||Issue No. 224||11 June 2004|
The Passion For Power
The Passion for Power
Interview: The New Democrat
Bad Boss: The Ugly Australian
Unions: Free Spirits and Slaves
Industrial: National Focus
History: A Class Act
International: Across the Ditch
Economics: Home Truths
Review: No Time Like Tomorrow
Poetry: Silent Note
The Locker Room
Sick Of This Job
Office Junior’s Secrets
Making Plans For Nigel
Controversial Task Force boss, Nigel Hadgkiss, fended off claims that his officers had illegally recorded people at a Perth site by arguing, in part, that it was legal for "anybody" to make covert recordings in WA.
"In these circumstances in Western Australia it is not an offence to covertly record conversations," Hadgkiss told a Senate Inquiry into the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Bill.
"I understand that it is common practice by law enforcement agencies in that jurisdiction. In the circumstances of the task force, as I say, there would have to be exceptional circumstance and it would have to be with the approval of the deputy director."
Hadgkiss said he hadn't investigated claims by Senator Peter Cook that two officers had recorded witnesses on the Tonkin Highway Extension project.
Hadgkiss said his deputy director had "no recollection" of authorising the alleged recordings.
Cook's claims echo evidence sworn into a House of Representatives inquiry, last year, in which Hadgkiss was likened to notorious American "Lord of the Files", J Edgar Hoover.
Former undercover policeman, Michael Kennedy, told the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs that when Hadgkiss had been its senior investigator, the NSW Wood Royal Commission had routinely used illegal communications intercepts.
Kennedy told the committee Hadgkiss had used covert recordings to fit him up for falsely accusing members of the Joint Drugs Task Force of corruption. Years later, he said, Hadgkiss, himself, had taken the credit for publicly unmasking the same officers.
"I was convicted because I pleaded guilty. I was absolutely done over," Kennedy told the committee.
"Those people from the Joint Drug Task Force were all exposed in the Wood Royal Commission as being corrupt. The man who charged me was Nigel Hadgkiss. The man who revealed them years later was Nigel Hadgkiss."
Kennedy said he had lodged formal complaints about the "criminal and illegal activities of Hadgkiss" and others, at the time.
Hadgkiss told the Senate Inquiry, last month, that his Task Force, established on the recommendation of Building Industry Royal Commissioner Terence Cole, did not have enough powers.
Under cross examination, Hadgkiss said he "understood" one of his officers, Gary Ponzio, had offered a 17-year-old apprentice $20 a time, for "postage", if he would forward union publications to the Task Force.
Hadgkiss, who has denied repeated allegations of anti-union bias, gave senators a candid insight into his opinions.
He contended building industry unions were "perpetrators" of organised crime and "intimidation", whose motivation was money.
"So it is about greed, is it?" a Liberal Senator asked.
"Yes, I'm afraid it is," Hadgkiss replied.
The Task Force head offered no evidence to support his allegations.
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