||Issue No. 225||18 June 2004|
No Place Like Home
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
For nearly two years our Tool of the Week has been running around like some demented loon in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there.
Now he's finally handed down what is supposed to be a report, although what it is a report into is hard to say.
With a budget of nearly ten million and a staff of 47 you'd think they'd be able to come up with one single shred of evidence for the public record, but no. This farce of a report, which could have been written in half an hour by a staff of one, appears to be the work of a rather fevered imagination.
Maybe Hadgkiss is on the same medication as his boss, Kev the Rev. Whichever way, his report is an embarrassment for all concerned.
"Too many Australians trying to earn an honest living have become victims of the industries blatant disregard for the law," says a breathless Nigel.
Yes they are mate, they're called workers, subcontractors, the thousands of members of the industry that are ripped off, underpaid, injured, stood over by screaming bosses, humiliated, forced to work in shit and worse and more.
But it'll be a cold day in hell before you manage to get Nigel no-friends to give a fat rat's clacker about working people. After all, in his world workers are expendable. For Nigel safety is not an issue.
Neither is workers money being stolen by employers.
There are some glaring omissions in Hadgkiss's report. He doesn't mention how the Task Force uses secret tape recordings and operates a slush fund in order to gather this spurious evidence against building unions.
Hadgkiss makes some amazing remarks about "criminal" behaviour in the industry, but he's not referring to the murderers that sacrifice young lives in the workplace. In fact, it's hard to see who he is referring to at all, as most of his "information" comes from an anonymous 1800 number. You'd hate to see someone hang on Hadgkiss's brief.
Not one of the five areas of concern raised by Nigel through his "back door whisper" sources concerned safety.
His report claims that air-conditioning in worksheds Tasmania is a "minor OHS issue". Well, maybe we'll turn the air-con in the Tool Shed off and dump him in the middle of a Taswegian winter and see how he enjoys sitting in a fridge.
It's typical that mercenaries like Hadgkiss see safety only as something to squeal about when it costs the boss money. When workers lose their money Hadgkiss conveniently handballs it off to another department or a state agency, which shows how fair dinkum Nigel is about enforcing a "rule of law". It's one rule for the boss and another rule for the workers. The whole issue of underpaid entitlements was worth only half a page in a 22-page report.
Hadgkiss's "report" is full of glossy unattributed quotes. Despite $9 million spent he can't name names about any of these allegations, apart from a few pathetic indirect references to John Sutton.
Well, Nigel, here's some names for you to consider:
They are all workers who have died this year on NSW building sites. The first three are all teenagers. The last two were working illegally.
Nigel Hadgkiss can make-believe all he wants in the Tool Shed this week while he protects the murderers in the industry, all he's done so far is make Inspector Clouseau look like Perry Mason.
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