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August 2006   

Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Macquarie Street and Canberra are squaring off over safety in the workplace, NSW Minister for Industrial relations, John Della Bosca, explains what's at stake.

Unions: Fighting Back
When John Howard's building industry enforcer started threatening people's homes, one couple hit the road. Jim Marr met them in Sydney.

Industrial: What Cowra Means
The ruling on the Cowra abattoir case highlights the implications of the new IR rules, according to John Howe and Jill Murray

Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Howard Government hypocrisy is showcased in its climate change manoeuvring, Stuart Rosewarne writes:

Politics: Page Turner
A new book leaves no doubt about whether the faction came before the ego, Nathan Brown writes.

Economics: The State of Labour
The capacity of the state to shape the political economy and thus improve the social lives of the people must be reasserted, argues Geoff Dow.

International: Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

History: Liberty in Spain
Worker Self-Management is good management. The proof in Spain was in Catalania, Andalusia and continues in the Basque Country, as Neale Towart explains.

Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
Phil Doyle thought he'd find nostalgia, but instead Vulgar Press' new book, Maroon & Blue is a penetrating insight into the suburban mind under stress.


The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter One - Tommy and "The Boy"

Westie Wing
Ian West wonders what might happen if the NSW Coalition actually did win power next March at the State elections.

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Page Turner

A new book leaves no doubt about whether the faction came before the ego, Nathan Brown writes.

My first experience with John Hyde Page, or JHP as he liked to be known, was in my first year at Sydney University.

It was before one of Frank Stillwell's spirited performances at the left-lurching Political Economy school.

The class was made up of people with beards, red shirts, berets, Che Guevara wrist watches and the only thing that unites us - Dr Martin Boots.

I think I was carving a hammer and sickle into the desk, when the cacophony of jeers, boos and heckling of those around me caught my attention.

Standing in front of the class was a bespectacled, white shirted geek trying to sell the benefits of voluntary student unionism, the enterprise student and criminalising homosexual marriage.

"So consider voting 1 JHP," JHP said and promptly duck and wove through airborne stationary and rolled up Green Left Weeklies as he darted out the door.

Our lecturer's eyes were about to pop, as his hand was doing its best to hold back his merriment.

The noise in the class died down, but JHP was far from finished.

It was no secret he was hell-bent on world domination, a quest which he failed and inspired his new book, The Education of a Young Liberal.

Mark Latham has hailed it as "a very important statement about the corrosive impact of machine politics on young people in this country".

Hyde Page's original interest in politics comes from somewhere unique.

He was playing with toy laser guns at his exclusive Cranbrook High when he ran into a gaggle of Young Liberals who, understandably, were cooler than him.

This chance meeting sparked a flame of ambition in Hyde Page, and he soon found himself on a six year mission to stack branches like no toff had done before.

At the time, Hyde Page was a monarchist, an anti-abortionist and a law and order man - so he found himself with the moderate wing.

"I was occasionally tempted, also, to tell gay members of the Moderate faction that they were going to burn in hell, and could have quoted the relevant Bible verse for them," Hyde Page recalls.

This is one of the few glimmers of anything that comes close to a policy position in the book.

Hyde Page's stated goal from the outset is that he wants to be the shadowy back-room figure - the puppeteer, if you will.

And through 300 pages, the reader learns that being a back-room man is a pretty boring life.

For some, this boredom might spring from the lack of any meaningful human contact; people are either numbers or robots crunching numbers.

Hyde Page admits the lifestyle has downsides, but for different reasons.

As he explains: "Example: a hack rapidly discovered he could not use his electorate office computer to look at pornography on the internet."

It takes a special breed.

Latham is wrong in his assessment - why blame machine politics, when you can blame the purveyors of such shenanigans.

Hyde Page does: "The vibrant organization was now dead, destroyed by me and people like me."

It is clear factions play second fiddle to the ego - the converted republican Hyde Page works for the monarchist Peter King against Malcolm Turnbull to further his own goals.

The Right Wing tries to recruit the enlightened Hyde Page to further its own goals.

Internally, the Liberals stay true to their workplace philosophy - every man for himself.

It's just a shame we won't have JHP to kick around anymore.


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