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Issue No. 262 06 May 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Rights and Wrongs
Something unseasonal and hitherto untoward has been occurring up at Macquarie Street in recent weeks, a flurry of legislative activity around workers rights.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Fortress NSW
NSW IR Minister John Della Bosca on how to win the battle for workers rights - and save the state system.

Unions: Fashions Afield
With new anti-sweatshop creations being paraded at this year's Australian Fashion Week, is equity the new black and are sweatshops the new fur? asks Tara de Boehmler.

Industrial: Pay Dirt
John Burgess argues that the flow-on effect from changing the minimum wage could be more than we bargained for.

Politics: Infrastructure Blues
With much attention given belatedly to the shortage of infrastructure, little attention has been given to the structure of infrastructure, writes Evan Jones

History: Big Day Out
Neale Towart looks back on the events that created the May Day heritage.

International: Making History
Hundreds of aid organisations, charities, trade unions and religious groups have formed a global alliance called “ Make Poverty History”.

Economics: The Fear Factor
The solution to skill shortages is intelligent planning, argues John Spoehr

Review: The Robots Revolt
New kids flick Robot uses our electronic friends to teach audiences that inbuilt obsolescence is just a state of mind, writes Tara de Boehmler

Poetry: The Corporation's Power
The idea of a corporations power that could cure any ill has inspired our resident bard, David Peetz, to verse.

N E W S

 Harmer FACS Families

 Brats Drive Bus Row

 Harsh Reality – Bella Turns Pink

 Rev Kev Blesses Bosses

 Workers Online Legit

 Howard Rides Kiwi Model

 Della Opts for Gaol

 Feds in the Dock

 Carr Race to Bottom

 Bosses Walk on Water

 Govt Gets Claws into Nurses

 Ion Faces Legal Probe

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
May Spray
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson delivered the annual May Day Toast - and warned it is no time to be comfortable and relaxed.

The Locker Room
A Rucking Good Time
Phil Doyle reveals many things, some of them useful

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, is back to regale us with inside goss and intrigue from the Bearpit.

L E T T E R S
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News

Ion Faces Legal Probe


Legal action and ASIC prosecutions are being flagged over the collapse of automotive parts maker Ion Ltd.

The AWU called for Australian Securities and Investment Commision (ASIC) action at the second Ion Group creditors meeting in Adelaide, this week, and proposed other legal action by workers, shareholders and creditors.

Hundreds of Ion workers lost their jobs after the company went into voluntary administration in December. A report by Administrators McGrath Nicol revealed major financial control failures, poor decision-making and net selling of shares by company-related parties in the months before the collapse.

The AWU and employee creditors supported a proposed Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) to save as many jobs as possible and to ensure accrued entitlements were paid in full.

In a speech to the creditors' meeting, AWU secretary Bill Shorten, raised the following questions:

How could the directors have been unaware of Ion's problems and continued to make optimistic forecasts about the company's future?

Why were company-related parties selling Ion shares prior to the administration?

Why was Grant Samuel appointed as advisors on 14 April 2004 when the CFO recommended a cheaper bid by KPMG and an Ion director was also a director of Grant Samuel Corporate Finance?

How could the banks approve $400 million in unsecured loans to Ion barely three months before the collapse?

Is the Administrator pursuing the directors for breach of statutory duties or taking any action against the auditors, banks or advisors?

"It is time for ASIC chairman Jeff Lucy and his team of untouchables in the insolvency unit to get cracking on this corporate disaster," Shorten said. He also called for changes to the Corporations Act and Australian Accounting Standards to give employees maximum priority of payment in company failures and to provide better information for early warning of corporate collapse.


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