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Issue No. 260 22 April 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Praying Mantras
The election of a new Pontiff is a moment of cultural significance, a point where the world’s moral compass comes under scrutiny, and not just for the world’s billion-odd Catholics.

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 …

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

 Pope Backs Rights At Work

 Trade Deal Built On Corpses

 AWAs Go – So Do Long Hours

 Sunday Too Far Away

 True Lies at RailCorp

 Mushrooms Mums Fed Bull

 Sewage In The Streets

 Taskforce Stands Over Vet

 Engineers in Driving Seat

 Backyard Funerals Targeted

 Work Deaths Get Permanent Reflection

 Yanks Brawl With Mall

 Activist’s What’s 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 aren’t 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
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News

Taskforce Stands Over Vet


Nigel Hadgkiss’ Building Industry Taskforce wants more time to pursue a 22-year veteran of the Australian Army who won back pay for Mildura workmates.

The Taskforce had its bid to have Peter McLean fined $2000 stood over in the Mildura Magistrate's Court, this week, after it indicated it wasn't ready to proceed.

The adjournment request, filed more than a year after the Taskforce began investigating the CFMEU' delegate, drew a stinging response from his wife.

"If this Government was willing to spend what they have spent trying to get us, on improving people's lives, they could afford a new hospital or school in the area," Lynette McLean said.

Taskforce officer, Gary Ponzio, has charged the dogman with breaching the dispute resolution procedure in the Victorian Building Industry Agreement.

The case stems from the failure of head contractor, Zauner Construction, to pay site allowances set out in their enterprise bargaining agreement until La Trobe University's Mildura site was closed for a day.

McLean said he received repeated assurances the $1.65 an hour, at issue, would be paid. But, after nine or 10 weeks of representations, Zauner still hadn't delivered.

Mildura sources said Zauner backpaid the 50 workers on site, immediately after their stoppage.

McLean, a father of six, says he has no idea why the Taskforce is so determined to get its hands on his savings.

"I don't know what they want and I don't think they do either," he said. "I can only think it's become personal.

"Gary Zauner's a nice enough bloke but his company overlooked paying site allowance, and they kept overlooking it.

"But our biggest problem was Gary Ponzio. He kept interfering and we had arguments over all sorts of things. Every morning, for weeks, his white Falcon was parked out the front of the job.

"I was also the safety rep and he harassed me over that, as well. At one point, he ordered me to hand over all my books and diaries.

"I really think the court action is personal. The boys won the argument and now it's pay back time."

The Taskforce began its action against McLean shortly after Hadgkiss told Senate Estimates his organisation did not pursue employers for award breaches.


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