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Issue No. 169 07 March 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Re-considering The Accord
The twentieth anniversary of the Hawke Government’s election provides an opportunity to ponder the Accord’s historical conundrum: how at the moment of the union movement’s greatest influence did it suffer its greatest loss of members?

F E A T U R E S

Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Through a distortion in the time-space continuum, we have found a recording showing how people a few years into the future will deal with health care.

Interview: League of Nations
ICFTU general secretary Guy Ryder on the war, core labour standards and why Australia is an international pariah.

Industrial: 20/20 Hindsight
A retrospective analysis of the Accord is needed to help develop future strategies. Is it worth trying again? And if so, what would need to be different?

Organising: On The Buses
A new rank and file leadership team is standing up for the harried bus driver in the run-up to the NSW State Election

Unions: National Focus
A gaze around the country reveals some inspiring and innovative organising initiatives, a fruitful connection with young workers in South Australia and some typically robust industrial campaigns reports Noel Hester.

History: The Banner Room
On the eve of it’s refurbishment, Jim Marr ventures into one of Trades Hall’s best kept secrets; the room that houses relics of labour’s halcyon days.

International: The Slaughter Continues
Chilling new statistics from Colombia's main trade union confederation CUT: nine trade unionists assassinated in the first two months of this year.

Legal: A Legal Case For War?
Aaron Magner looks at the legal implications of the crusade of the Coalition of the Willing

Culture: Singing For The People
When there’s a struggle for social justice, when a war is brewing or rights are being eroded, the first ones to pen, paper and protest are often the folkwriters.

Review: The Hours
On the eve of International Women’s Day Tara de Boehmler follows the tale of three women who would rather choose death than a life devoid of personal choice.

Poetry: I Wanna Bomb Saddam
Scarier than Star Wars, the latest weapon to be deployed in the battle for Iraq is the Singing Dubya.

Satire: Diuretic Makes Warne's Excuses Look Thin
Australian cricketer Shane Warne today admitted that he was still feeling the after effects of the diuretic he tested positive to.

N E W S

 Sacre Bleu – It’s “La Gong” Now

 Mum Raises Labour Hire Bar

 Investigate the Buggers

 NSW Libs Madder Than The Monk

 Kits Strike Terror into Govt

 West Braces for Shelling

 Executive Pay Under Senate Spotlight

 Clean Energy’s Jobs Bonus

 Zoo Workers Buck ‘Mercy Killing’

 Canberra Firefighters Win Union Backing

 Global Equity Under Spotlight

 Aussie Workers Fight Indian Child Labour

 Water on the Brain

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Workers Friend
Shock jock Alan Jones snubbed his Liberal mates to bucket the Cole Royal Commission and launch Jim Marr's book

The Locker Room
Boer Bore Boring
In the face of oppression Phil Doyle falls asleep in front of the TV

Guest Report
Dead Labor
The Hawke and Keating legacy is John Howard, Leonie Bronstein argues.

Seduction
Hands Off, Tony
John Della Bosca argues the NSW Industrial Relations System gives his State a competitive advantage.

Bosswatch
Groundhog Day
Another year, another round of corporate excess. Bosswatch returns from its summer slumber to find the same old dogs up to the same tricks.

L E T T E R S
 Re - Core/Non Core promises.
 Strangers in the House
 Nursing Home Concerns
 Catholic Tastes
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Investigate the Buggers


Calls for a Senate Inquiry into Tony Abbott’s Building Industry Task Force are escalating amidst claims of coercive tactics that include threats, intimidation, strike-breaking and telephone tapping.

The gloves came off as the newly-created task force, headed by controversial federal policeman Nigel Hadgkiss, went in to bat for Brisbane employers facing protected industrial action this week.

Police insiders say Hadgkiss built his reputation on the use of telephone tapping and within days of his office tripling numbers in Brisbane, a range of union officials were reporting telephone "irregularities".

ETU Queensland secretary, Dick Williams, described what was bugging him.

"Sometimes, when I go to my message bank a recorded voice will come on the line saying only one person can be logged into this service at once," he said.

"Put it this way, I've been using a mobile phone for more than 10 years and I have never had a problem with my message bank until now. It's strange because I don't get it all the time, just every now and then.

"It started with one of my organisers and now, all of a sudden, four of us are getting the same message."

Williams' revelation came days after the Courier Mail reported the task force had offered Brisbane building companies help to play "hardball" against their employees.

The newspaper said this would include the "possible use" of a strike breaking force.

Building workers returned to dozens of Queensland sites this week, after 10 days of strike action in support of EBA claims which include a 36-hour week. Unions agreed to lift the stoppages and employers suspended legal moves while a solution was sought through the offices of the IRC.

The taxpayer-funded task force had, however, already caused a furore.

Federal Parliament heard allegations that one task force member had sought to use apprentices and contract labour as strike breakers, particularly on the high-profile Suncorp Stadium redevelopment.

Hadgkiss conceded he had six investigators examining alleged award breaches at Suncorp and told the Courier Mail his organisation was supplying legal advice to employers.

Labor MP Arch Bevis lashed the task force in parliament, alleging it had provoked the Suncorp dispute.

"Phone tapping citizens going about their lawful jobs is an extremely serious issue," he said. "It's a disgrace that warrants further and full investigation."

Victorian senator Gavin Marshall took Abbott's industrial police force to task in the Senate.

Both legislators have backed ETU calls for a full Senate Inquiry into the task force, its funding and operations.

Strong Case

Meanwhile, in Sydney, creditors are moving to have Building Industry Royal Commission favourite, S & B Industries, wound up in the Supreme Court.

One action against the company, run by husband and wife team Stephen and Barbara Strong, has been adjourned, apparently so a creditor owed even more money can take over the running.

The Strongs created a sensation with Royal Commission allegations of union standover tactics, threats and extortion attempts. However, a belated examination of telephone records cast severe doubt on the legitimacy of these allegations, seriously embarrasing Counsel Assisting who had already submitted that they should be believed in all regards.

Once again workers look like missing out. Prior to moves for the company to be place into liquidation, the CFMEU had filed claims, on behalf of four employees, for more than $10,000 in unpaid wages and entitlements.

Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, earning up to $1.5 million a head, failed to put the Strong's business practices under any scrutiny at all, despite evidence of safety and other irregularities.


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