||Issue No. 187||18 July 2003|
Hearts, Minds and Other Body Parts
Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
Industrial: Just Doing It
Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Bad Boss: In the Pooh
Unions: National Focus
Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Technology: Dean for President
International: Rangoon Rumble
Education: Blackboard Jungle
Review: From Weakness to Strength
The Locker Room
Sid Einfield Would be Proud
Tom in the Manger
Sermon on the Mount
Monk Lined up with Jihad Masters
Shadow Workplace Relations Minister, Craig Emerson, joined Abbott to the list for the “ideological obsession” which has prevented construction of a new mail screening facility at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, designed to protect national borders.
Several large Melbourne construction companies have had bids, initially accepted by Australia Post, thwarted because Abbott objects to enterprise agreements they have negotiated with the CFMEU.
Baulderstone Hornibrook, Multiplex, Hansen Yunken and St Hilliers were all approached to build the security complex before having their tenders rejected by Abbott's office.
Early favoured bidder, Baulderstone Hornibrook, had just completed a much larger Victorian job for Australia Post for which their same EBA had been judged "code compliant". Industry sources say the company only learned it had been rejected when Abbott made the announcement on current affairs show Meet The Press.
According to the Australian Financial Review stunned contractors can't get straight answers from the Minister's office about how their EBAs breach Abbott's code.
The Minister concedes the enterprise bargaining agreements are all legal. He has introduced the code, without reference to Parliament, in a bid to reduce union influence in the industry.
Emerson said Abbott's anti-union "obsession" had compromised the country's security.
"The new facility for Australia Post was scheduled for completion by the end of this month, but Tony Abbott's interference has led to not a sod being turned," Emerson said.
"Several reputable companies have submitted tenders acceptable to Australia Post, but Tony Abbott has prevented the project going ahead merely because the companies have lawful agreements with the CFMEU.
"Yet again, Mr Abbott's divisive approach is damaging Australia's national interest, this time by compromising Australia's border protection regime."
Meanwhile, Abbott has dropped all pretence of impartiality to urge employers to join him in his crusade against the CFMEU.
Abbott flagged building sites crawling with taxpayer-funded industrial policemen in a question and answer session with Property Council members this week.
He said legislation, due in Parliament by September, would boost numbers with Nigel Hadgkiss' Building Industry Task Force, to be known as the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), by 500 percent.
He suggested 200 officers could be employed with fulltime presences on major city building sites.
The proposal would take taxpayer funding for Abbott's campaign against the CFMEU to well over $100 million. The Cole Commission swallowed up $60 million, and Hadgkiss' 40-strong interim Taskforce has received a $9 million budget for its first year of operation.
CFMEU Victorian secretary, Martin Kingham, accused Abbott of trying to coerce building companies to breach legal agreements with his organisation.
"He is using taxpayer money to try and make them get out of EBA contracts they have signed. That's coercion," Kingham told Workers Online.
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