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Issue No. 225 18 June 2004  

No Place Like Home
Little by little, the truth is seeping out; a judicial inquiry into James Hardies Industries corporate restructure is exposing a scandal of dramatic proportions.


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!".


 Multi Bets on China Card

 Community Flags Reconciliation Push

 Nigel’s Ad Values Questioned

 Medal for "Jobs Vandal"

 Schoolies Earn Thousands

 Westbus Drives Over Entitlements

 Circus Owners Cut Up Rough

 Fireys Slam Adelaide "Death Traps"

 Job Slasher Faces Spam

 Sixty Stations Face Axe

 "Sickies" to Join Dinosaurs

 Mr One Percent on Notice

 Stink Over DJ’s Bogs

 Aussie Kids Die on the Job

 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

 Flexed To Death
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Nigel’s Ad Values Questioned

Nigel Hadgkiss’ sudden entry into the world of paid advertising has renewed calls for the scrapping of his Building Industry Task Force.

The Task Force chose last Wednesday, just six days before a Senate Committee is due to release its report on the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Bill, to advertise a service to workers and CFMEU spokesman, Dave Noonan, smelled a rat.

"These advertisements are run under the banner of the task force but merely divert people with a complaint to Wage Line - a service already offered by the Department of Workplace Relations," Noonan said.

"It's an admission by the task force's own marketing department that it refuses to prosecute employers who rip off workers.

"The task force claims to have zero tolerance for breaches of the law, but will not prosecute bosses who steal workers' money."

Noonan said in the year and a half the task force had operated, under Hadgkiss, it had not prosecuted a single employer, anywhere in Australia, for short changing a building worker.

He contrasted that with evidence placed before the Building Industry Royal Commission that showed the CFMEU, alone, had won more than $30 million for underpaid members over a six-year period.

Noonan said the timing of task force ads, run in metropolitan newspapers, was "no coincidence".

"The task force has been embarrassed by revelations in the Senate Committee," Noonan said. "The ads are a bit of political spin just days before the committee report becomes public."

Hadgkiss told the Senate Inquiry he wanted greater powers which would flow from the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Bill.

However, the inquiry heard allegations that task force members were already paying apprentices for information, and covertly recording conversations on building sites.

Hadgkiss told the inquiry it was legal for "anybody" to secretly record conversations in WA.

The issue of covert recordings comes a year after former undercover policeman, Michael Kennedy, told a lower house inquiry that when Hadgkiss had been senior investigator for the Wood Royal Commission, it had routinely engaged in illegal communications intercepts.

Kennedy told the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs he had been fitted up with the help of covert recordings for falsely accusing police officers of corruption.

"I was convicted because I pleaded guilty. I was absolutely done over," Kennedy said.

"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 activiities of Hadgkiss" and others, at the time. Hadgkiss was subsequently exhonerated of wrong doing but Kennedy alleged evidence and witnesses he put forward were never tested or interviewed.


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