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Issue No. 145 19 July 2002  

Two Wings Flapping
The one element missing from the current debate about the relationship between the labour movement and the ALP is any discussion about what's in it for the unions.


Interview: In The Tent
The Australian Services Union's Martin Foley on the dilemma facing trade unions affiliated to the Labor Party.

Bad Boss: The Desk Nazi
Everyone�s mail is on the money this week. Yep, Australia Post, courtesy of the born-to-rule attitude so beloved by the Workplace Relations Minister has been nominated for the Tony Award.

Media: Hold the Presses
The withdrawal of mainstream news outlets from the reporting of industrial relations is playing right into the bosses' hands, writes Andrew Casey

Workplace: Putting Bullies In Their Place
Ever wonder where the schoolyard bullies from your formative years ended up? Chances are they are still making someone�s life hell in an Australian workplace today. Even worse, one of them might be your direct supervisor.

Industrial: Women and Work
The last fortnight may well prove a turning point for working Australian women and their families, argues ACTU President Sharan Burrow

International: Whine and Dine
The political and industrial wings of British labour are at each other's throats, reports Andrew Casey.

History: Black Adder
Old King Cole had good tutors. Roger Milliss captured the style of conservative government witch-hunts in Serpent�s Tooth, his cathartic apology to his father, Bruce.

Review: Bad Movie
While the search for Australia's worst boss is well underway, Joel Schumacher's Bad Company seems to point the finger squarely at the US Government - albeit accidentally.

Poetry: I Remember
Dermott Ryder knocks our Resident Bard off his podium this week with a little ditty about a bloke called Honest John


 Builder Blows Whistle on Kangaroo Court

 Alarm Over Unis in Detention

 Unions Spark New Super Push

 Abbott Trips on Entitlements - Again

 Picnic Day for Union Members Only

 Memo: John Travolta - Come Fly With Us!

 Cole Comfort to Bodgey Builders

 Unions Eye SA Casuals Victory

 Burrow: Paid Mat Leave Just First Step

 Mayne Warning � But Will They Listen?

 Drought Relief Should Extend To Rural Workers

 Coca Cola Action Bubbles Globally


The Soapbox
The Royal Circus
CFMEU organiser Terry Kesby gives a first hand account of his experience before the Cole Royal Commission.

The Locker Room
Bravely Running Away
Phil Doyle is bewildered by the Australian Cricket team�s reluctance to join John Howard�s War On Terror.

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess
As the world market lurches under the weight of its own amorality, regulators and business lobbies are locking horns over the need for more rules.

Week in Review
A Share of the Action
Sharemarket jitters produce mea culpas from the magnate set but, as Jim Marr discovers, loyal followers in the Howard administration aren�t likely to join the chorus any time soon.

 Make My Week!
 Real Reform
 Hooray for Frank!
 Reform or Die
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The Soapbox

The Royal Circus

CFMEU organiser Terry Kesby gives a first hand account of his experience before the Cole Royal Commission.


I was recently called to defend my position as a union organiser at the Cole Royal Commission (Royal Circus). This is my first experience in any Royal Commission.

I was shocked to find that statements and evidence given was of such a poor standard it would not have been accepted at a normal court, industrial commission or at the Chief Magistrates Court (CIM). People would say anything at all with no witness or supporting evidence.

The old tale of not letting the truth get in the way of a good story.

Commissioner Cole even helped give evidence and assistance to Mr. G. Campbell (employer who gave statement involving myself) in the evidence box. The only trouble was the story Cole was telling was not the truth.

This circus is not interested in fraud, tax evasion/ minimization or any of the problems that we know and see every day in the building industry. Not interested in security of payment to subcontracts. We have had two Royal Commissions into the building industry in 10 years and the most serious issues have not been addressed!

For example, Mr Pyers from the Housing Industry Association said in evidence

"Are you able to tell the Commissioner what proportion of members of the Housing Industry associations in New South Wales and the ACT pay their employees strictly in accordance with relevant awards?

-I wouldn't be able to give you an exact percentage in relation to that. A significant portion, if not the vast majority, of our members build single dwelling houses and those who operate in what might be described as the housing sector of the industry certainly pay their employees on an independent contractor basis. But I would be unable to assist in relation to the exact percentage who pay in terms of awards.

This is tax fraud and evading employees statutory entitlements!

The likely amount that employers in the cottage industry in Australia are defrauding the taxation department is approximately one billion dollars a year.

I included Mr Pyers evidence in my statement to the Circus and asked the counsel assisting if he wished to ask me any questions about Mr Pyers evidence. Dr Collins (counsel assisting) shook his head in the negative.

The only real conclusion I could come to as a result of this experience is that the Royal Circus is not interested in tax fraud, tax minimization, or trying to solve the problems associated with the building industry. Rather it is an $80 million exercise to deregister the CFMEU or endeavor to get parliament to pass legislation making it very difficult for a union to operate.

* Terry Kesby is a CFMEU Organiser. He organizes in the "off site" area - workplaces such as joineries and glass factories. This is his first article for Workers Online.


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