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July 2005   
F E A T U R E S

Interview: Battle Stations
Opposition leader Kim Beazley says he's ready to fight for workers right. But come July 1, he'll have to be fighting by different rules.

Unions: The Workers, United
It was a group of rank and filers who took centre stage when workers rallied in Sydney's Town Hall, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: The Lost Weekend
The ALP had a hot date, they had arranged to meet on the Town Hall steps, and Phil Doyle was there.

Industrial: Truth or Dare
Seventeen ivory towered academics upset those who know what is best for us last week.

History: A Class Act
After reading a new book on class in Australia, Neale Towart is left wondering if it is possible to tie the term down.

Economics: The Numbers Game
Political economist Frank Stilwell offers a beginners guide to understanding budgets

International: Blonde Ambition
Sweden can be an inspiration to labour movements the world over, as it has had community unionism for over 100 years, creating a vibrant caring society, rather than a "productive" lean economy.

Training: The Trade Off
Next time you go looking for a skilled tradesman and can’t find one, blame an economist, writes John Sutton.

Review: Bore of the Worlds
An invincible enemy has people turning against one another as they fight for survival – its not just an eerie view of John Howard’s ideal workplace, writes Nathan Brown.

Poetry: The Beaters Medley
In solidarity with the workers of Australia, Sir Paul McCartney (with inspiration from his old friend John Lennon) has joined the Workers Online resident bard David Peetz to pen some hits about the government's proposed industrial relations revolution.

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson lifts the lid on ‘The Nine Myths of Modern Unionism’

The Locker Room
Wrist Action
Phil Doyle trawls the murky depths of tawdry sleaze, and discovers Rugby is behind it all.

Culture
To Hew The Coal That Lies Below
Phil Doyle reviews Australia's first coal mining novel, Black Diamonds and Dust.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite State MP, Ian West, reports from Macquarie Street that the Premier is all the way with a State Commission.

E D I T O R I A L

After the Action
After a National Week of Action that has had everything from mass rallies in all capital cities to IR chat rooms opening on the Vogue Magazine website it’s fair to say that the first objective of this campaign – to raise public awareness – has been achieved.

N E W S

 Don't Get Angry, Get Organised

 Feds Threaten Hardie Battlers

 Beasts of Bourbon Play Dog

 Churches on Workplace Mission

 Unions Are The New Black

 Muster Has Bosses in Fluster

 Workers Flood to Protests

 Official: Libs Don’t Know Own Laws

 Schools Out For Uni Bosses

 IR Campaign Taxing Andrews

 Air Safety at Risk

 Carr Runs Over Lib Laws

 Aga Khan Workers Gaoled

 Activists Whats On!

L E T T E R S
 Workers Give In FNQ
 Power and the Passion
 Mao and Then
 The Third Way Hits A Dead End
 Unfair For All
 What Is To Be Done?
 Black Hawk Up
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Review

Bore of the Worlds


An invincible enemy has people turning against one another as they fight for survival – its not just an eerie view of John Howard’s ideal workplace, writes Nathan Brown.

It's also the plot of Steven Spielberg's latest money-spinner War of the Worlds.

Spielberg has taken the classic HG Wells story of a martian invasion of earth, brought it up to date - largely by changing the scenery and omitting anything 19th Century - and given it a family-friendly view.

Enter Ray (Tom Cruise), a dock-worker who is charged with looking after his two kids while his ex-wife takes off with the boyfriend.

You almost feel a bit of sympathy for Cruise as he cops abuse from his smart-alec kids, but before you can reprimand yourself for such thoughts, a freak thunderstorm brings down with it some outer-space critters hell-bent on destroying any form of life.

Given the first 15 minutes of designer label-clad Cruise with his precocious kids, you can hardly blame them.

What follows is a mosaic of Spielberg special effects held together by some weak story about Cruise finding out how to be a father.

If, like me, you read the HG Wells book when you were 12 and were a fan of the kitsch 70s soundtrack you will be inevitably disappointed.

The story of a sensible man trying to reason his way through the chaos and futility becomes the story of a Hollywood-style miserable father bumbling through some special effects.

But even the special effects leave you disappointed. We don't get to see a major confrontation between the humans and the aliens - even when the chance is sitting there.

Master-director Spielberg obviously decided it would be more suspenseful if it was left up in the air. Thanks for trying, Steven.

Probably the only thing which helps give this movie any sort of meaning is a scene where a mob of people turn against one another as they are running from attack.

Whoever's got the means to get out of there is under attack from people who want it. When they get it they come under attack.

As I said, it's the thing that comes closest to a point.

So if you've read the book and you feel like coming out of a movie saying to yourself things aren't what they used to be, this is probably the film for you.

If you haven't read the book and like to be lost in a film that offers nothing by way of explanation and leaves you dudded in special effects, you too should see it.

Everyone else - go find a Martian to thank for trying to destroy this poxy attempt at a film.

1 and 1/2 stars (I've met better dock workers)


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