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February 2006   

Interview: Court's in Session
As the silks line up to challenge WorkChoices, Jeff Shaw is fighting for his own legacy - the NSW IR system.

Industrial: Whose Choices?
The Howard Government's WorkChoices legislation has been dissected by lawyers and the commentariat; now it's the turn of political economists.

Politics: Peter's Principles
Forget John Howard. The force behind WorkChoices is Peter Costello. The Prime Minister-in-waiting has devoted a lifetime to undermining the security and living standards of Australian families, Jim Marr reports.

Environment: TINA or Greener?
What does the greenhouse effect and legislation to control workers have in common, asks Neale Towart

History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
Power. They have it, we want it. Friendly societies tried to keep it for working people, writes Neale Towart

International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
The US Government has refused to allow France's most famous farmer Jose Bove into the country to address a conference

Education: No AWA - No Job
The Howard Government has given the Australian community its first view of the future by forcing new staff at Ballarat University to sign an Australian Workplace Agreement if they want a job, writes Jenny Macklin.

Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
The writings of a Middle Eastern theologian may provide guidance to those grappling with indigenous issues, writes Graham Ring

Review: Charlie the Serf
Nathan Brown takes the sledgehammer (and sickle) to Mr Wonka's Chocolate Factory.


The Soapbox
Hitler in Bowral
Political censorship has made its wasy to the sleepy Southern Highlands, wrties Rowan Cahill.

The Locker Room
No Laughing Matter
Phil Doyle tries to take Australian sportspeople seriously, and fails.

The Westie Wing
Ian West is mistakenly sent an advance copy of John Winston Howard’s Little Blue Book of Australian History…


Total Impact
The long hot summer, the calm before the storm, is finally passed; and as March 1 approaches the new world of work is looming and the extent of the attack on organised labour is becoming clear.


 Capital Punishment on the Menu

 Della Builds Fortress NSW

 Unfair Sackings Face Challenge

 Slave Contractors Sprung

 Holden's Bad Deal for Adelaide

 ACCI Never Sleeps

 STOP PRESS: Guest Worker Plan Goes to Water

 Taking a Punt on Melbourne Cup

 Backlash on Job Cuts

 Howard Coy on Ad Orgy

 Newcastle Rails Against Contracts

 Union Man Eyes Cuts

 Free Enterprise Kills Hundreds

 Aussie Icon Moves to China

 Activist's What's On!

 The Best for the Best
 Belated Merry Whatmas?
 The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
 I Think Therefore I Scam
 A Taxing Answer
 Leslie John Turner
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The Soapbox

Hitler in Bowral

Political censorship has made its wasy to the sleepy Southern Highlands, wrties Rowan Cahill.

On Friday 20 January, police in the semi-rural town of Bowral (NSW) removed an anti-Howard political poster from a street stall following an alleged complaint, or complaints, from the public.

The poster was a large homemade amateurish affair, comprising photographs of Adolph Hilter and John Howard with the Question posed above them 'SPOT THE DIFFERENCE', and below them the Answer 'THEY BOTH LOVE FASCISM'.

Bowral is a well known day-tripper tourist destination, and a bolt hole for the rich and famous, many of whom enjoy tax relief as 'farmers'. It also attracts Sydney residents, like talkback host Alan Jones, who maintain luxurious addresses in the surrounding district. Despite glossy real-estate spin in the Ita Buttrose edited journal High Life, a local cover version of the prissy English silvertail Country Life journal, the town and surrounding area is not all jodhpurs and pearls; the ALP has a significant following, and there is a sizeable, active, network of dissidents and rebels of various kinds who support everything from Green politics to Refugee Rights.

The poster removed by police was the work of the local branch of the right-wing populist Citizens Electoral Council (CEC), an outfit founded during the 1980s in Queensland and closely associated with the American organization of political activist and perpetual Presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche.

Local CEC members have been reported as opposing the trend towards the Australian population becoming subservient „to business and the banks‰, and recommending the approaches of „Franklin Roosevelt and John Curtin‰ as the way to go.

The anti-Howard poster was one of a few on display in Corbett Plaza on Friday 20 January at a street stall conducted by the CEC, including one with the anti-Bush jibe „ECONOMY IS BUSH‚S NIGHTMARE, TERRORISM IS HIS DREAM‰. The stall had local Council permission and met relevant regulations. The tree lined plaza is right in the centre of town, and within spitting distance of the electoral office of the NSW Liberal Party‚s Shadow Treasurer Peta Seaton.

According to reports the police decision to remove the anti-Howard sign was made after the local police station received complaints from members of the local community alleging the poster was offensive.

Just how many complaints were made is something of a mystery. Reports differ as to whether it was a single complaint, a number of complaints, maybe even a mass of complaints from people on a tourist bus. Then again, there was the proximity of the stall to Shadow Treasurer Seaton‚s electoral office.

Police fronted the CEC stall, reportedly told the organizer there had been complaints, that an „imminent breach of peace‰ was in the offing, and took the offending item away to the local police station a hundred metres up the road.

The Bowral police action is an example of where the new state and federal terror laws are taking us, and raises basic issues about freedom of speech. As one concerned local resident put it in a letter to the Editor of the local paper:

„What is what is going on here? By what and whose authority did the police remove the poster? Have NSW police the authority to make political judgments about political material that does not break specific laws? Was the right of free speech actually curtailed by NSW police on Friday January 20 in the town of Bowral?

"Seems to me that if the NSW police can act in this manner against the sort of political poster and political comment involved in the January 20 incident, then we are entering very scary times. The poster was making a legitimate political point, especially if you regard Fascism as a grouping of political and cultural characteristics and not a time-specific political system.

"What I want to know is at what point, and when, did the display of the sort of material removed by Bowral police, actually become a police matter? And if it is not a police matter, then can someone please help the Bowral police work through their confusions and uncertainties?"

These are questions we should all demand answers too.


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