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February 2004   
F E A T U R E S

Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlovís Dogs.

Unions: While We Were Away
While Workers Online was washing sand from between its toes and enjoying an Indian summer at the cricket, there was a reality show chugging relentlessly away in the background, Jim Marr reports.

Politics: Follow the Leader
Workerís Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALPís Darling Harbour love-in and nearly drowns in treacle.

Bad Boss: Safety Recidivist Fingered
The CFMEU has come up with a killer nomination to kick off our 2004 hunt for Australiaís worst employer.

Economics: Casualisation Shrouded In Myths
British academic, Kevin Doogan, sets the record straight on casualisation and warns unionists about the dangers of scoring an own goal

History: Worker Control Harco Style
Drew Cottle and Angela Keys ask if it's worth rememberinng the 1971 Harco work-in.

Review: Other Side Of The Harbour
The 1998 maritime dispute threatened to tear many a family apart but Katherine Thomson's Harbour tells the tale of at least one that it brought back together - albeit reluctantly, writes Tara de Boehmler.

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Dog Whistlers, Spin Doctor and Us
John Menadue argues the "better angels" of the Australian character are having their wings ripped off by an ever-expanding group dedicating to keeping the public at arms length from our decision-makers.

Postcard
Something Fishy In Laos
Phillip Hazelton fishes around in Vientiane, Laos, and looks at the impact of Bird Flu on those relying on feathered friends for survival.

Sport
Magic Realism
Phil Doyle discovers that literature and sport may have more in common than you would think

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Trickle, flood or drought? Workers friend Ian West, MLC, is wet, wet, wet on the issue of bilateral Free Trade.

E D I T O R I A L

All The Way With FTA?
Question marks over the bi-lateral Free Trade Agreement with the USA have only begun to scratch the surface.

N E W S

 Rail Safety Back On Track

 Commuter Headaches Continue

 Ban "Ruthless" Operators - Judge

 Telstra Provokes Jobs Fight

 Taskforce Ignores Million Dollar Rorts

 Musos Tune-Up for Election Rock

 Chubby Fingers in Timorese Pockets

 Postal Workers Wrap Boss

 Aussie Sites Doing the Business

 Feds Abandon Aged

 TAFE Stands Over Poor Students

 Round the World on Aid

 Activists Notebook

L E T T E R S
 Reality TV
 TAFE Support
 State Of Confusion
 Scambuster
 History Lesson
 Generation Angst
 Give Them A Medal
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Sport

Magic Realism


Phil Doyle discovers that literature and sport may have more in common than you would think

Rene Higuita was a goalkeeper for Columbia, a country where football, of the world variety, is a religion. Something like Australian Rules in Victoria used to be before a bunch of ponytail wearing nancy-boys called Joel and Justin took it over and buggered it.

Higuita is often referred to as a 'colourful' character coming, as he does, from a country where spectators shoot players from time to time - an idea that will have appeal to any true sports lover.

The former international goalkeeper declared a few weeks ago that he hoped fellow Columbian and former Nobel Prize winner for literature Gabriel Garcia Marquez would write his biography. No doubt the working title is They Shoot Goalkeepers Don't They?

Higuita, known as The Scorpion for the daring way he used to save the ball with his feet, is one of the most eccentric players that South America has produced. He was accused of having links to drug cartels and once acted as mediator to obtain the release of a youth kidnapped by bandits, something you're unlikely to see Shane Warne do.

The idea of a Nobel Prize winning author writing the autobiography of a sportsman caused a twinge of sadness in the Locker Room, for in Australia we seldom see our great scribblers associated with our leading sportspeople.

To end this glaring anomaly the Locker Room has undertaken to don the literary agent's hat and link up the greats of Australian writing with the greats of Australian sport.

Thomas Keneally did try to inject a bit of literary savoir faire into Rugby League with his poem saluting the game (Blow that whistle ref/ blow it out your arse...or something like that). Unfortunately all it did was demean all the parties concerned, and as such we can dismiss Tom's credentials to write the biography for anyone with anything to do with League. However, the old coot will be quite at home with everyone's favourite old coot, the late Cliffy Young. Let's face it, they're both a pair of plodders and anyone who has had familiarity with a Keneally tome will know he has a sound comprehension of the concept of going the distance.

With the wonders of modern science it will be a doozy to revive Miles Franklin and charge her with the task of reproducing the themes of My Brilliant Career for her biography of Cathy Freeman.

Bryce Courtenay was an Ad Man who knew that you could manipulate people pretty easily with words, and decided to do just that with a series of increasingly fatuous and inane books that have all the life and originality of last Tuesday's Telegraph. He is in a perfect position to produce a Hagiography of the world's most famous loser, Greg Norman. Now the Shark (snigger) is a joke and everyone with an IQ over 28 appreciates that, so who better to tell us the story of a two dimensional parody of a man than a two dimensional parody of a writer?

Tim Winton has made a dinner out of his portrayal of essentially flawed but intrinsically Australian characters such as Shane Warne. Tim's understanding of the problem of gambling, exemplified in his work Cloudstreet, will no doubt assist him in committing Warnie's life to paper.

Kathy Lette has made a living out of being Kathy Lette, but it's forgotten than once upon a time she could actually write. She could apply this ability to tell the story of one Karrie Webb, who has done everything you can do with a golf club short of using it as a musical instrument. The beauty of this union is that Ms Lette may learn something about actually doing something with your life instead of parading as a great limpet on society and self professed expert at everything.

Martin Flanangan is the Poet Laureate of the Apple Isle, and to him falls the task of putting into words the deeds of the famous Taswegian dog fancier, Ricky Ponting.

The late Patrick White has been often dismissed as dense and barely readable, which makes him a shoe-in to tell the Bart Cummings story. Unfortunately the same methods used to obtain the services of Ms Miles Franklin will have to be employed, this time on Mr Cummings.

The Locker Room recommends that any further recommendations of great Authors to write the biography of great sportspeople be sent to someone who cares. And if any of the names above are a mystery to you, then you're spending too much time in the library and not enough at the track, or vice versa.

Returning to the great game, let us consider the tenor of one Roman Abramovich, the billionaire who liked the Chelsea soccer club so much he bought it. It's just coming to light where the moolah came from to make Abramovich the man he is today. He arose from the murk of post-soviet Russia as the Governor of the province of Chukotka, where he was responsible for a homeless children's charitable fund that 'lost' $1 billion during the period when hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on buying a soccer club. Hmmm!

Now Chelski can really say they're doing it for the kiddies.


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