The Guardian 14 December, 2005

Dingo bytes

Former AFL player Michael Long has added spark to the movement for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. His The Long Walk attracted around 10,000 people on December 4, a 3.3 kilometre trek ending at Princes Park footy ground, the home of Long's former club Carlton. There the people heard speakers warn of the affect on the nation of the Howard Government's failure to address reconciliation. Said Goulburn Valley elder Paul Briggs, the "lack of connectedness" between Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal Australians was holding the country back from realising its potential. He called on participants to take the purpose of the walk "back to our homes and workplaces and make things happen".

Former NSW Premier Bob Carr, in the full knowledge of his impending resignation, helped himself to a junket a trip to Dubai and London that cost taxpayers more than $100,000 ending the 12- day trip just a week before he resigned. Carr went to Dubai, announced the location of the desalination plant to be built in Sydney, then went to London for meetings and media appearances. Of course, he now has as consultancy position with Macquarie Bank one of the players in the cross-city tunnel debacle on $500,000 a year.

BHP's Mt Arthur Coal Mine was full of capitalist Christmas good spirits and cheer when it handed out Christmas hampers to its loyal workforce last week. Well, to some workers casuals got nothing, not even a "thankyou" for their months or years of hard work. Casuals are already paid $4.75 per hour less than permanents, do not receive sick leave or the other entitlements of permanents.

CAPITALIST HOG OF THE YEAR: is former Federal Health Minister Michael Wooldridge. You may recall that prior to leaving parliament to take up a consultancy with the Royal College for Surgeons he diverted funds earmarked for rural health services including funds for asthma research into a new building for the college. Wooldridge was forced to resign from the consultancy position in the ensuing scandal. But he's still hanging in there at Dia-B Tech, which has lodged a patent for a treatment it claims could cut blood sugar levels in diabetics. Wooldridge copped a windfall of $82,000 out of the resultant increase in Bia-B's shares, on top of his $37,500 salary. He is also the chairman of biotech company Resonance Health, eye medicine company Regenera and a director of neuroscience group CogState.

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