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December 2004   

Interview: Minority Report
New federal ALP industrial relations spokesman Stephen Smith on the hostilities in store for the labour movement.

Industrial: Girl Power
Tim Brunero looks at how women are making their mark in a once-male dominated trade.

Unions: Made in NZ
Jim Marr looks behind the rhetoric to uncover what the Howard Government has in store for Australian workers.

History: Spirit for a Fair Go
Paddy Gorman looks at the importance of Eureka on the Australian political psyche.

Economics: Fool's Gold
Tom Bramble identifies some contradictions in Howard's economic miracle.

Politics: Worth Fighting For
One of the Left's most influential figures of the last 40 years gives his theory of power ...

Health: The Force Behind Medibank
Public health has always been a core activity for the union movement, writes Neale Towart

Legal: Robust Justice
Former ACTU executive member and textile union leader Anna Booth argues that Alternate Dispute Resolution is one way around the looming assault on union rights.

International: After the Revolution
Has China entered a post-revolutionary phase - and where will it take the world, asks James Goodman

Poetry: The Sound of Unions
Ah, the hills are alive, with The Sound of Unions, muses resident bard, David Peetz

Review: Bad Santa
Billy Bob Thornton's newest role puts the 'nick' in Saint Nicholas and reveals the Satan in Santa, writes Tara de Boehmler.


New Matilda
How Labor Lost the Plot
In his contribution to Australia's new political zine 'New Matilda' , Father Michael kelly argues the ALP is in search of a soul.

The Soapbox
Outside the Tent
Labor exile Lindsay Tanner is warning the ALP to be careful who it gets into bed with.

The Locker Room
Sons Of Beaches
Phil Doyle gets the perfect wave, and waves back

The Westie Wing
150 years since the struggle at Eureka, the fight to achieve social justice, equality and responsible government is just as vital as ever in the neo-conservative Australia, writes Ian West.

Postcard from Harare
Ken Davis, from Union Aid Abroad, on how unions are at the forefront in the battle for democracy in Zimbabwe


Moral Majority
Unions NSW is currently hosting one of the world�s great thinkers in Robert Reich; academic, commentator and Clinton labour secretary; a man with a mind as big as the dilemmas progressive politics face right now.


 Moral Crusade to Save Family

 20 Dead � Stockmarket Applauds

 Karen Gives Howard a Paint Job

 Buckeridge Bill Blocks Entry

 Casual Beach Closures

 Railworkers Scull Costa

 Racism in the Dock

 Go Home Alone � And Other Survival Tips

 Vet Beats Bullet

 Cleaners Clean Up

 Weekend Work Wiped

 Miners Go to the Movies

 Feds Attack Low Paid

 Activists What's On!

 Leadership Skills
 Not A Casey Fan
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Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton's newest role puts the 'nick' in Saint Nicholas and reveals the Satan in Santa, writes Tara de Boehmler.


Bad Santa is a story about an itinerant worker with a difference. For more years than he could possibly remember in his permanently intoxicated state, Willie (Billy Bob) has donned the red threads and curly whites throughout December.

Hooking up with accomplice Marcus (Tony Cox) whose drag act is Santa's elf, the two target small town shopping centres throughout the silly season.

The game plan begins by humouring the local parents and their children as they flock to sit on Santa's knee and list their stocking filler demands. The end game involves separating the department stores from their prized stock and cash and enjoying the high life until the next time rolls round.

Willy is no bah humbug. He's just a regular guy - perhaps a tad more screwed up than most - out to do a job . But lately he's been down on his luck.

The guy's mojo is long lost and his charms are thin on the ground. Even his work ethic is slipping and his accomplice is getting jack of the on the job dangers that this creates.

Yet at a time when all seem to have deserted this badly bearded misfit, the Christmas season brings out of the woodwork two would-be friends that inspire in Santy a form of sentiment that is frankly surprising.

That's right ... sentiment and plenty of it, mostly expressed in growling guttural expletives are messages like: little things counting for much, the importance of making time for loved ones, compassion for those in need, and the fact that even in the coldest exterior often sits a warm beating heart which, if activated, can be capable of great beauty. Sigh.

All these timely sentiments and more are neatly gift-wrapped in 95 minutes of drinking, cursing, and swaggering fun. Sometimes the jokes get a little old and the boozing a bit sad, but if this is what it takes to make a Merry Christmas message bearable then bring it on.

'Tis the season for awful Christmas movies but, rejoice, this ain't one of them.


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