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Issue No. 272 15 July 2005  

Home Ground Advantage
American pollster Vic Fingerhut has been in Australia this week with a reassuring message to the labour movement - it's OK to stand up for what you believe in - and it might even win you elections.


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.


 PM Rallies on Spin

 Crafty Boss Bytes Staff

 Andrews Faces "Thuggery" Challenge

 Delta Blues

 NRL Plays Man Not Ball

 Boeing Hits Turbulence

 Whole Truth Eludes Rev Kev

 Correct Weight Caulfield

 Business Nervous Over IR Changes

 Last Weekend Gets a Lift

 Free Pass for Death Doctors

 Activists Whats On!


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.

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

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

 Do It Yourself?
 The vision thing
 True Lies
 You C.A.N. Do It
 Water Works
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Tool Shed

Expert Tool

Apparently what is standing between employees and a fair go is all these entitlements that none of us want, or so says our Tool Of the Week.


The PT Barnum of the loony Right gave us the benefit of his wisdom this week, which didn't take long but nonetheless was a fine illustration of what is possible when you engage the mouth while the brain is in neutral.

Graeme Haycroft's intellectual background stems from the fact that he runs a labour hire firm. He is a modest man, humbly declaring himself the "most published expert on the labour market issues" in the country.

He gave a stunning example of how wide the meaning of the word expert can be in an op-ed piece for Brisbane's Courier Mail last week under the headline "Fair Go For All".

Those expecting to read how there would be a fair go for all were strangely disappointed, as former insurance salesman turned huxter for paying staff in salt, Graeme Haycroft, explained how the new industrial relations laws are fantastic, and that it's all about choice.

Hey! Who needs to worry about AWAs, because so few people are using them, says Graeme - an OEA "partner" who uses an unusual selling technique.

And even if people are on an AWA, well, according to old Greybags the changes are merely "cosmetic" anyway.

Has anyone ever associated being able to go to work without fear as being "cosmetic"?

I suppose the Vogue website pointed to the example of a fitness trainer sacked from a gym for not wearing make-up, so maybe he is on to something.

Haycroft is perplexed that workers get "holiday pay, sick pay, long service leave, bereavement leave and redundancy thrown in whether you wanted them or not".

Heaven forbid! Why don't workers just volunteer their time as well! Obviously that's what they all want, hey Graeme? That's why they're flocking to support these changes.

Naturally the man who encourages continued use of the word 'crackpot' has identified that workers are frustrated that they don't have the choice to work for six packs of bourbon under the name of flexibility.

"Employees and employers actually want the same things," says the man who has a disturbing resemblance to John Pertwee of Doctor Who fame. Employees are also apparently "happy to drop guarantees" in return for more money according to the Einstein of industry.

"This gives workers security," says Haycroft, as the men in white coats move in.

Apparently the opposite of the fair go is the entitlement, so the only way to guarantee a fair go is to remove entitlements. It's a stunning argument presented handsomely without a shred of logic.

Apparently opposition to the changes is coming from industrial relations professionals, not good 'ole boys who happen to run a company that does, well, industrial relations. Graeme is very keen to show us the workings of his unprofessional industrial relations company, the remarkably utilitarian Labour Hire Australia Group, on their website.

They proudly declare that "We take over all your problems and risks associated with employment", like, for instance, having to pay people for example.

Haycroft is an interesting character. He believes in unions, just not for everybody.

He believes in unions so much he formed one himself, what he calls the Small Business Union. Which is none of the three.

Another thing he believes in strongly is nepotism.

He believes in nepotism so much he made his son head of Occupational Health and Safety for his work in the construction industry. The idea being that your workers' occupational health will be safer if they don't join a union.

Ben Haycroft is good at lifting things.

Graeme's website proudly tells us how number one son Ben "controls" a workforce of over 200.

Let's just hope he controls them with the famous Haycroft Mindmeld, and not the more traditional form of control favoured by his sunshine coast property developing mates, Sumo wrestlers and swarthy chaps who repossess jewellery.

You have to take your hat off to a man who can make Russ Hinze look like an intellectual, and that's after he's been dead for about ten or more years.

A man who counts amongst his mates sunshine coast property developers who find it difficult to close their mouths properly is obviously just the sort of, err, human with their finger on the pulse of Australian society.

If Graeme's contribution to helping us understand the inner workings, or lack thereof, in the mind of the industrial zealot has impressed you then why not email himand let him know what you think is a fair go for all.


The most inspiring interpretation of this week's tool get's a souvenir edition of Ship of Tools. Deface the Tool of the Week, click the button above to post your artwork, fill out the form and send your entry in and we'll post the winners next week in the Tool of the Week Gallery.


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