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Issue No. 226 25 June 2004  

US Forces
The concerted and increasingly personal campaign by the Howard Government to portray Mark Latham as anti-American is built on some dodgy premises.


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!".


 Hadgkiss Sinks Boot into Safety

 Put a Job in Your Trolley

 Della Puts Cleaners Through Schools

 Freespirit Severs "Slavery" Link

 Luna Fringe Targets Fun

 Labour Warriors Fall

 Canberra Six in Dock

 Lobbyists Look for ALP Spine

 Tree Plan Faces Axe

 Sydney Water to Drip Feed Public

 Safety Nosedives At JetStar

 Irritable Desks on March

 Howard Backs Union Model

 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

 Lest We Forget
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Hadgkiss Sinks Boot into Safety

Nigel Hadgkiss will spend taxpayers’ money to get his hands on workers bank records, and continue his campaign to have agreed safety procedures declared illegal.

The Building Industry Task Force boss told Workers Online his organisation would appeal an injunction that restrains Multiplex from handing him the financial records of a dozen Melbourne building workers.

At first Hadgkiss refused to comment on the decision handed down by Justice Heerey in the Federal Court at Melbourne, last week.

Eventually, he agreed to "come up with a form of words".

"The judge has found that it is arguable that the notice is invalid and, therefore, the Task Force will take steps to have that argument fully heard as soon as possible," he said.

Hadgkiss would not, however, be drawn on CFMEU claims that he was trying to "outlaw" longstanding and agreed safety procedures.

CFMEU official, Jesse Maddison, said the order to produce had been served on Multiplex as part of a Task Force campaign against "safety audits and safety rectification measures" that took place when workers were killed.

The standard procedure in Melbourne, Maddison said, was for a management-union committee to audit death sites. Workers would be paid while the audit and agreed work was undertaken.

"The Task Force sees that process as a form of industrial action and says, therefore, it is unlawful to pay the workers, or for workers to receive payments," Maddison said.

"In this instance, Multiplex we understand, paid workers and the Task Force came back with a notice to produce the personal banking details of 12 employees.

"They are pretty sensitive details and our guys don't want them handed out."

Maddison said it was "outrageous" the Task Force was attempting to have "agreed industry procedure aimed at preventing further deaths declared illegal".

Workers Online asked Hadgkiss three times if the Task Force had "targeted safety procedures" but was unable to get a clear answer.

His responses, in chronological order, were ...

"It depends on the circumstances."

"We do not comment on operational matters," and "read my report of March 24 and you will see more of it there."

Hadgkiss' report to the Federal Government contained a series of non-specific allegations against building workers that were not supported by names, dates or even the states in which they were alleged to have occurred.

Meanwhile, the Australian Democrats have agreed to join the Howard Government in delivering the Task Force increased coercive powers, including the ability to gaol workers who refuse to answer questions about industrial disputes.


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