||Issue No. 251||11 February 2005|
Economics: Super Seduction
Interview: Bono and Me
Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Technology: From Widgets to Digits
Education: Dumb and Dumber
Health: No Place for the Young
History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
Review: Dare to Win
Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
Taskforce Loses "Payback" Evidence
Stalking Horses in Safety Stampede
The Locker Room
Morals Beat Hasty Retreat
Uncounted Cost Of Asbestos
Voting Farce Expands
I Beg To Differ
Labor Council of NSW
Court Out … Again
Justice Murray Wilcox rejected allegations brought by Taskforce boss, Nigel Hadgkiss, that a Wollongong sub-contractor had been drummed off a site because he refused to join the CFMEU.
Wilcox heard evidence that the subbie, PJ and LJ Smith Plant Hire, had been operating dangerous equipment and didn't have Workers Compensation paperwork in order.
He heard that the subcontractor, claiming to have an annual wage bill of $100, had failed to comply with repeated requests to update workers comp records.
"Officials of unions whose members are working in an inherently dangerous place such as a construction site have an obligation to those members to take an interest in occupational health and safety issues and the adequacy of insurance arrangements affecting workers on the site," Justice Wilcox ruled.
The reverse for the Howard Government's Taskforce came just three months after a Melbourne judge characterised its tactics as "undemocratic" and "authoritarian".
Federal Court Justice Marshall ruled the Taskforce did not have the right to access the personal bank accounts of building workers employed on the Concept Blue site.
Marshall criticised Hadgkiss' organisation for failing to disclose the purpose of its investigation when it ordered workers to produce the details, after hearing, in evidence, that it "might not have (had) a suspicion about anything".
"Such notices are foreign to the workplace relations of civilised society, as distinct from undemocratic and authoritarian states," Justice Marshall ruled.
Days after the Marshall ruling, Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, confirmed the federal government would further boost Taskforce powers.
Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported, last week, that the Building Industry Taskforce has taken eight cases to court in more than two years. It has churned its way through more than $13 million taxpayer dollars to recover $15,000 in fines.
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