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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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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.


Gary Ross' movie starts in a time when industrialisation is taking off and the fortunes of many a self-made business person is being made along with it. Bicycle repairman turned automobile entrepreneur (Jeff Bridges ) is enjoying life on the cutting edge but when the Depression hits he has hardships of his own to face.

Losing his son in a car crash his wife blames his focus on the material for killing their child and losing them their connection to the struggle that others are experiencing. He is left to face his pain alone until he meets a woman brave and insightful enough to crack through his thick defensive shell and reflect back to him the inherent goodness and kindness she finds there.

Though he no longer has the heart to continue his former vehicle enterprise, together they decide to take a punt on the races ... millionaire style. The pair go searching for a horse, a jockey and a trainer but what they come up with causes many double-takes and assurances they will fail.

As the movie trailer says, "the trainer is too old, the jockey too big and the horse too small." But that's only scratching the surface of these three lives that have been pushed to the brink and forced to live there until they barely remember another way.

The trainer (Chris Cooper) is an old hobo who many have deemed insane due to his disinterest in engaging in small talk with anyone other than horses and his penchant for sleeping under the stars. His motto, "you don't throw a life away just because it's banged up a little", virtually guarantees an adventurous ride for anyone prepared to give him a go.

When the entrepreneur meets the retired trainer and decides to take a chance on him the hobo's choice of Seabiscuit (played by soulful-eyed Fighting Ferrari) as the team's best hope raises a few understandable doubts.

As well as being much shorter than other serious racing contenders and far from pedigree, Seabiscuit harbours fearsome aggression and extreme mistrust of humans thanks to past mistreatment. But in the words of his new trainer, the secret of Seabiscuit is that he "just has to learn how to be a horse again".

Their search for a jockey is quickly narrowed to one rider (Tobey Maguire), a young man with hang-ups of his own but whose refusal to ever give up makes him one of the few brave enough to mount the kicking, bucking, snorting Seabiscuit. Too tall for most jockey jobs and too short for his failed boxing career, the rider's battle with his own demons in many ways mirrors that of the horse.

Seabiscuit's learning curve on how to be a horse again is just as relevant for someone experiencing long-term hardship finally rediscovering their passion for life.

This was the challenge for many contending with a life of struggle during the 1930's and it is also the common thread connecting each of the characters in Seabisuit.

The movie counsels that even when beaten by a nose one should never give up and that it manages to do this free of the usual cringe-inspiring corniness makes Seabiscuit a must see.


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