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March 2004   

Interview: Baby Bust
Labor's Wayne Swan argues that the plight of our aging workforce is only one side of our demographic dilemma.

Safety: Dust To Dust
Failure by authorities to police safety in the asbestos removal industry is threatening the lives of members of the public, writes Phil Doyle.

Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
Delegates from print shops around Sydney will publicly shame this month’s Bad Boss nominee with a rally outside his new Alexandria operation next Thursday.

National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
Noel Hester reports on a spin doctors' talkfest, workplace pain, stroppy teachers and IWD party time in the national wrap.

International: Bulk Bullies
An extraordinary five month struggle over affordable health care, by nearly 70,000 Californian supermarket workers, has just come to an end, writes Andrew Casey.

History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Green Bans saved a piece of bush before they saved much of the Sydney’s built environment, writes Neale Towart

Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Tim Anderson reveals Australia’s second betrayal Of East Timor is playing out before our eyes.

Review: The Art Of Work
Workers and westies are being celebrated as the cultural icons they are thanks to two Sydney exhibitions reminding us there is a world of art in the everyday, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
Wondering where the next porkie is going to come from? Resident bard David Peetz knows.


The Soapbox
Iraq and Your Mortgage
How high interest rates go will be a key issue in 2004 and if you are looking for a clue, there's no better place to look than the war in Iraq, writes Michael Rafferty.

Hang Onto the Day Job
Show someone else the money, says Phil Doyle.

Westie Wing
Ian West shows why Eveleigh Street’s not so far away from Macquarie Street

Don’t Give Up the Fight
Get Up, Stand Up is the logo of choice on a popular range of subversive condoms. Ken Davis from Union Aid Abroad reports from Zimbabwe’s second city


Be Afraid
Elections are to be held both here and with our controlling shareholder this year and already we are getting the feel for how the incumbents will attempt to cling onto power: fear spiced with loathing.


 Taskforce "Disgraced" in Court

 Students Take $10,000 Trim

 Truckers Lose Way With GPS

 Jockeys Down by Width of Strait

 Treasury Loses Sight of Trees

 Athens Built on Sweat

 Signing Away Safety

 Fallen Formworker Critical

 Stop or You’ll Stay Blind

 Bracks Spin Machine Towels Nurses

 Trade Deal Fuzzy on Content

 Good Will Still Hunting on Rail

 Developer "Monsters" Safety Cop

 Day Off for May Day

 Activists What's On!

 Bring Back Bulk Billing
 Crucifying Refugees
 Saving The Planet
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Hang Onto the Day Job

Show someone else the money, says Phil Doyle.


The birth of the full time professional sportsperson has not been a mixed blessing for sportspeople and the community - it's been an unmitigated disaster.

Time was when your average sportperson played the game as a supplement to having a day job. The great trade unionist, Jack Mundey, came to Sydney to play Rugby League for Parramatta, but also worked on building sites. Time was when many Sydney residents knew that their garbage collection was in the safe hands of various Rabbitohs, Bluebags and Bears.

The Australian Football coach and player, Phil Cleary, was a big fan of players having a 'day job' outside football. He put the fitness of many players down to the fact that they had demanding physical jobs outside football.

We are in danger of producing a pile of overpaid spoilt brats. For years we've seen this in the gentlemanly pursuits of golf and tennis; viz Greg Normal and Llittle Lleyton Hewitt; tosspots both of them.

This disease of the arrogant sports star going through life with his head shoved up his arse is now infecting the major winter and summer codes.

Now the NRL is talking of 'protecting' Rugby League players from 'dangerous' situations. Strike me pink! It's the rest of the community, and not the players, which need protection. It'd help everyone if a few of these overpaid drongos were given a bit of a reality check.

I Mean, is a bloke who can kick a ball accurately really worth ten nurses or twenty teachers? If a few of these players got a chance to crawl down from their ivory towers and genuinely mix with some real people, as opposed to a hand-picked roomful of sycophants, they might, just might, learn something about how most people live.

Are you listening up the back there, Carey?!!

Somehow, all this largesse remains predominantly the domain of male sports. It will be a fine day indeed when the National Rugby League has to hold a lamington drive to pay for the Brisbane Broncos' airfares and the Australian Women's Cricket team has enough sponsorship money to travel to the World Cup.

No one is suggesting that we shouldn't pay sportspeople, it's just that it would be nice if what they were paid was kept in some perspective.

As the seasons turn and progress we now turn our sunburnt faces to autumn.

Cricket bats and pads and surfboards are thrown into the back of the garage to mould and fester until they return, smelly, in spring. It's getting time to crack out the beanies and scarves and go and have a gander at the fun in the mud.

Time to brush off the hardened mud off the boots from last year's minor semi-final loss and begin to do the forty laps at Tuesday night training. Time to start scouting for fresh talent.

Many a local football club, of various codes, will now face the headache of trying to fill various unenviable and unpopular administrative positions. They'll be trying to round up enough people to put a side on the paddock. Secretaries will be scratching their heads as to where this year's money will be coming from.

Local clubs do it tough. Ironically this is where the heart and soul of sport lies; not, as some would have you believe, in the security patrolled seats of GPO Stadium.

The Locker Room recommends that you, dear reader, are the very ones that can make a difference and take a stand against the relentless onslaught of a corporate football that insults our intelligence and community, and cheapens many a great code. What better way than to get involved at the grass roots. Your local club can always do with a hand.

It's our game - not Foxtel's; not Telstra's; not Carlton and United Brewery's. It certainly ain't the moneylenders at Wizard (let us make your money disappear!) Homeloans; parasites all. They feed on the hearts of communities and spit out blood and the hopes and dreams of little kiddies. A pox upon them all.

As they said in Paris in '68, 'don't let them take your own culture and sell it back to you'.

See you at training.


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