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Issue No. 174 11 April 2003  

Might Does Not Mean Right
So the Americans have removed the dictator Hussein, the right wing press are firing more pot-shots than the Republican Guard and George W. Bush can ride into the sunset having liberated the Middle East. Game over – or is it?


Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Walk Against the War Coalition convenor Bruce Childs outlines the challenge for the peace movement in the lead up to Palm Sunday.

Unions: The Royal Con
Jim Marr argues the Cole Commission can only be taken seriously by people kept ignorant of the way it actually operated.

National Focus: Around the Grounds
Unions maintain the pressure for peace as the upcoming organising conference takes on added significance, reports Noel Hester.

Economics: The Secret War on Trade
Overseas-based multi-nationals are coming after our film industry, electricity, water, pharmaceutical benefits and even childcare. Or are they? Nobody knows, as Jim Marr reports.

International: United Front
Workers and their unions around the world have possibly never been as united in their commitment to campaign together against the War in Iraq, writes Andrew Casey

History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Bill Pirie has one of the largest collections of trade union badges in the world. After 20 years the collection now numbers some 6,000 badges.

Politics: Stalin’s Legacy
Fifty years ago last month Josef Stalin died. How could it be that a democratic and socialist revolution produced one of the monsters of the twentieth century, asks Leonie Bronstein.

Review: Such Was Not Ned’s Life
The life of Ned Kelly is what we in the world of journalism term a “ball tearing yarn” so why have writers of the movie adaptation felt so impelled to dress it up with fiction, asks Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Through our extensive intelligence networks, we have managed to track down the top recruiter for the global terror network of Osama bin Laden.

Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
Woolworths chief executive Roger Corbett was devastated today to report an 18.3% rise in profit under his management over the last year.


 Carr: Workers Won It For Me

 Nursing Crisis Bites Elderly

 Judge Puts ‘Predator’ Before Workers

 WA Court Undermines Cole

 Mexican Chain Gangs Win NSW Work

 Della Muscles Up to Abbott

 STOP PRESS - Brewery Goes Flat

 ACCC Urged to Consider Jobs

 Unions Stats Track Armageddon

 Cameron: Feds More Interested in Iraq

 SARS Lays Jobs Low

 Working Hours Benefit Millions

 Journos Urge War Crimes Prosecutions

 Unions Support Displaced in Iraq


The Soapbox
Factional Free-For-All
Chris Christodoulou looks at the fallout from the selection of the new Carr Ministry and what it means to the factional warlords.

The Locker Room
The Best Season Since Last Year
Phil Doyle goes trudging through the mud in search of the heart of the matter beneath the corporate biffo

Books on Bombs
In times like these, reading inevitably turns to America and war. Chris White wades through Pilger, Chomsky, Eco, Moore and Vidal.

Postcard from Harvard
Labor Council's Michael Gadiel was elected to give the valedictory speech to this year's Harvard Trade Union Program.

 Taking Stalin's Crimes Seriously
 Unfair Dismissals
 More Angry Trots
 Tom's Tirade
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WA Court Undermines Cole

Dozens of Cole Commission findings against the CFMEU’s Western Australia branch have been undermined in a real court.

Perth Magistrate Paul Heaney has dismissed a range of charges against assistant state secretary, Joe McDonald, and organiser, Graham Pallott, confiming their rights to enter building sites.

CFMEU WA branch secretary, Kevin Reynolds, called the not guilty verdicts "a smack in the face for (Royal Commissioner Terence) Cole who brought down a whole range of findings against us on the basis of Right of Entry.

"It has been our contention for the last 10 years that we have been unlawfully prevented going about our business. It's something Cole tried to reinforce but this case has vindicated our position."

Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, has proposed a range of restrictions, including massive fines on workers and a Building Industry Commission, citing more than 300 "unlawful" findings in WA as justification.

A vast number of those findings stem from Right of Entry restrictions imposed in 1992 by controversial state Industrial Relations Minister Graham Keirath, whose IR regime has been described in the Murdoch press as the "most draconian" in Australia.

Magistrate Heaney said the McDonald-Pallot case, stemming from a 2001 picketline incident, was "very important" because it recognised the CFMEU's right to access construction sites.

He was scathing of police who brought charges of trespass, resisting arrest, escaping lawful custody and hindering an officer. Heaney ruled unionists had been wrongly arrested.

He said police had no training in industrial law and did not understand the Right of Entry concept. Further, that they had taken their instructions from representatives of the company, Pindan Construction, and hadn't bothered to check McDonald's claim that union representatives were entitled to be present.

The case was not without humour, especially in relation to the escaping charge laid against McDonald.

Officers said they had arrested and handcuffed McDonald before joining in the arrest of two other workers. When they returned for McDonald they couldn't locate him, despite a search of the site.

One of the officers said that the next time he had seen McDonald was at the East Perth lock-up where he had arrived, apparently, to return his "undamaged handcuffs".

"There simply is not one scintilla of evidence that he had escaped custody," the Magistrate said. "He was located at the lockup, someone must have taken him there.

"The charge against Mr McDonald of escaping out of legal custody must fail, and I come to this conclusion without even having to deal with the fact that he was not even in lawful custody because his arrest was unlawful."

A third union member, James Murphy, was found not guilty on charges of assault and resisting arrest but was fined $500 for assaulting a policeman for an action, during the melee, likened to a "rugby tackle".

Federal Court Sees it Differently

In another clash between judicial process and the extra-judicial inquiry, Cole made around 20 findings of "unlawful" action against no fewer than 15 CFMEU officers, arising from a dispute between Hanssen Pty Ltd and the union on Perth's Bluewater Apartments site.

The same issue, over the sacking of union members, had been resolved on October 25, 2000. The orders, made by the Federal Court of Australia that day, are reprinted below in full ...

"The Court Orders that:

1) The Respondent (Hanssen Pty Ltd) do forthwith reinstate:

1.1 Ross William Ludemann

1.2 John Thomas McGurk

1.3 John McCann

1.4 Philip Sean Mulne

1.5 Rory Michael O'Driscoll

1.6 Andrew Swarbrick

1.7 Stuart MacDonald

1.8 Nathan Dean Miller

The said reinstatement to be on the same terms of engagement that existed immediately prior to their termination on 26 September 2000.

2) The Respondent do pay to each of the Second Applicants and to Nathan Dean Miller, compensation for income lost between the date of dismissal namely 26 September 2000 and the date of reinstatement or in the case of Youran Nathan Lingham, the date of other employment. Such compensation to be calculated on the basis of the terms that the said Applicants were engaged on immediately prior to their termination on 26 Semptember 2000.

3 The Respondent do pay the Applicants' (the CFMEU's) costs of the action agreed at $20,000."


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