||Issue No. 176||02 May 2003|
Interview: Staying Alive
Bad Boss: The Ultimate Piss Off
Industrial: Last Drinks
National Focus: Around the States
Politics: Radical Surgery
Education: The Price of Missing Out
Legal: If At First You Don't Succeed
History: Massive Attack
Culture: What's Right
Review: If He Should Fall
Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Satire: IMF Ensures Iraq Institutes Market Based Looting
The Locker Room
Bob Gould Sprays Gerard Henderson
War and Peace
A Strange Light
A Little History
Does It Have To Be?
Court Throws Out Cole Prosecutions
A Melbourne magistrate has dismissed contempt charges against Victorian CFMEU secretary, Martin Kingham, and awarded costs against the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions.
Kingham had been referred to the DPP by Royal Commissioner Terence Cole who had been incensed by the union official's refusal to provide lists of delegates who had done training courses, along with names and contact details of trainers.
Kingham told the Commissioner he would not identifiy delegates in an environment where activists had were black-banned by employers, and where unionists had been followed, spied on and had their private financial transactions picked over by Royal Commission agents.
Cole had initially threatened action against a former school teacher who worked for the Victorian branch's training unit but then shifted his attention to Kingham.
In dismissing charges that carried possible jail sentences, Magistrate John Hardy said he hadn't been convinced the documents even existed or, if they did, that Kingham had control of them.
Hardy had earlier dismissed another charge, ruling it constituted a threat of double punishment for the one alleged offence.
Kingham said the result was a defeat for Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott's anti-worker agenda.
"His agenda is to drag people through the courts, to spend taxpayers' money to tie up unions in costly legal actions. He fell at the first hurdle," Kingham said.
The Melbourne rulings follow recent court decisions in Perth and Sydney that also undermined Abbott's controversial Royal Commission.
In Sydney, an IRC court session found a key commission witness had ripped off business partners and failed to honour agreements with a husband-wife operation.
Commissioner Cole had accepted anti-union evidence preented by Troy Stratti in the face of strong denials.
But Justice Schmidt, in the IRC case, found distrust of Stratti had been unsurprising.
"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," she said.
After Perth hearings, Cole based a number of "unlawful" findings against the CFMEU's Western Australia branch on Right of Entry technicalities.
That issue was at the heart of a subsequent court case brought against branch assistant secretary Joe McDonald and organiser Graham Pallott. It finished with Magistrate Paul Heaney dismissing charges of trespass, escaping and resisting.
Heaney was scathing of the decision to press the charges, ruling the unionists had been wrongly arrested by police who had no training in industrial law.
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