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Issue No. 224 11 June 2004  

The Passion For Power
Arguably Midnight Oils’ greatest ever song ‘Powderworks’ starts off with the apocalyptic warning "there’s a shit storm a-coming."

The Passion for Power
Arguably Midnight Oils’ greatest ever song ‘Powderworks’ starts off with the apocalyptic warning "there’s a shit storm a-coming."


Interview: The New Democrat
Canadian activist Judy Rebick explains how she's using lessons from Brazil to rebuild the labour movement.

Bad Boss: The Ugly Australian
Prime Minister John Howard is in California spruiking the "merits" of this month’s Bad Boss nomination …

Unions: Free Spirits and Slaves
International capital demands guest labour – legal or illegal – as a way of beating down wages and conditions and, as Jim Marr discovers, the Australian Government seems happy to oblige.

Industrial: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on another workplace death (we-will-not-RIP NOHSC), heartburn for the Canberra consensus and all the action from around the states in our national wrap.

History: A Class Act
The problem of forgetting the primacy of class in favour of other ideas of community is highlighted in a new book, writes Neale Towart

International: Across the Ditch
NZ Nurses Union leader, Laila Harré, is in Sydney this week, comparing notes with the Australian Nurses Federation and seeking transTasman support for New Zealand’s highest profile industrial campaign.

Economics: Home Truths
Sydney University's Frank Stilwell argues that tax policy is driving the housing boom.

Review: No Time Like Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow is one part Grim Reaper of the environmental movement and two parts fictitious fable dramatically window dressed with extreme special effects, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Silent Note
Resident Bard David Peetz uncovers the current public service motto – "Don't tell the Minister!".


 Making Plans For Nigel

 People Importer Wants Indemnity

 Desperate Ambos Turn to Copper

 Victims Dusted in Asbestos Row

 Delos Bang Victory Gong

 Teaching 12 Percent Tougher

 Now Carr Faces Medical Bill

 Officers Hurt in Transit

 Support Unit Makes Canberra Debut

 Winter Beds Breakthrough

 Workers Wait For Bread

 HoWARd the A**sLIcKEer

 Activists What’s On!


The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part I
The Australia Institute's Clive Hamilton questions the assumptions underlying a society that defines happiness in dollar terms.

The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part II
Clive Hamilton concludes his analysis, looking at how more and more Australians are pulling back from a marketplace that is no longer providing the goods.

The Locker Room
Sack ‘Em All!
Phil Doyle puts his job on the line, but doesn’t everyone these days?

The Westie Wing
The NSW Government has an agenda on the table but the test is finding innovative ways to finance it, writes Ian West

 Godbotherers Descend On Poor
 Sick Of This Job
 Office Junior’s Secrets
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Making Plans For Nigel

Building Industry Task Force officers pay teenagers for information and make secret, illegal recordings of conversations, according to allegations levelled in the Senate.

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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