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Issue No. 183 20 June 2003  

A Beautiful Set of Numbers?
In the coming week the NSW Government will hand down the first budget of its third term. Few things are certain in politics, but rest assured the budget will be characterised as ‘tough and responsible’.


History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howard’s plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
It’s every power worker’s worst nightmare – and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEU’s Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues there’s another side to the recent furore over Telstra’s use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costello’s latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstart’s Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your ‘t’s, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.


 Task Force Sleeps Through Killing

 Go To Gaol – Do Not Collect $500,000

 Green Pollie in Picket Blue

 D-Day for Media Diversity

 Putting Steel into Government’s Spine

 Fortnight in Killing Fields Anyone?

 Underpaid Worker Fights Deportation

 Truckies Deliver Death Watch

 Job Cuts Caught in Spill Cycle

 Mum Wins Family Friendly Hours

 Allianz Plans Bite the Dust

 Aussies Back Zimbabwe’s Gaoled Strikers

 Boral Faces Stadium Stoush

 Drought Claims More Jobs

 Bridge Chaos Looms

 Activist Notebook


It’s Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALP’s union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstream’s media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

 Questions for Cuba
 Is Beazley's Popularity a Winner?
 Rank Marchers
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Task Force Sleeps Through Killing

The controversial Building Industry Task Force hasn’t been near a North Bondi site where an accident, this week, left one worker dead and another locked up in Villawood.

“If we ask someone to join the union they’re all over us for months,” CFMEU organiser, Martin Wyer, said, “but a man gets killed, the boss has no paperwork, basic safety precautions aren’t followed and they aren’t interested.

"It shows they have an agenda."

The dead man was bricklayer, David Hands, 62. A 3m high brick wall tumbled and struck him on the head as he crouched over his tool box. Witnesses said ambulance officers resuscitated Hands but he died of his injuries later in hospital.

His workmate, a non-unionist, scarpered but was located by police. The Irishman is now in Villawood Detention Centre facing allegations that he has worked in Australia without a permit since 1987.

The pair, along with employer Wayne Morris, made up the workforce of KLA Bricklaying, contracted on the redevelopment of a Military Rd site owned by Sutherland-based builder-developer, Innovative Property Developments.

Innovative owners, Edward Rosenbaum and Jacob Baiderman, are understood to be replacing the original house with six home units.

Wyer accused the sub-contractor of having no safe work method statement, required by law; no bracing on the wall; and allowing work to proceed without the use of hard hats.

"That's the worst thing," Wyer said, "any one of those basic precautions could have saved this man's life. We went down to the basement and that was a death trap but nobody should be killed by a wall that is only four bricks thick.

"It is very sad because it was so preventable."

Workers Online understands the tragedy has also raised question marks over whether the subcontractor was up to date with workers comp premiums or making superannuation contributions, both required by the law.

The Interim Task Force, headed by former Federal policeman Nigel Hadgkiss, was set by Federal Government on the recommendation of Building Industry Royal Commissioner Terence Cole. Its brief is to police the building industry.

The North Bondi tragedy, however, sounds like a re-run of Cole Commission hearings which refused to investigate claims that the industry was rife with safety breaches, illegal immigration and employers dodging legal obligations.

Instead, the hearings concentrated on finding fault with union responses to those situations. Already, the Interim Task Force has attracted similar accusations of bias.

In an industry that kills 50 workers a year, and was identified by the ATO as a major source of tax evasion and corporate skulduggery, the task force has yet to launch a single prosecution against an industry employer.

During EBA stoppages in Brisbane earlier this year, it was accused of bugging the telephones of ETU officials.


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