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Issue No. 258 08 April 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Be My Guest
Is anyone else confused about the current behaviour of our Prime Minister? In just a few short years heís transformed himself from National Door Bitch to Regional Street Spruiker.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: [email protected]
Labor's Penny Wong has the job of getting more people into the workplace and keeping companies honest. In her spare time ....

Unions: State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson unveils the annual survey of attitudes of workers to their jobs, thier lives and the union.

Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Jim Marr unpacks the unlikely claim of a suburban house to be considered the New Mecca of the New Right Ö

Legal: Leg Before Picket
Chris White looks at how the federal industrial changes will impact on the basic right to strike.

Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Neale Towart asks why the only form of legitmate welfare seems to be going to the top end of town.

Health: Cannabis Controversy
Zoe Reynolds looks at how drug and alcohol testing is leading to some addled outcomes.

Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
As the indicators head south, Frank Stilwell wonders whether it is the way we do economics that is to blame.

History: Politics In The Pubs
Phil Doyle reports on the increasingly-popular Struggles, Scabs and Schooners day out.

Review: Three Bob's Worth
Doing their best Margaret and David, Tara de Boehmler and Tim Brunero have different takes on the new Australian flick Three Dollars.

Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
Workers Online bard David Peetz teaches how workers to dance to Howard's industrial laws.

N E W S

 Cash Grab Targets Families

 Wattyl Lacks Colour

 Censors Ban Workers Online

 Stink Over Water

 Cole Slurs Slide

 Table Hands Stuffed

 Sweat Shop Taxes MLCís Patience

 Cops Strengthen Thin Blue Line

 Buses Drive Commuters Crazy

 Guards Win Rail War

 Building Families Pocket $15 Million

 Students Mark Lecturers

 Activistís Whatís On

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Notes From a Laneway
Mental Health Workers Alliance member Toby Raeburn shares a week on the frontline.

The Locker Room
War, Plus The Shooting
The Socceroos arenít their own worst enemy after all, or so says Phil Doyle

Culture
Life Imitates Art
The jokes have been around for some time about the economic rationalist's approach to the orchestra, writes Evan Jones.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West takes the secret passage out of Macquarie Street to deliver his take on NSW Parliamentary Committees and other goings on.

L E T T E R S
 Out-of-sight, out-of-your-mind
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Sweat Shop Taxes MLCís Patience


Tax fiddle allegations have been levelled against the Bexley sweatshop, busted by TCFUA members, last month.

Workers Online reported in detail on claims that three seamstresses had been underpaid more than $80,000 over an 18-month period

Now, Goldbridge Clothing, situated at a private residence in Waratah Ave, Bexley, has been accused of dodging a string of other obligations, including tax and planning requirements.

Labor MLC, Ian West, told the NSW State Parliament, Goldbridge's own records revealed it was trading with a string of companies "that do not seem to exist".

He questioned invoices claiming payments of $70,000 to Jenny Ngo Fashions, $33,000 to Vu Clothing, $31,000 to Blue Rice Pty Ltd, $58,000 to Luu Henry Clothing and $51,000 to Hung Clothing.

"I am concerned that Goldbridge has not only broken laws in this state that protect workers and businesses but Goldbrdge has paid out more than $680,000 to various parties for 160,000 units of clothing," West said.

"Goldbridge would have had to receive more money than it paid out to remain in business.

"Goldbridge payments of GST on the amounts received was $46,000 or, at most, seven percent.

"In addition, Goldbridge's company statements about how much its workers earn are quite ludicrous. That is, of course, unless Goldbridge is evading other responsibilites."

Goldbridge has found a defender in Unity Party MLC, Peter Wong, who has criticised the TCFUA's raid on the sweat shop.

He wants Parliament to "condemn sweat shops" while restricting the ability of "industrial organisations" to identify them. He also wants it made illegal for the media to cover sweat shop busts.

Wong identified Goldbridge's operators as Chung Sheng Tan and Yan Hua Deng.

West ridiculed Wong's claim that the Rockdale Council had green-lighted use of their property as a clothing factory.

He told Parliament Goldbridge had operated legally, at Hurstville, until 2001 but, for the last four years, had "operated as an illegal clothing factory" at Bexley.

"This furphy creates even more issue for Goldbridge," West said.

He said Goldbridge had got an exemption under clause 21 of the Rockdale development control plan which sets out requirements for home occupation.

"The exemption states the occupation 'must be situated within the dwelling only and not in a garage, carport or ancillary structure or yard area,' he said.

"The DCP states that the work referred to must be carried out by 'permanent residents' of the home.

"Goldbridge has broken each of the clauses in Rockdale's DCP. Goldbridge Clothing proprietors must determine what they are doing. So must their supporters and barrackers."


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