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Issue No. 227 02 July 2004  

A Place To Call Home
These days the Great Australian Dream is closer to a fantasy, where the chances of owning to your own home depend on either inheriting property or winning lottery.


Interview: Power and the Passion
ALP's star recruit Peter Garrett shares his views on unions, forests and being the Member for Wedding Cake Island

Unions: Tackling the Heavy Hitters
Tony Butterfield became a State of Origin gladiator at the unlikely age of 33. Even that, Jim Marr reports, couldn�t prepare him for the knock-down, drag-em-out world of modern IR.

Industrial: Seeing the Forest For The Wood
Proposals to flog off NSW�s forests have raised eyebrows and temperatures amongst some of the key players reports Phil Doyle.

Housing: Home Truths
CFMEU national secretary John Sutton argues for a radical solution to the housing affordability crisis.

International: Boycott Busters
International unions have issued a new list of corporations breaching ILO sanctions to do business in Burma.

Economics: Ideology and Free Trade
The absurdities of neoclassical economic assumptions has never stood in the way of their being trotted out to justify profiteering and attacks on the rights of citizens. The AUSFTA is the latest rort we are supposed to swallow, writes Neale Towart.

History: Long Shadow of a Forgotten Man
Interest in JC Watson's short time as Labor's first Prime Minister should not detract from his more substantial role as Party leader, writes Mark Hearn

Review: Chewing the Fat
As debate rages in Australia about Fast Food advertising, Julianne Taverner takes a look at a side of the industry that Ronald McDonald won�t tell you about in Supersize Me.

Poetry: Dear John
Workers Online reader Rob Mullen shares some personal correspondence with our glorious leader.


 NRMA Reverses Over Turnbull

 Privatisation Kills

 Crikey: Irwin Feeds Staff AWAs

 Nurses Telegraph Fight Back

 "Sexiest Man" Plays it Safe

 Eureka: Bug Swats Hadgkiss

 Macdonald Ponders Asbestos Blue

 Latham Gets Late Mail

 Murdoch Faces Discrimination Rap

 Boss Goes Postal

 Oberon Survives Bomb Threat

 Howard Out On CD

 Telstra Hangs Up On Staff

 Activists What�s On!


The Westie Wing
As the NSW Labor Government sells its first budget deficit in nine years, the real concern for the union movement is the devil in the detail, especially when it comes to procurement agreements, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Rubber Bullets
Labor's IR spokesman Craig Emerson launches a few characteristic salvos across the Parliamentary chamber

The Locker Room
Tears After Bedtime
Phil Doyle says that it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Postcard from Vietnam
APHEDA's Hoang Thi Le Hang reports from the north of Vietnam on a project being fund by Australian unionists.,

 Letter From America
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Privatisation Kills

The boss of a worker killed on a Wollongong construction site is one of eight people recommended for corruption charges by ICAC.

The ICAC investigation was launched after the Cole Royal Commission and the Building Industry Taskforce failed to address CFMEU allegations that "corrupt practices" were killing workers in the industry.

Workcover has used accredited outside "assessors" to ensure operators of heavy machinery are competent. The corruption allegations centre on kickbacks to the "privatised" assessors to pass operators who may have not been properly trained.

In a report handed down last week, the ICAC found thousands of competency certificates had been corruptly issued.

It recommended criminal charges be brought against six assessors, a trainer, and the boss of an Illawarra crane company.

"Assessment and certification processes for operators are fundamental to ensuring that only competent people operate potentially dangerous machinery," says the ICAC report. "When the procedures for minimising and controlling risks are compromised through corrupt practice the potential for harmful consequence escalates."

Michael Boland died while working as a dogman on a crane that struck overhead powerlines at Heathcote on Sydney's southern outskirts, last year. Charges have been recommended against his boss, Terry Donald Whyte, managing director of Whyco Crane Services, for allegedly giving false or misleading evidence to the ICAC inquiry, which examined the circumstances of Boland's death.


"We can put this down to outsourcing and cost cutting," says Brian Parker from the CFMEU. "WorkCover should take the assessor role back. We feel these issues should be controlled by the government.

"The use of private assessors opens the door to corrupt practices."

Parker pointed to a rapid increase in injuries and accidents, as well as a number of crane rollovers and near misses prior to the inquiry.

"It's not just building workers whose lives are at risk, but the general public as well," he said.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption launched its probe after Parker went public with allegations that private assessors were taking kickbacks to issue certificates to operators who hadn't passed competency standards.

Union secretary, Andrew Ferguson, confirmed the complaints had been raised during the Cole Commission inquiry.


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