||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
Nigel’s Ad Values Questioned
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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