Howard Government's politics of division.

The Westie Wing
Workers Friend Ian West MLC is back with his monthly round-up from Macquarie Street.


A New Mark for Labor
Few of us who care about the future of the labour movement would not admit to a surge of hope and sense of excitement following the election of Mark Latham to the federal parliamentary leadership.


 Peeking Dicks in Pickle

 Lights Out on Cheap Labour

 Blackout Hangs Over Sydney

 Contractors Hang Up on Telstra

 Uni Workers Too Smart For Minister

 Employer Bullies Vie For �Tony�

 South Coast Deal to Build Movement

 TeleTech Safety Rep Vows to Fight On

 Corporates Urged to Come Clean

 MP Too Busy For Teachers

 Bosses Block Good Shops Code

 Engineers Ground Safety System

 Workers Win At Safety Meet

 Merger Threats

 Activists Notebook

 Feds Ignore Building Deaths
 Bob Gould On Kicking The Liberals Out
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The Locker Room

Retired Hurt

Every innings comes to an end, some too soon, and others not soon enough, writes Phil Doyle.


The best lack all conviction

and the worst are full of passionate intensity"

- W. B. Yeats

It is the end of an era.

Steve Waugh's Farewell Tour has commenced.

The quiet man of Australian cricket will take his bat and go home after the Sydney test. He will step down from the highest public office in the land, the captaincy of the Australian test cricket team.

In an extraordinary move, that must contravene Federal competition policy, the professional weirdos at the Australian Cricket Board have named a successor; none other than the bar room brawler from the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar, Ricky Ponting.

(Did you ever hear the one about the Big Brown Bear in the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar? Well, we'll save that for another time...)

Punter Ponting can't be too bad given that he has a predilection for the dishlickers; but how will the shadow of his predecessor hang over the enigmatic Taswegian?

Mark Taylor always reminded people of the brother-in-law's mate whose name you can never remember. A nice enough bloke, but hardly an inspirer of affection or real admiration in the way, say, Alan Border ground his way relentlessly into the hearts of Australia's cricket fancying public.

Waugh's retirement (funny that no one says resignation) has a pedigree of course. Waugh would have seen how the Australian selectors treated A.B. in his declining years.

No one lasts forever, which is some relief when one considers George Gregan, but most people in Cricket greeted the loss of Waugh with a sense of inevitable sadness.

Certainly the reaction didn't match the popping champagne corks that accompanied news that failed copper Bill Harrigan was chucking it in. The man should be commended for services to Rugby League; the only minus being that he should have made the decision about fifteen years ago.

Referees shouldn't be personalities; they should be invisible. The behaviour of Bill, following as it does in the Jimmy Sharman tradition of Greg "Hollywood" Hartley, was often embarrassing, seldom edifying. The game will be richer for his absence.

Tony Lockett tried to retire, but the Swans needed him for 'marketing purposes'. Marketing is the heart and soul of the Swans, and Tony was there to answer the call when the Swans' bank account needed him most. He returned from retirement.

Unfortunately he was a fit as a flat tyre and his return to the top flight was less than glorious. Still, it had the desired effect and put a few bums on seats at the SCG and that's the important thing, isn't it.

Cathy Freeman retired. Now she can flog mattresses and enjoy life after the hoopla. Her relief was palpable. After carrying the weight of a nation's expectations, and acting as some bizarre substitute for reconciliation, being the fastest woman over 400 metres must have been a breeze.

In what must have been one of the beat-ups of the year Cathy was asked on retirement if she planned a future in politics.

Continuing in the Australian tradition of treating indigenous Australia as some two-dimensional issue that simply needs a few of "their" sports people to pop onto the world stage as a sign that we're all equal now is, to say the least, unhelpful.

No one asked Mark Waugh if he was going into politics when he retired; which is probably a good thing, he seemed to get lost every time he tried to get to an NRMA Board meeting, poor chap.

Speaking of chaps, no one can accuse Llittle Lleyton Hewitt of being the retiring type, however much we'd like him to.

Pat Rafter - who also won a US Open, only with poise, grace and humility - did the Tony Lockett trick: tried to retire, wasn't very good at it, but got it right the second time.

You have to applaud that sort of persistence.

Chris Anderson retired, sort of.

Anderson is a living embodiment of the maxim that some are born retired, some achieve retirement, and others have retirement thrust upon them.

It's something our prime Minister may wish to contemplate over Summer: If all else fails, retire.

Phil Doyle - blocked for a run at the 600 metre mark


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