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April 2004   

Interview: Terror Australis
The Howard Government has just discovered the nation's ports are a terrorist target. The International Transport Federation's Dean Summers has been warning them for years.

Unions: Graeme Beard's Second Dig
Hidden in the Australian Workers Union Sydney office is a mild-mannered industrial officer who once strutted the international cricket stage, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: The Hell of Troy
On the basis of a couple of hours in the witness box, Building Industry Royal Commissioner Terence Cole described Troy Stratti as "credible". Six men who, together, have known the company director for the best part of 50 years beg to differ.

Organising: Miners Strike Gold
Traditional unions are rediscovering the power of grassroots organising. Paddy Gorman reports from the coal face.

Economics: The Accepted Wisdom
Evan Jones argues that economic policy making has been narrowed and rendered mechanistic and antiseptic.

History: Vicious Old Lady
Despite its Liberal leanings, the Sydney Morning Herald has never been shy of bashing unions, writes Neale Towart.

International: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Thailand must end its crackdown on Burmese fleeing rights abuses in their military-ruled homeland, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Review: War Unfogged
Want to go to war but not sure where to start? Look no further than Errol Morris' latest doco-drama for the definitive 11-step lesson plan, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: TAFE
A TAFE student struggling under the weight of fees shares his wordly wisdom


A Voice for Peace
Palestinian trade union leader calls on militants to lay down their arms while the ICFTU protests harassment of Palestinian union leader.

The Soapbox
The Double Standard Bearers
Nicholas Way argues that when it comes to collective action, the Howard Government has different views depending on whether you are a unionist or a small business.

The Locker Room
The Fine Print
While the result mightn’t be everything, it does make the back of the newspaper more interesting, as Phil Doyle reports.

The Westie Wing
Ian West crunches the numbers in Macquarie Street and finds virtue in deficit.


Something Smells
There is something just a little too cute about the NSW government’s discovery of a budget crisis on the eve of public sector wage talks.


 Gong Points Death Bone at Iemma

 Strip – Howard’s Order to Shoppies

 Workers Victory - We’re Legal!

 Compo Family Exiled to Peru

 Patrick Faces Million Dollar Fines

 Water Quality in Budget Back-Wash

 Feds Dodge Death

 Hard Men Melt Away

 Three Cheers for 36-Hour Week

 Dili Death "Down to Dollars"

 Builder Pleads Guilty

 Maternity Plan: Hard Labor?

 Life – Cambodia’s Grand Raffle

 Thumbs Up for Union Code

 Activists What’s On!

 War And Peace
 Getting Away With Murder
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The Locker Room

The Fine Print

While the result mightn’t be everything, it does make the back of the newspaper more interesting, as Phil Doyle reports.


"Swimming is the only sport in which, before an athlete competes, he stands on a pedestal. It would be terrible if he got the award the next day. He might forget what it was for."

- Mark Spitz

Not since Robert Maxwell has anyone received so much coverage for falling in the water.

The brouhaha surrounding the Ian Thorpe fiasco descended to the point where our glorious Prime Miniature described it as a 'tragedy'. God help us. Over ten thousand dead in Iraq and this moron calls a swimming disqualification a tragedy; is this man unhinged or what?

The bottom line is that nobody should be getting too excited about Athens just yet as the whole shebang is about as close to completion as Sydney's second airport. The chances of the show even happening are at best evens.

In a far more interesting development Croatia and Turkey registered a 2-all draw in Zagreb; the South African J Matthews won their heat at the Sunsmart Classic at Margaret River; and J Ling will be lining up for Gordon in the 2004 Sydney Fourth Grade Cricket Grand final.

This is a sample of the fascinating information that can be gleaned from that section up the back of the newspaper in 5 point type that is eponymously known as Sport Details.

The presentation of this arcane section says much about various sports and even the culture of sport in various cities.

Melbourne readers will be familiar with the Monday editions that carry the results of every Australian football game played over the previous 48 hours. From Collingwood to Corindhap, from Hawthorn to Henty, the fortunes of football teams great and greater can be tracked by anyone with the cover price of a paper in their pocket.

I guess that says a lot about the attitude to the grass roots of the various winter codes, as much as it does about the role of sport north and south of the Murrumbidgee (which all sports aficionados know is the true border between Victoria and New South Wales).

Try, for example, to keep a track of Rugby League's Metropolitan Cup, or the Group 10 competition. Nary a mention in any paper with something approaching a statewide coverage will ever appear. As for any of the various A-Grade competitions across Sydney, forget it, you have more chance of following the fortunes of European volleyball, or the latest news from the New Zealand orienteering championships, than what's happening in your own suburb.

Which is a shame. It's sad to think that decades of history in Country Rugby league matter not a jot to the powers that be. It would be nice to know how Orange CYMS is fairing these days, or even if they still exist. Is Blayney struggling? What about the Warilla Gorillas? Or the Maitland Pumpkin Pickers?

So much for the information age.

Usually parked up somewhere near the Sport Details, and in a similar sized typeface is the mystical codes of the racing info. Because of a wrestling match over money this industry-as-sport has been the suffering what is known as a 'blackout'.

Basically Shy Channel has been refusing to broadcast races out of Sydney on a Saturday. The crazy Bolsheviks at the various racing clubs have been pushing the outrageous proposition that the 'sport' belongs to various stakeholders including punters, trainers and, of course, themselves.

Sky Channel has asserted, quite rightly, that the thing belongs, in fact, to a media conglomerate working hand-in-glove with the TAB.

Rugby League was mature enough to admit that it was owned and run by a media conglomerate and has blossomed ever since.

The sooner racing can admit that it is there for the benefit of various media barons the sooner normal transmission will resume.

Next some lunatic will suggest that there is no place for lawyers in sport.


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