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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 Locker Room

No Laughing Matter

Phil Doyle tries to take Australian sportspeople seriously, and fails.

It is exhilarating to see that Australian sportspeople will not let themselves be taken as a joke.

This is no mean feat, as many of them appear to struggle with the concept of what a joke is. Luckily this is matched by a firm grasp of their position at the

centre of the universe - several universes actually.

Jana Pittman's observation that she is surrounded by people who think she is paranoid should set alarm bells ringing. Instead it merely sold a few papers. Of course, as we all know, most people have been out to get Jana for some time now and she's noticed little things going missing from her kit bag, such as excuses, and form. It's a well-known fact that if Jana does not represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games the sun will stop rising in the east.

Luckily though, the fur fight in lane five has sparked interest in the aforementioned Commonwealth Games.

Why people cannot get interested in the athletics meeting held to celebrate the fact that the sun never sets on the British Empire is one of life's modern mysteries.

Down at the office we've been working on the fact that half a million tickets to this prestigious event remain unsold. The general trend of the research is that the event is perceived as boring and that people have got better things to do than watch Australia beating Botswana at contract bridge or lawn bowls.

In fact, the only people getting excited are those people who find the Australian flag an erotic thing, and most of those are on remand for mistaking people in North Cronulla for Sri Lankan cricketers.

Luckily the Locker Room realises that, while Australia may have lost it's sense of humour the day the Tampa appeared over the horizon, a joke the size of the Commonwealth Games should be appreciated by all.

Unfortunately Ricky Ponting will not appreciate it, but with a name like his it's easy to understand why.

It is unedifying that a grown man can pass himself off as a Ricky. This is the sole domain of members of boy bands and US marketing executives. So the Locker Room, in a great Australian tradition, is set to rename Ricky, and give him the good, wholesome Australian grown up bloke name of Dick.

Henceforth the man who holds the highest public office in Australia, Captain of the Australian cricket team, shall be known as Dick Ponting.

That should see his ban at the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar lifted as well, they've served plenty of Dicks over the years.

Which brings us to a more deep-seated psychological problem. Even deeper than the mass insecurity Australians feel about their place in the world and our need to gloat over sporting achievements that no one else cares about. It is the tortured soul of one Lleyton Hhewitt.

Whether it is caused by having obsessive parents, a dysfunctional upbringing or having two consonants at the start of his name is a secret that remains behind the tortured beady eyes of a man who is paid millions to hit a tennis ball really, really well.

Imagine the torment of this man if he had to do something useful, such as be a micro-surgeon or, even harder, operate a bus out of Leichhardt Depot in the morning peak?

Who knows, beneath that reversed baseball cap may be the Bbrain that can reverse salinity in the Murray-Darling Basin, or understand tax law, but we will probably never find out.

No, such is the fragile state of this man's mind that he has married himself, and produced offspring in contravention to the laws of such matters as laid out by His Holiness Pope Abbott I. This horrible, ugly charade has even begun to revulse ppoor Lleyton, who has taken to hiding his child in a garbage bag.

Still, given that Prime Minister Howard will probably appoint his horse to the Senate sometime this year, it is in keeping with the Zeitgeist of the times.

In an age where absurdity is normal, nothing as absurd as the Commonwealth Games was ever going to stand out form the pack.

Still, we will be watching Jersey's efforts with some interest. After all, they do produce a mean cow.

Phil Doyle - delivering a roundhouse kick to Chuck Norris


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