|Issue No 118||02 November 2001|
Howard Double Dip Is Skyway Robbery
By Noel Hester
John Howard is selling himself as the white knight coming to Ansett's rescue while his Government is blatantly double dipping into funds for worker entitlements, say Ansett unions.
Presently the Government is putting up the money up to cover a portion of the statutory entitlements - wages owed, holiday pay, long service leave but capping redundancies at 8 weeks.
But they intend not only to get the money back through the $10 levy on air tickets funded by the travelling public but now are placing themselves at the head of creditors to get first dibs at funds held by the administrator.
'This cynical practice is now under consideration by the Federal Court which has insisted the Government furnish additional information about the way they are operating the entitlement scheme,' says ACTU Industrial Officer Richard Watts.
Ansett unions say if the Government continues with its objective of taking back the money established to cover workers entitlements it will be placing at serious risk the 8000 jobs saved through the relaunch of Ansett Mark Two.
Howard's policy with Ansett stands in stark contrast to the settlement on the waterfront with Liberal comrade-in-arms Chris Corrigan. Then the Government underwrote redundancies on the docks with a container tax without ever putting itself at the head of the queue as a creditor.
Government Lawyer's Confirm Sleight of Hand
Meanwhile, the Federal Court has been told that not one cent of the millions of dollars collected for the express purpose of funding Ansett employee entitlements may be used for that purpose.
Robin Brett, QC for the Commonwealth, told Justice Goldberg that: "It's wrong to assume that because it (the ticket tax) has been collected it will be passed on (to Ansett employees) . . . it may be that none will be passed on."
Section 7 of John Howard's Air Passenger Ticket Levy Collection Act says:
"The purpose of the levy is to meet the cost of payments by the Commonwealth under the Special Employee Entitlements Scheme for Ansett group employees."
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet says the evidence before the Federal Court exposed Mr Howard's plan to double dip into Ansett's assets and force the company into liquidation as soon as the November 10 election was over.
"The Howard Government has indicated to the Federal Court that the ticket tax money will only be available after they have forced Ansett into liquidation, with the loss of 17,000 jobs," Combet says.
"Mr Howard is showing contempt for the life savings and the job security of thousands loyal and hard working Ansett employees by telling the Federal Court that the Government does not have to comply with its own tax legislation."
Interview: Flying High
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet on saving Ansett jobs, defeating Howard and wooing a new generation of unionists.
Corporate: Howard's List of Shame
ACTU President Shaharn Burrow runs through the litany of corporate collapses and down-sizes that have cut a swathe through the Australian community.
Campaign Diary: Week Four: The Battle Lines Drawn
It was a week that saw the leaders launch their campaigns, kiss lots of babies and battle for space with a Holy Jihad.
Industrial: Desperately Seeking Solutions
They might not call it 'industrial relations' in the spin of modern politics, but all the major parties have released plans that will affect the way we work over the next three years.
Economics: Manufacturing Prosperity
Neale Towart looks at the hidden debate of the election campaign - the degree of intervention government should take through Industry Policy.
History: War And Politics
The Conservatives are trying to wage war and win the election. The pundits say itís a tried and true recipe for electoral success. The 1940 federal poll suggests otherwise.
International: Globalising Labour
On the eve of the International Metalworkers Federation Congress general secretary Marcello Malentacchi argues all nations need to retain a manufacturing base.
Review: Security - Who Needs it?
What does it mean to be secure? Should we even need to ask? In his new book, Anthony Burke asks the tough questions.
Satire: Locksmith Promises "Greater Security" If Elected
A Melbourne locksmith has agreed to run for federal parliament, campaigning on the key issue of security.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005