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February 2005   

Economics: Super Seduction
Sharks are circling your super. From July 1, banks and financial planners will have access to the nesteggs of an extra four million workers.

Interview: Bono and Me
ACTU Sharan Burrow lifts the lid on the rock star lifestyle of an international union leader.

Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Rowan Cahill bucks conventional wisdom to argue the eight-hour day began in Sydney.

Economics: OEC-Who?
The OECD calls for more reform. But, Asks Neale Towart, who is really doing the calling?

Technology: From Widgets to Digits
How can unions grow and continue to successfully represent workers when their traditional structures are rooted in an industry, craft or fixed location?

Education: Dumb and Dumber
Unions are leading the fight against a political agenda that does away with smart jobs.

Health: No Place for the Young
The support of union members is required to help get young people out of nursing homes, writes Mark Robinson

History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
February 17 marks 30-years to the day that sacked coal miners at the NSW Northern District Nymboida Colliery began their historic work-in at the mine.

Review: Dare to Win
The history of the militant and often controversial BLF is as surprising as it is fascinating writes Tim Brunero.

Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
With another change at the helm of the Labor Party, our resident bard, David Peetz, can't help but dreamily drawing on some political history.


Titanic Forces
There are book reviewers who have not read the book they have just reviewed and there are critics who have criticised films they have not yet seen. I want to review a novel that has not yet been written.

The Soapbox
Labour and Labor
Grant Bellchamber looks at the relationship between both sides organised labour

Aussie Unions Help Tsunami Victims
The union movement�s aid agency reports back on its relief effort in Asia.

The Locker Room
Game, Set and Yawn
Phil Doyle asks if tennis is evil or just boring

The Westie Wing
As a reshuffle of the State Ministry settles in and the Federal Government throws down the gauntlet, 2005 promises to be a new and vital chapter in the struggle for workers and their families, writes Ian West in Macquarie Street.


Polar Shifts
And so Workers Online makes our belated return to 2005 - and while we may have the same old familiar faces in Federal Parliament, politically, it�s a whole new ball game.


 Plastic Man Crosses the Line

 Taskforce Loses "Payback" Evidence

 Court Out � Again

 Blue Chips Fried in CBD

 Bosses Duck Decapitation

 Computer Driven Posties

 Stalking Horses in Safety Stampede

 Low Blow in Ferry Blue

 Howard "Unbalanced"

 Picketers Chase Millions

 Whistleblower Beats Bullies

 Mateship Shines Through

 Queensland Marks Power Grab

 Vale Laurie Aarons 1917-2005

 Nelson's Double Standard
 Morals Beat Hasty Retreat
 Uncounted Cost Of Asbestos
 Voting Farce Expands
 I Beg To Differ
 Politics Smolitics
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Titanic Forces

There are book reviewers who have not read the book they have just reviewed and there are critics who have criticised films they have not yet seen. I want to review a novel that has not yet been written.

This novel has a title Titanic Forces and several chapters of this always unfinished manuscript appear in Bob Carr's 2002 book Thoughtlines .

After some thirty years, Bob Carr probably does not remember me. We were both delegates to a National Young Labor conference held in Sydney in 1973. I certainly remember Bob and his extraordinary ability to use sarcasm and humour to demolish the left of which I was very much a player. Greg Sword from the NUW has some photos of the delegates together, all in our twenties and all going to save the world.

Bob Carr and I both joined the ALP in the 1960s, he chose the right wing faction controlled by Ducker/Unsworth for his spiritual guidance. I went with the Victorian Hartley/Crawford left which after federal intervention in that state branch was reborn as the Socialist Left (SL). In the 1970s we both worked for the trade union movement. Now, some thirty years after our first and only meeting, we have both climbed the greasy political Labor poll. Bob Carr has been leader of the strongest Parliamentary Labor Caucus for sixteen years while I have been an ALP electorate officer for almost two years.

Bob's impatient hero in Titanic Forces, Richard Carter, works for a right wing controlled union which is based in Sydney's Sussex Street. Other characters in his novel include Gerry Sheridan a king maker if ever there was! Surely in real life in NSW Labor politics there could not be such a person who thinks of nothing but winning pre-selections, beating the left and counting numbers. Richard, our hero, has a few ambitions and ideas of his own. I can almost taste the Chinese food in Sydney's Dixon Street, smell the smoke and beer in the pubs in Goulburn Street.

In Victoria, we (ALP) electorate officers love reading of the exploits of the Shane Moloney character, Murray Whelan, and his steady rise through the ALP machine (Stiff, The Brush Off etc.) When Bob Carr gets a bit of time he should finally reveal if Richard will go on to win a seat in the Parliament and to serve the Labor Movement in Canberra or Sydney. Only then we will have a chance to compare the real engine rooms of politics within our two great states.

At least hope I can get a review copy or a decent glass of a Hunter Valley red at the launch. This political thriller needs to see the light of day.

Bob Scates

January 2005


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