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Issue No. 247 19 November 2004  

In Defence of Jeff
Those of us who know and have worked with Jeff Shaw over the years have found the unfolding spectacle of his very public fall from grace profoundly distressing. Surely they have the wrong guy.


Interview: The Reich Stuff
Robert Reich has led the debate on the future of work – both as an academic and politician. Now he’s on his way to Australia to help NSW unions push the envelope.

Economics: Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Environment: Beyond The Wedge
Whether the great forestry divide can ever be overcome or whether it is best sidestepped for the sake of unity and sustainability in other areas is up for debate, writes Tara de Boehmler.

International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon and John Mathews show us How To Kill A Country

Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Nick Lewocki from the RTBU lifts the lid on the shonky science behind RailCorp testing

Politics: Labo(u)r Day
John Robertson lets fly at this years Labor Day dinner

Human Rights: Arabian Lights
Tim Brunero reports on how a Sydney sparky took on the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.

History: Labour's Titan
Percy Brookfield was a big man who was at the heart of the trade union struggles that made Broken Hill a quintessential union town writes Neale Towart.

Review: Foxy Fiasco
To find out who is outfoxing who, read Tara de Boehmler's biased review of a subjective documentary about corrupt journalism.

Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
Brothers and sisters! Praise the Lord! Brother George has saved the White House from an invasion by infidels, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Activists What's On!

 Union Baiter on Charges

 Commuter Champ Backs Workers

 Late Night Threats in Perth

 Corporates Gobble Apprentices

 Fleas Get Thumbs-Up

 Packer Perishes in Blue

 $5000 Bill for Teen

 Miners Plunge Before The Beak

 Cops Raid Press

 Christmas Sack at Broken Hill

 Admin Staff Exposed

 Teachers Swallow Lolly


The Locker Room
In Naming Rights Only
Phil Doyle has Gone to Gowings

The Soapbox
Homeland Insecurity
Rowan Cahill tells us how the Howard Government’s appointment of Major-General Duncan Lewis to head up the national security division of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has received little critical comment, until now.

The Westie Wing
New proposed legislation in NSW provides a vital window of opportunity for unions to ensure they achieve convictions for workplace deaths, writes Ian West.

 Backbone Derail Causes Paralysis
 Shawly we’ve heard enough
 Decline of The American Empire
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Union Baiter on Charges

One of the millionaires pushing John Howard to deregulate Australian workplaces faces accusations of anti-competitive practices, and the possibility of million dollar fines for health and safety breaches.

Patrick Corporation boss, Chris Corrigan, is one of 20 New Right activists urging the federal government to use its control of both houses to eliminate collective workplace organisation.

This week his company was fingered by ACCC chief, Graeme Samuel, for operating a "cosy duopoly" with P&O that delivered higher returns than those enjoyed by other Australian businesses.

"According to the stevedores' own figures they are enjoying returns on

assets of around 27.8 per cent EBIT. These are well above international

rates of return for comparable industries of seven to 17 per cent. These

rates of return are a direct result of low levels of investment in expanded

capacity," Samuels said.

"A figure such as 27.8 per cent is something about which most Australian

companies can only dream."

Meanwhile, the NSW IRC has reserved its decision on penalties against the company after it was found guilty on five separate OH&S charges.

Observers suggest evidence of the offending was so strong that the Commission could post million dollar sanctions over the use of single-operator straddle cranes.

A number of operators sustained long-term impairments after prolonged use of the equipment at the centre of the Federal Government's 1998 War on the Wharves.

In that dispute, the Howard Government sided with Corrigan and National Farmers Federation attempts to drive unionised labour off the Australian waterfront.

Mercenaries from the armed forces were secretly trained in Dubai to take over the jobs of MUA members.

Attempts to prove a conspiracy between Patrick and the Howard Government, in court, have been repeatedly thwarted by Government's refusal to produce sought documents.

On the very day that Corrigan and his 19 associates delivered their demands to the Prime Minister, his company backed off moves to strip conditions from low paid vehicle workers at its Autocare division.

Patrick dropped its insistence on being ring-fenced from award variations after 30 Ingleburn employees marched on a board meeting in Sydney.

Corrigan and his associates are urging the government to go beyond the seven IR bills defeated by the last Senate, including legitimising unfair sackings.

They want an inquiry to consider proposals to make it easier for collective contracts to be replaced by individual contracts; unions to be stripped of remaining legal rights; welfare payments eliminated as a "deterrent to job seeking"; the possibility of repudiating international labour standards signed by Australia.

Corrigan has been joined in promoting the wish-list by high profile anti-worker activists, many with connections to the extreme right wing HR Nicholls Society.

Other signatories include, WA building products magnate, Len Buckeridge, who was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond after assaulting a union member.

Buckeridge was last year's winner of the Charles Copeman medal, presented by the HR Nicholls Society. During his acceptance speech he admitted having drawn up a hit list of union activists.

Charles Copeman, himself, architect of the notorious Robe River lockout, was another signatory to last week's plea.

As were Perth businessman, Harold Clough, who outed himself as the "mystery backer" of Tony Abbott's campaign to have Pauline Hanson gaoled; and Steve Knott, head of the Australian Mines and Metals Association.


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