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Year End 2004   

Interview: The King of Comedy
John Robertson looks back on a year when his comic genius was finally realised.

Unions: Ten Simple Rules
Accepted wisdom has unions all but retired as serious players in the Australian game. A glance through the major industrial stories of 2004, however, suggests improved footwork, and a commitment to boxing clever, might herald a comeback, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: Rampant Indivdualism
CFMEU National Secretary John Sutton gives his take on a year when the political debate took a turn to the Right.

International: Global Struggle
Labourstart's Eric Lee looks back on a year when the struggles for labour increasingly crossed international lines.

Economics: Cashing in the Year
Look back in sorrow or look back in anger? By any standards 2004 has been a hell of a year, writes Frank Stilwell.

History: Grass Roots
Worker solidarity in Australia in the first century of invasion can give us inspiration and clues for our upcoming battles, writes Neale Towart.

Review: Cultural Realities
In 2004 popular culture shifted from reality television to reality movies, and swapped last year's light-weight subject matter for the slightly more substantial, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Y-U-C-K
Workers Online resident bard David Peetz takes inspiration from The Village People for his latest prose.


The Crystal Ball
Workers Online consults a raft of leading psychics to find out what readers can look forward to in 2005.

The Soapbox
Scrooge Was Right
Christmas has been cancelled this year, writes our US correspondent Brooklyn Phil.

The Locker Room
The Workers Online Sports Awards
Continuing a tradition that dates back to the Twentieth Century, Phil Doyle dishes out the gongs for all things great and small in the world of sport during 2004.

The Westie Wing
Our favoutrite MP looks for a positive spin on the year at NSW Parliament


Beyond The Law
Despite the all-engulfing gloom emenating from our political wing right now, 2004 comes to an end on a strangely upbeat note for the trade union movement.


 Unions Make Hardie Pay

 Hadgkiss Gives Mourners Grief

 Mum Gets "Hopson’s" Choice

 AWAs Crash on Broken Hill

 No Fun in the Sack

 Tax Office Draws Blood

 Origin Prop a Union Hit

 Good Guy Wears Black

 Security Crisis at Sydney Airport

 Biscuit Bosses Crumble

 Ardmona Urged to Can Racism

 Bomber Predicts Big Bang

 Stolen Wages Cut

 Tomorrow the World…

 Bosses Sack WorkCover

 Activists What's On!

 Costa’s Hike Unfare
 Temporary Arrangements
 The Price Of Tea In China
 Cry For Me, Argentina
 Ho Bloody Ho
 Right Is Wrong
 Business As Usual
 All In The Family
 Swing Left Wishful Thinking
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The Locker Room

The Workers Online Sports Awards

Continuing a tradition that dates back to the Twentieth Century, Phil Doyle dishes out the gongs for all things great and small in the world of sport during 2004.

"Everybody must have prizes" - Dodo, from Alice In Wonderland

The Dame Nellie Melba Retirement Of the Year Award - Steve Waugh Last summer's beatification of Steve Waugh provided a moments reflection on the mystical journey that has been the last fifteen years of Australian Cricket. It was also an opportunity to flog a lot of mawkish and tacky merchandise. Luckily the cricket intervened and provided a distraction. As retirements go, Steve narrowly edged out the "King of Caulfield", Northerly, who stepped down after taking all before it, including a few bookies.

The Calling a Spade A Bloody Shovel Award - Adam Scott The man who has been touted as the next Greg Norman (which sounds like grounds for defamation) spoke the truth when he said that even he found golf on the TV boring. Hopefully sports' answer to property development will disappear from our TV screens forever, but unfortunately it will come too late to leave that used car salesman, Norman, bankrupt.

The Girlfriend's Eyes Glaze Over Award - Daniel Vettori The thinking woman's Shane Warne gave cricket metrosexual credibility again when this left armed Lothario crossed the Tasman to represent the Black Caps. Why does cricket have this ability to throw up men that leave otherwise intelligent beings drooling, and without any of the shenanigans of their winter code counterparts? Even my grandmother used to take a sickie when Keith Miller was bowling at the SCG. "He could park his shoes under my bed any time," Nan used to say of Miller. It seems there are plenty that feel the same way about Vettori. This column is quite happy to settle for admiring his cricketing ability.

The Mike Tyson Winning Ugly award - Canterbury Bulldogs Rugby League almost made itself respectable again but was left holding the proverbial bucket when the "family club" took the Publicly Owned Telco Cup in October. There is a stench emanating from the NRL that smells a lot like death.

The Three Stooges Slapstick Comedy award - The Socceroos The Socceroos first outing against Turkey at the SCG Number 2 Oval gave everyone a chuckle as the Socceroos collided, bumped and tackled each other in a comedy of errors that saw them eclipsed by the world cup semi-finalists. The Aussies were lucky the margin flattered them so. It was a bit deflating for the crowd after being gouged by the ticket prices on offer. Australia must be the only country where its players suffer from jet lag when they play at home.

The Tony Abbott Job Security Award - Ian Chappell Bill Lawrie wasn't the last Australian Cricket Captain to get sacked. In a delicious stroke of irony it was Lawrie's successor who obviously offended one conservative too many by actually giving a rats about Australia's concentration camp policy, and Ian got the old heave ho. No doubt, with media cross-ownership laws up for grabs under the Howard Government's 'Not Nailed Down' policy, Kerry Packer was only too keen to do a favour or twenty-eight for Dear Leader Howard. After all, we can't have the offspring of Adelaide's privileged elite embarrassing the Federal Government - that's Alexander Downer's job.

The Mills And Boon Sporting Romance Award - Lleyton Hewitt Aussie Kym Klisters dumped Llittle Lleyton after she found out he was having an affair with himself. Who couldn't shed a tear when this little imbroglio fell apart? Here at the locker room there wasn't a dry eye in the house. We couldn't stop laughing for weeks.

The Kerry Packer Needs A Kidney Award - Craig Stephens Craig won fair and square but he doesn't have a range of mens' fashion so he got the heave ho. It was a fair decision he made all by himself, without any outside pressure except for the rest of the Australian population. The move saved Ian Thorpe from the trouble and embarrassment of having to get a real job. After all, what is greatness but being able to swim up and down a pool really, really quickly.

The Australian Of the Year Award - Sally Robbins What is more Australian than giving up when the going gets tough? Millions of Australians do it every day. The real heroes of this country aren't the sociopathic masochists who push themselves beyond the limit of human endurance, but those who resign themselves to the fact that the whole thing is pointless and knock off early. Having a break is the Australian way. Rower Sally Robbins exemplified this in the most Australian moment of the Greek Olympics. Sally was stuffed, so she gave up. Good on her, there should be more of it. On a further pleasing note, this year's Greek Olympiad was one of the best held in Greece in over 100 years.

The Fine Cotton Bolter Of the Year Award - Solomon Islands In the feel good story of the year it was time bilong Solomons when the tiny South Pacific island that has had to put up with everything from Cyclones to Alexander Downer arrived on soccer's world stage. Firstly in Adelaide when it snared second place in the Oceania competition - and then when it took on the Socceroos sans Harry Kewell in Honiara. The team of part timers brought some Melanesian flair and grit to a contest that a few years ago would have seen the bookies giving them a 15-goal start.

Phil Doyle - Shoots! And goals!


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