The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
Issue No. 242 15 October 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Historical Revisions
It was a common refrain on Saturday night as we cried in our beers, hurled vitriol at the TV set and wondered how big the shellacking would be this time around: Howard won on a lie.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: The Last Bastian
AMWU state secretary Paul Bastian has been at the centre of the three year battle to bring James Hardie to account.

Unions: High and Dry
Jim Marr unpacks the recent High Court Electrolux decision to test whether the ruling matches the media hype.

Security: Liquid Borders
The Howard Government loves to trumpet its national security credentials but a close look at its record in shipping sinks the myth argues MUA’s Zoe Reynolds.

Industrial: No Bully For You
Phil Doyle reports on how bringing dignity and respect to the workplace is undermining bullies.

History: Radical Brisbane
Radical Brisbane extends the 'Radical City' series into the Red North. Two experienced activists, academics and writers turn South East Queensland history on its head.

International: No Vacancies
More than 1400 hotel union workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 2, are on strike at four major hotels in San Francisco, California, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Life After Capitalism
A situation that all anarchists dream of? Michael Albert has been more than dreaming., writes Neale Towart

Technology: Cyber Winners
Labourstart's Eric Lee looks at a good news story of global online campaigning that has delivered a victory.

Poetry: Do It Yourself Poetry
Teaser: Wondering why the polls are all over the place? Ask our resident bard and psephologist.

Review: Hard Labo(u)r
The Voice of Southern Labor highlights the role music played in the 1930's US textile strikes, but more than that it provides a lucid insight into the roots of modern capitalism and some truly organic organising, writes Tara de Boehmler.

N E W S

 Don’t Worry, Be Organised

 Senate Faces Family Fight

 Cheques Cashed In Seconds

 "Undemocractic" Taskforce Court Out

 Power to People: On Hold

 Eyes Have It Over Lotto

 Bomb in Santa’s Sack

 No Picnic in Park

 Smoking Loophole A Bit Rich

 BlueScope Workers Take Stock

 ABC Radio Clash

 Melbourne Goes Global

 No Justice for Joel

 Mercury Falling in Hobart

 Last Gasp for Monitoring

 Kiddie Photos Victory

 Thousands Up for Grabs

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

Politics
True Lies
Labor Council secretary John Robertson argues It’s Time – for an IR reality check.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Much work has been done in the past to ease the plight of clothing outworkers in New South Wales. It's time to step up the pressure, as sweatshops and clothing contract work are thriving stronger than ever, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Who Started the Class War?
Evan Jones looks across the Australian political landscape and asks who are the real class warriors?

The Locker Room
First Past The Post
Phil Doyle is coming up in class and is all the better for recent racing

Parliament
Westie Wing
Our favourite state MP returns for his monthly Macquarie Street wrap.

Postcard
Positive Action
Australian unionists are helping give hope to Filipino workers living with HIV/AIDS.

L E T T E R S
 Giving Your Soul Away
 Invest in Dignity Part III
 You Need Help
 Medicare Woes
 Whose Party Is It Anyway?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Bosswatch
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation


Labor for Refugees

BossWatch



News

"Undemocractic" Taskforce Court Out


The Coalition Government intends bolstering the powers of an anti-union agency whose methods have been characterised as "undemocratic" and "authoritarian" by a Federal Court judge.

Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, said the Coalition would not resile from regulations that would compel people to give evidence or produce documents to Nigel Hadgkiss’ Building Industry Taskforce, under threat of imprisonment.

He was speaking after Justice Marshall the Taskforce did not have the right to access the personal bank accounts of CFMEU members on Melbourne's Concept Blue site.

Marshall was critical of the Taskforce's failure to disclose the purpose of its investigation when it ordered Multiplex employees to produce the documentation.

"Such notices are foreign to the workplace relations of civilised societies, as distinct from undemocratic and authoritarian states," Justice Marshall ruled.

He challenged the Taskforce's approach after it admitted in court that it "might not have suspicion of anything".

Current penalties for breach of Taskforce monitored building industry laws, rushed through after the Cole Royal Commission, include five-figure fines for unions and fines of up to $2000, and possible imprisonment, for individual members.

The Concept Blue case arose out of a Taskforce investigation of a safety audit, following the death of a Melbourne building worker in August, 2003.

Andrews is expected to refloat elements of the Building Industry Improvement Bill, knocked back after an exhaustive inquiry by the outgoing Senate.

The Bill seeks to further bolster Taskforce powers, including giving it the nod to investigate union activities with a view to facilitating potentially crippling damages claims on behalf of third parties. It would also remove the right to silence, during Taskforce interviews.

CFMEU Victorian secretary, Martin Kingham, called on the Howard Government to heed Justice Marshall's warning "and not journey down the path to an authoritarian state".

"This kind of intrusive behaviour into workers private lives should have no place in Australian society. Workers should not be subjected to this intrusion purely because they want to make sure their work environment is safe," he said.

Kingham said the decision reflected the union's contention that Hadgkiss' organisation was doing a "political job".

He said Taskforce officers gave no indication of interest in unsafe conditions that threatened workers lives or underpayments or contractual breaches by employers.


------

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 242 contents



email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet


Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
URL: http://workers.labor.net.au/242/news4_court.html
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online
LaborNET