||Issue No. 150||30 August 2002|
Shut It Down!
Interview: Australian Worker
Unions: Morning Ambush
Cole-Watch: Grumpy Old Men
International: Arrested (Sustainable) Development
History: Illegal Alien
Economics: The Trouble With PPPs
Poetry: Is This 'My Country'?
Review: Garage Days
Eight Weeks Only for Bomb Survivors
Justice At Last for Woodlawn Miners
Labor for Refugees Put Acid on Crean
Canberra Cash Linked to Hall of Fame Stoush
Osama Poster Sparks Controversy
Underwear Obsession Prompts Rehab List
Community Workers Win Lifeline
Mad Monk Staff in 'Mad Hatter' Protest
Education Forum To Spark Public Debate
The Locker Room
Week in Review
Labor Council of NSW
Shut It Down!
The union's legal play may seem out of left field, but Commissioner Cole has invited the challenge by recommending the establishment of an industry task force based in Sydney before allowing the NSW branch of the CFMEU to test evidence on which the recommendation was made.
While it's unlikely that the Commissioner will find himself biased, sit tight for some interesting exchanges in the federal and possibly even the High Court.
What is at stake is the executive's powers to use the legal system as part of a concerted political agenda, issues that go to the very heart of our Constitution.
We've been saying it for some time and now the justice system will be given the chance to make its judgment: the Cole Commission is a fundamental subversion of the Royal Commission process.
Royal Commissions have special extra-judicial powers because they are inquiries to uncover the truth. In contrast, the Cole Commission has been conducted in a manner more consistent with a pursuit to prove a particular theory.
Throughout the CFMEU has been cast in the role of defendant: officials ambushed by allegations from Counsel Assisting, evidence from disgruntled sub-contractors and former officials selectively delivered and all the while no right of cross-examination at the time allegations are made.
The Commission has played for maximum media effect, some journalists being briefed about allegations against CFMEU officials before the union's own lawyers.
The feeling from union members who have viewed proceedings is universal exasperation as the good name of their union is clinically dragged through the mud.
And the winners? Well, the Howard Government obviously, who can embark on another round of union bashing. Plus the building industry that will see the one effective police of industrial and safety law neutered.
As for ordinary building workers, like the 10,000 who rallied outside the Commission this week their jobs will be more dangerous and less secure as a result of the Abbott-Cole agenda. They're the one's who are going to get hurt - and they're beginning to realise it is them, not just their union, who is being set up for the biggest sucker punch in recent political history.
It would be an incredible and historic victory if the application as upheld but make no mistake: this legal challenge is no stunt. This Royal Commission has struck at the heart of our democratic system by sidelining the very processes designed to ensure our democratic rights.
In a national interest that goes far beyond picnic days and accounting systems, beyond the criminal conspiracies to take over an honest union, beyond even the ambitions of a certain Tory minister: close it down!
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