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Issue No. 175 24 April 2003  

Domestic Relations
As the fog of war lifts and attention returns to the domestic phase we find a Federal Opposition imploding as the Prime Minister prepares for the final putsch toward what he sees as his historical mission.


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.


 Medicare Bombshell – Bosses To Pay

 Another Cole Man Bites The Dust

 Cheap Indian on Telstra Menu

 Legal Tussle Looms Over Email Laws

 Recycled Training Stitch-Up Exposed

 Contractors Code Fires a Blank

 Sweet Talk – Big Business Style

 Bosses, Workers Unite on Grey Threat

 ANZ Workers Want Cut of Billion Dollar Profit

 Time for Death Penalties

 Union Exhibition for Wollongong

 Nurses in Staffing Stand-off

 North Coast Jobs Saved

 Super Success in Pilbara

 Howard Attacks Education - Again

 May Day Festivities


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.

 Tom's Cunning Plan
 Robert's Conquest?
 Success Breeds Contempt
 Join the Dots
 Still Walking
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Another Cole Man Bites The Dust

Key Cole Commission witness Troy Stratti ripped off business partners and failed to honour agreements, according to a properly-constituted judicial authority.

A Court has found that Troy Stratti, Sam Stratti and their company Stratti Ocean Earthworks failed to deliver on promises made to a husband and wife operation, Lefty’s Excavator & Drott Hire, then reneged on payments for work completed.

"The evidence showed that Mr and Mrs Metharis' concern about, and distrust of, the respondents, flowed from their failure to pay the applicant what was owed to it for work performed, either on time or at all," Justice Schmidt found in an IRC Court Session.

"It was not suprising that these diffculties should have given rise to a suspicion on their part, as to the respondents' motives and conduct, in relation to other aspects of the parties' relationship."

Tony Abbott's Building Industry Royal Commissioner, Terence Cole, on the other hand, chose to accept the anti-union evidence advanced by Troy Stratti in the face of vigorous denials.

Stratti is the third significant NSW witness to have had his credibility undermined since presenting evidence to the Cole Commission.

Barbara and Stephen Strong earned days of media coverage for allegations that CFMEU officials had threatened Mrs Strong, her children and solicited unethical payments. When Counsel Assisting the Commission were prevailed apon to actually check phone records and police interviews on which the Strong testimony swung, they found no evidence to support the allegations.

In fact, both sets of records supported union testimony that the alleged events had never occurred.

Much of the two-week second Sydney hearings dealt with allegations stemming from sworn statements of star commission witness, Craig Bates. However, a range of employers testified that Bates, himself, had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of corrupt payments and contested a union election, against the individuals he was accussing in the Commission, with the active and financial support of employers and at least one underworld figure.

The Stratti finding comes one week after Workers Online revealed that dozens, and possibly hundreds, of Cole Commission findings had been undermined by a Perth Court.

Cole had based a number of "unlawful" findings against the CFMEU Western Australia branch and its officials on Right of Entry technicalities. However, Magistrate Paul Heaney found the police wrong in law when dismissing charges of trespass, escaping, and resisting charges against assistant state secretary, Joe McDonald, and organiser Graham Pallott.

He was scathing about the charges, ruling the unionists had been wrongly arrested by police with no training in industrial law.

WA branch secretary, Kevin Reynolds, hailed the magistrate's decision as a "smack in the face for Cole".

"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," Reynolds said.

In the Sydney case, the Metharis' were claiming more than $200,000 in damages. Justice Schmidt instructed lawyers for the parties to confer on final orders that would reflect her judgement.


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