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Issue No. 231 30 July 2004  

Bright Sparks
Australia is facing a major crisis that could affect all of us in the decades to come, a shortage of skilled apprentices, tomorrow’s tradespeople who are the backbone of the economy.


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.


 Goons, Scabs in Desert Showdown

 High Jump for Hardies

 Task Force in Hiding

 Court Cans Radio Bully

 Trade Deal Muddies Water

 Union Saves Kevin’s Bacon

 CFMEU Bowls Howard Model

 Mildura Bans Toxic Avenger

 Breakthrough Saves 87 Positions

 Two Million Jobs Traded

 Death Halts Sydney Tunnel

 Trainees Score $200,000

 Apprentice Crisis Worsens

 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.,

 Left Holding The Baby
 Tom On Alienation
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Task Force in Hiding

Secret squirrels at the Building Industry Task Force are forcing workers to feed hundreds of pages of required documentation through fax machines because they won’t divulge their whereabouts.

The Task Force is keeping its Melbourne address secret from the AMWU and four members it is seeking around $100,000 in fines against as the result of a four-hour picket, last year.

Frustrated industrial officer, Maurice Addison, described the Task Force as the "ASIO of industrial relations".

"They demanded a ridiculous amount of information and when we attempted to defend ourselves with injunctions and related exhibits they refused, point blank, to reveal an address.

"They told us any material had to be faxed," Addison said.

"The discovery orders were an unwarranted intrusion into the privacy of people who try and look after their workmates. They are out to finger any activist in Melbourne and try to shut them down."

Amongst other things, The Task Force sought the names of all AMWU officials; all their pay and taxation records; the names of every delegate who attended a Melbourne seminar last year; all documents associated with that seminar; and the names of rank and file delegates and safety reps.

After the orders were criticised by a Federal Court judge the Task Force agreed to amend them.

The next day it handed redrafted demands to state secretary, Dave Oliver, and after the union returned to court that "fishing expedition", also, was aborted.

Now charges under the Workplace Relations Act have been laid against the union and individual members Ali Mulipole, Fergal Eiffe, Ian Collins and Steve Mansour.

They arise from attempts, last July, to have a steelfixer pay industry rates at two inner-city construction sites.

The Task Force, established to hunt down corruption and thuggery, alleges the union, and its members, engaged in "coercion".

"There was a four-hour picket, that was it," Addison insists. "That's what this whole issue is about. We notified a bargaining period, under the act, and nobody was threatened.

"This is the federal government's secret enforcement agency, once again, interfering in the normal cut and thrust of industrial relations on behalf of the employer."

Anti-worker law firm, Freehills, will act on behalf of the Task Force in matters set down for a Federal Court directions hearing on September 3


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