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May 2004   

Interview: Machine Man
It�s regarded as the most powerful job in the Party, but new NSW ALP general secretary Mark Arbib wants to build a bridge with the union movement.

Unions: Testing Times
Unions are not opposed to drug and alcohol testing, but they do want to see real safety issues addressed, writes Phil Doyle.

Bad Boss: Freespirit Haunts Internet
FreeSpirit forked out a motza for a whiz bang internet presence then disappeared right off the radar � once it was nominated as our Bad Boss for May.

Unions: Badge of Honour
Surry Hills is home to one of the world�s finest displays of union badges thanks to Bill "The Bear" Pirie and a supporting cast headed by Joe Strummer, Mark Knopfler, George Benson, Annie Lennox and other seriously big noises.

National Focus: Noel's World
Shrill bosses bleat over minimum wage rise, union spinmeisters congregate in Melbourne and Tassie�s nurses take the baton from their mob in Victoria reports Noel Hester in this national round up.

Economics: Safe Refuge
A humanitarian approach to refugees and an economically rational one?? I�d like to see that. Frank Stilwell did, when he went to Young in NSW to look into the impact of the Afghan refugees on temporary protection visas who came to work for the local abattoir

International: Global Abuse
Amnesty International have joined the chorus against the violation of trade union rights in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

History: The Honeypot
To the Honeypot come those individuals anxious to get their hands on instant wealth. So it was in the early days of Broken Hill, wrties Grace Hawes in this homage to the mining town.

Review: Death And The Barbarians
This new take on coming of age films focuses on the coming of death and the dignity and maturity it can inspire among those touched by it - though not always easily in the overcrowded Canadian public health system, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Resident Bard David Peetz uncovers some of the unfolding mysteries of talk back radio.


The Soapbox
Rethinking Left and Right Part 1
Dr David McKnight, from the University of Technology, Sydney presents a new frame for looking at the competing ideas within Social Democracy.

The Soapbox
Rethinking Left and Right Part 2
David McKnight concludes the paper he presented to the �Rethinking Social Democracy� conference, in London, April 15-17, 2004.

Out On A Limb
Phil Doyle becomes the first Australian journalist to state that the Olympics will be called off.

The Westie Wing
In the latest episode, Ian West explores what Disraeli called "Lies, damn lies and statistics".

Message from America
Searing snapshots from a landscape of uncertainty have plunged the Bush Administration into deeper crisis, writes WorkingForChange's Bill Berkowitz.


The Mouse That Roars
A number of campaigns this week show how web campaigning is reaching a level of sophistication that is transforming it from a gee-whiz fad to a potent industrial tool.


 Casual Affair Costs Family

 Dob a Driver Strikes Out

 Crash LAME�s Smoking Gun

 Axe To Fall On Skippy

 Internet Replaces Crayons

 Young Lives Crushed

 Feds Move Goal Posts

 Telstra Baulks at Two Percent

 Crane Death Brings Fine

 Worker Breaks Unwritten Law

 Private Nurses Short Changed

 RailCorp Wrecks Weekend

 Thunderbirds Are Stop

 Activists What�s On!

 Justice For Victims Denied
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Out On A Limb

Phil Doyle becomes the first Australian journalist to state that the Olympics will be called off.

"My body used to be a temple, now it's just a cheap place to live." - 50 Million Beers

A spectre is haunting Europe. It is the spectre of the UEFA EURO 2004 (trademark registered).

There they go! There they go! There they go!

This mini-world cup should provide some gentle bemusement for most of us, and some good football by all accounts - as well as providing a decent bit of Beckperving for those who find the intricacies of the beautiful game a challenge.

By all accounts it should be a success. It comes on the heels of an increasingly popular (well, in this neck of the woods anyway) English Premier League, and what has been a surprisingly entertaining UEFA Champions League, made all the more memorable by the semi-final exit of those hideous cheats at Chelsea.

It also has the advantage that it's not as predictably sanitised as our major domestic winter codes.

Nonetheless it's yet another sport that has fallen to the clutches of those heartless lunatics at Foxtel.

Yes, Rupert Murdoch has bought soccer. No Les Murray; No SBS panel in the middle of the night; Just leave your money at the door and enjoy the show, kid.

The fact that Rupert Murdoch doesn't own the Olympics (well, last time this column checked anyway) is probably one of the reasons we should all approach the upcoming Athens fiasco with a healthy degree of scepticism.

Most people seem to be in the "it'll be all right on the night" school of thought when it comes to the Olympics. This column is a pessimist.

My Olympic cup is half empty and the prescience and capacity for prognostication that afflicts all columnists leaves me feeling decidedly uneasy when the thought of Athens enters my tiny brain.

The organisers have a perfect excuse in that modern wonder that is terrorism.

This can be used in the same way that it's used to justify herding people like cattle at any public event, and viewing any spontaneous activity, public wit or expression of excitement as some form of dangerous subversion - possibly a life threatening situation in need of severe physical retribution by some galah with a wire hanging out of his ear.

Luckily Greece has some Anarchists who, if the security talking heads on our TV's of late are to be believed, aren't really running a political agenda - they just like to let bombs off. Next we'll have that old hairy unwashed fellow with the round bomb popping out from behind trees like some demented pantomime terrorist.

The 'security experts', this column likes to think of them as hired goons, seem rather satisfied that none of the work of Greece's homely anarchists are connected to the Feared Beard, Osama. Nonetheless they provide a convenient excuse in order to cancel, if not the whole games, then certainly significant chunks of it - such as the events whose venues aren't completed yet, or may fall down if they are used.

They already use it as an excuse to get rid of seats and garbage bins at Central Station.

Oh yes, we're winning the war on terrorism. Winning, my arse!

Speaking of winning, this brouhaha seems to fly blithely over the head of that cocooned class of non-achievers, the Australian athletes. After all, this is all about them isn't it?

Well, if you ask them it is. They want they're moment of glory, and if a few dozen starving building workers from Albania get killed in the rush to get the circus finished well then that's the price we have to pay so that Kieran can flash that winning smile.

If the organisers pull the whole show, or just those not to be missed events such as the Greco-Roman wrestling, synchronised swimming or softball, it will be no great loss. The Organising Committee has already snaffled up some insurance in this event, and the way ticket sales and the global situation is going it may make sense to drive the Olympics off into the bush and chuck a firebomb into the back seat.

After all, the Olympics have been cancelled because we were at war, and we are again, aren't we?

Or is it all over and safe to come out again?

Who needs the Olympics anyway? Well, apart from Bob Carr and he's already used them.

I'll just be happy if the Poms don't make the quarter finals of the EURO 2000 (trademark)

Phil Doyle - breaking service in the opening set


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