** SPECIAL ALL GORT EDITION **Melbourne, Australia

SCUM AT THE TOP

9 April 1999
Editor: Harold HarkVolume 1 Number 8

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WHERE'S ME TABLETS!
by Gort Slypesunder

Ol' Pol Pot Just Had 'Em Shot

--the intelligentsia, that is--and it looks like Slobbo is doing the same in Kosovo. As we all know, conservative governments routinely require an ignorant electorate to keep them in power, and while our Coalition is several terms away from the final solution employed by the above regimes, they have a native distrust of all education beyond that of business administration.

In their latest bid to make it all but impossible for any but the sons and daughters of their mates to attend university, the government wants to ban compulsory student unions. At first glance, it appears an act of appalling stupidity. Student unions use the compulsorily collected fees to provide a vast array of services to students who would not otherwise be able to afford them. It's like collecting rates; you don't ask ratepayers to volunteer their annual fees. But of course this move is part of the Coalition's plan to dumb down Australia. Free education? A socialist plot! How is an autocracy to rule effectively if everyone is educated?

On another front, the Coalition hasn't yet taken control of the media, but they are no doubt looking to Slobbo on that one, too. Look at the Serbs. Without a free media, they actually think NATO is driving the Kosovars from their homes! With Michael Kroger on the board at the ABC and Richard Alston ready to give it the flick, our All American Prime Minister is getting closer to his ideal of a nation of white picket enclaves and sub-prole ghettos.

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Rabelaisian Melancholy

It was barely mentioned in the media, but all charges have been dropped against the former editors of Rabelais, the student newspaper of La Trobe University (one of the last genuine universities in Australia). In a surprising anticlimax to three years of court battles, in which the establishment went to great lengths to hound the students for their article on achieving cost-cutting excellence through efficient shoplifting methods, the Victorian DPP simply dropped the charges, no reasons given. No celebrations were reported.

(Elsewhere, the Kennett Government is seeking legal advice over the RMIT magazine Catalyst for its article on how to evade fares and vandalise Metcard ticket machines.)

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Why Is Sam Newman So Popular?

Or even tolerated? The man has no class! His insults are not merely unfunny, they are downright mean. I can just see him doing his routine in a Serbian concentration camp, the Albanians behind barbed wire the butt of his jokes, with the Serb guards drooling Slivovitz between guffaws. His delivery has all the panache of a fart under a doona in a broken down Airstream whose wheel-less axles are rooted in a caravan park lost to view under a rarely used bridge next to an abandoned railroad yard. In other words, he sounds like his life force is in the last stage of entropy. Then again, Australia, like Serbia, has a small population. The same faces find their way to the covers of the same magazines year after year. We keep trying to resurrect Graham Kennedy. Could we do the opposite to Sam Newman?

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In Case You Missed It

Peter "The Gunsel" Reith has put his own man, Peter Richards, on the Industrial Relations Commission. You may remember the latter Peter as the former Peter's metaphorical weapons cleaner and oiler in the Docks dispute. As both Peters could have worked well with Pinochet's junta, we can see what kind of chance the working stiffs in Australia are going to have.

EFFICIENCY IS A TOTALITARIAN IDEAL

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Is Overtime Dead?

It appears that from next year there will be no more statistical analysis of the amount of overtime taken by workers. For the simple reason that overtime has become irrelevant. Workers are not getting it any more. Do you remember the good feeling you had when you knew you were getting time and a half or double time or even triple time for the weekend or late night hours you were giving to your employer? Time lost but money gained. Money to have a bloody good time with! Now we look to a 19th century future with hang dog workers slogging through the time they could be with their families for not enough money to take those families for an overnight outing to the beach or the mountains. It's a capitalist pig's dream and humanity's nightmare.

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We're Eating Our Hearts Out

over David Gibson's column, "Revealed: the dirty politics of S&M" in The Age, 7/4/99. If only we could be so funny! It is surely the most hilarious piece of political satire in years, if not bloody ever. Belly laughs are a rarity in the political life of Australia these days, so if you haven't read it, a treat is in store. Not giving anything away here, but Little Johnny's "mateship" has been given a mortal blow; the word can never be seriously used again. Go now and find this stupendous article and prepare to howl. John Howard and his clueless mob are good for something, after all.

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Speaking Of The Most Hollow Man Who Ever Lived

You will by now have read many words over his shameful response to accepting Kosovan refugees and subsequent backflip. (Is anyone keeping score in the backflip competition between Howard and Harridine?) There is not much to add, but we just have to say something, and it's this. John Howard's Liberals are a model one-issue party. What's that issue? Absolute Power (thank you Meg Lees ). They want total domination of the excluded masses and to that end they are attacking every aspect of social egalitarianism. They are making universities unable to educate the poor, they are attempting to reserve health care for the wealthy, they are reducing employees to expendable commodities at the mercy of Simon Legree-like employer barons, they are selling off profitable people-owned services (to pay off a meaningless debt!) to privateers whose objectives are to fatten their hip pockets by reducing services until failure requires them to flee to Majorcan safe havens. Thus, when it comes to humanitarian issues: the Kosovan refugee crisis, their refusal to apologise to the Aboriginal community, their rigid attitude to the heroin epidemic, they are simply not interested. The Howard government is unable to deal with foreign events--East Timor is blowing up in our face; where are the contingency plans?--or social issues. They are unimportant for this one-issue government and its relaxed and comfortable rule at the bottom of the garden.

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Time To Really Get Hip

Channel Ten is now regarded as the coolest commercial TV station in Australia. And with their recent acquisition of Good News Week (whose regular panellists now claim more satirical freedom than with the ABC!), this may well be the case. Time then, to prove it by showing The Simpsons and Seinfeld reruns without cutting them to fit in those noxious ads. Until then, they are just another commercial TV station, not to be taken seriously.

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What Happened To "The Big News"?

Admittedly it wasted the talents of Marg Downey and Michael Veitch, with the rest of the cast hopelessly unfunny. Yet it had good satirical potential. Two episodes in and there were rumours of interference from the PM's office. Did John Howard have it removed? The Channel Seven execs? Or did Ted Emery pull it from embarrassment. Whatever happened, its removal was unceremonious.

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Systemic Failure of Compulsive Competitive Tendering

The Westralia tragedy has produced one of the most flagrant acts of contempt for public opinion since tendering and contracting out became the darlings of competition's golden age. The Australian Defence Industries face criminal charges over negligence (purported cost cutting) in the installation of the wrong fuel lines which caused the fire and deaths of four naval personnel. Yet the same ADI has won the $25 million tender for the refit. Makes you wonder about all the other tendering jobs which have proliferated in the last few years, and not just the obvious ones reeking of corruption like Swell's Casino here in Melbourne. Tendering has become synonymous with snickering favours on the old boy circuit. Anyway, the Navy is happy since individual culpability has been ruled out in favour of "systemic failure." It is now left to the bereaved families to spend the next few decades, and a fortune they don't have, seeking justice from the Navy and the ADI, who clearly do not value it.

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What? Leave Jeff Out Of An Issue?

My favourite cigar seller, Wal Baranow, president of the Tobacco Sellers Organisation, was recently on The World Today telling us that Jeff Kennett, before his election in 1992, promised to look after him on tobacco issues. "You'll like me," Jeff said. Wal does indeed like Jeff. And so does Phillip Morris, whose wink-wink memos suggest that they think Jeff is a lobbyist on their behalf. Well, Jeff may not be a spruiker for the tobacco industry, but he doesn't mind making a tax buck on cancer sticks. Makes you wonder why governments don't legalise pot too. HH will be taking on that subject in a subsequent issue.

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