|Issue No. 168
|28 February 2003
Interview: Agenda 2003
Peace: The Colour Purple
Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
Solidarity: Workers Against War
Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
International: Industrial Warfare
History: Unions and the Vietnam War
Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Poetry: Return To Sender
Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
The Locker Room
More Talk Needed on War
Journo Embarrasses Cole
Current affairs program Today Tonight ran footage of the private, licensed, Sydney-based assessor accepting payments from a reporter that would have enabled him to operate a 60-tonne crane on a building site. While he was at it, the reporter also got riggerï¿½s and dogmenï¿½s tickets for $110 each.
The footage was screened hours after radio personality Alan Jones joined Labor Party front bencher, Robert McClelland, and Greens senator, Kerry Nettle, in launching First The Verdict, a book which argues the Commission brushed evidence of corruption in favour of a political vendetta against the country's largest building union.
Jones, a one-time Liberal Party activist, told cheering building workers Abbott should use the Cole Commission's report, due out this week, as a "doorstop on one of those Commonwealth garages".
"There is a better way of spending $60 million on employer-employee relationships than taking the stick to one particular union simply because it might suit the political agenda of the day," Jones said.
Union assistant secretary Brian Parker said corruption among private assessors had been raised with the Cole Commission.
"It was one of a number of corrupt practices we brought to the Commission's notice but they did nothing about," Parker said. "They failed to find the real corruption in the industry because they weren't looking for it."
Parker said the handing out of bodgy licenses was a serious health and safety problem for the whole community.
"We have seen too many cranes toppling over and too many scaffolds crashing into public streets. Sure, these things threaten our members but they jeopardise the safety of the general public as well," he said.
Since WorkCover assessing was privatised eight years ago, around 170 private operators have been accredited in NSW. The assessor at the centre of the Today Tonight sting has been suspended, pending an investigation, but the CFMEU argues the whole system should be revisited.
Parker says WorkCover must undertake a thorough audit of all its licensed assessors.
First The Verdict, argues that safety was one of a number of building industry issues sidestepped by Australia's most expensive Royal Commission. It cites the use of illegal immigrant labour, large-scale tax rorts, and phoenixing as other problems which didn't feature in public hearings because they couldn't be used to embarrass the CFMEU.
The uses Commission transcript to support its contention that evidence was selected and presented for its capacity to embarrass the CFMEU, whilst witnesses who had different stories to tell were sent packing.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue