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July 2004   

Interview: Power and the Passion
ALP's star recruit Peter Garrett shares his views on unions, forests and being the Member for Wedding Cake Island

Unions: Tackling the Heavy Hitters
Tony Butterfield became a State of Origin gladiator at the unlikely age of 33. Even that, Jim Marr reports, couldn�t prepare him for the knock-down, drag-em-out world of modern IR.

Industrial: Seeing the Forest For The Wood
Proposals to flog off NSW�s forests have raised eyebrows and temperatures amongst some of the key players reports Phil Doyle.

Housing: Home Truths
CFMEU national secretary John Sutton argues for a radical solution to the housing affordability crisis.

International: Boycott Busters
International unions have issued a new list of corporations breaching ILO sanctions to do business in Burma.

Economics: Ideology and Free Trade
The absurdities of neoclassical economic assumptions has never stood in the way of their being trotted out to justify profiteering and attacks on the rights of citizens. The AUSFTA is the latest rort we are supposed to swallow, writes Neale Towart.

History: Long Shadow of a Forgotten Man
Interest in JC Watson's short time as Labor's first Prime Minister should not detract from his more substantial role as Party leader, writes Mark Hearn

Review: Chewing the Fat
As debate rages in Australia about Fast Food advertising, Julianne Taverner takes a look at a side of the industry that Ronald McDonald won�t tell you about in Supersize Me.

Poetry: Dear John
Workers Online reader Rob Mullen shares some personal correspondence with our glorious leader.


The Westie Wing
As the NSW Labor Government sells its first budget deficit in nine years, the real concern for the union movement is the devil in the detail, especially when it comes to procurement agreements, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Rubber Bullets
Labor's IR spokesman Craig Emerson launches a few characteristic salvos across the Parliamentary chamber

The Locker Room
Tears After Bedtime
Phil Doyle says that it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Postcard from Vietnam
APHEDA's Hoang Thi Le Hang reports from the north of Vietnam on a project being fund by Australian unionists.,


A Place To Call Home
These days the Great Australian Dream is closer to a fantasy, where the chances of owning to your own home depend on either inheriting property or winning lottery.


 NRMA Reverses Over Turnbull

 Privatisation Kills

 Crikey: Irwin Feeds Staff AWAs

 Nurses Telegraph Fight Back

 "Sexiest Man" Plays it Safe

 Eureka: Bug Swats Hadgkiss

 Macdonald Ponders Asbestos Blue

 Latham Gets Late Mail

 Murdoch Faces Discrimination Rap

 Boss Goes Postal

 Oberon Survives Bomb Threat

 Howard Out On CD

 Telstra Hangs Up On Staff

 Activists What�s On!

 Letter From America
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Chewing the Fat

As debate rages in Australia about Fast Food advertising, Julianne Taverner takes a look at a side of the industry that Ronald McDonald won�t tell you about in Supersize Me.


This is a Michael Mooresque exposition of the nastiness of the McDonalds corporation that makes for an entertaining insight into commercial exploitation and marketing.

Director and guinea pig Morgan Spurlock decides to eat only Slack Mac's for a month. He has to have three squares a day and whenever a poorly paid casual worker asks if he wants to "supersize", he has to go with the bigger meal. Spurlock's partner (a vegan chef) abhors his decision but supports his artistic endeavours, even preparing a "detox" diet for when he returns to normal eating.

Spurlock lives in Manhattan where there are plentiful Golden Arches and he doesn't have to walk far for a Big Mac and fries. This contrasts with his efforts to find the "nutritional information" pamphlet in the store.

Spurlock's film is interspersed with facts about McDonalds including the number of franchises around the world and the amount of money spent on advertising, but no mention of the poorly paid casualised labour force that make up its operations.

Spurlock also shines the light on the general nutritional state of children in the US and asks why multinationals such as Sodexho are supplying the next generation's nutritional needs.

Spurlock's point is that they are regularly eating the wrong kinds of food and what does this mean for their growing bodies. The US Surgeon

General views obesity as the next big preventable health crisis, after smoking.

Spurlock examines the role of advertising, specifically its focus towards young children.

Happy Meals, plastic toys and the Ronald McDonald clown are used to burn the McDonald's name into the memories of young children, via television.

McDonalds' defence is that their food isnt meant to be eaten in such a concentrated manner. However they do seem to acknowledge that it is not healthy. One PR Wally admitted that Maccas was part of the problem but it was "also part of the solution." Sounds like starting a war because it's good for the economy to me!

As the film progresses his heart rate speeds up, he gains 25 pounds, becomes depressed, his sexual capacity is affected and his liver risks malfunction. Spurlock suffers "McTremors" in his arms while his GP likens his physical state to that of an alcoholic.

Despite all this Spurlock doesn't find time to delve into the shocking labour practices of the Evil Empire. Nor does he mention the McLibel trial the corporation waged in the late 90s, when a pair of activists were sued for leafleting McDonalds "restaurants" with pamphlets which explained the lack of nutritional value in a Maccas burger. Likewise the environmental devastation wrought by the company in third world nations goes without mention.

Nonetheless this is an entertaining and informative documentary - just don't eat McNuggets before you go.

Supersize Me Directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock


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