||Issue No. 276||12 August 2005|
The Power of One
Interview: On Holiday
Unions: One Day Longer
Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Politics: Spun Out
Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
History: Taking a Stand
International: The Split
Legal: Pushing the Friendship
Poetry: Simple Subtractions
Review: Sydney Trashed
The Locker Room
Govt Has No Case
Logon to IR
Ears and Minds
Howard on the Couch
Kevin the Tool Man
Tom On Safety
Sick Days Get Hadgkiss Sniffing
The CFMEU accused Hadgkiss of “victimisation” after his Taskforce filed prosecutions against job delegate, Peter Levy, and a crane drive in the Western Australian Industrial Magistrates Court.
The counts were laid after the pair testified against the Taskforce in proceedings it brought against the CFMEU.
They have been charged with engaging in unlawful industrial action and breaching disputes resolution procedures, following stoppages that won improved redundancy provisions for workmates on a Barclay Mowlem job.
"The Taskforce singled these guys out because they stood up for their union," CFMEU WA official, Joe McDonald said. "It has a clear agenda of trying to drive a wedge between workers and their union.
"This vindictive use of their powers should remind everyone in the industry what these people are going to do."
McDonald said the Taskforce had singled out the Perth pair from 110 workers who had been involved in disputed action.
This week, Hadgkiss again linked union activity with organised crime and told the ABC he was on the trail of Perth workers, he said, were taking organised sickies.
McDonald said the campaign was ridiculous.
"I'm not a doctor but if blokes are crook they should stay home," he said.
"A public school near where I live closed down three classrooms because of a flu epedimic. I hope he's not going to use his powers to start chasing five-year-olds."
CFMEU assistant national secretary, Dave Noonan, said the Taskforce boss was playing politics.
Noonan said "nonsense' about organised crime, and building workers living in fear, were insults to thousands of hard-working Australians.
"It is purely political. It has nothing to do with law enforcement," Noonan said. "He's been in the job now for three years and he hasn't been able to bring a single criminal charge against this union or any of its members.
"He's talking up a non-existent threat to justify his own existence and the extraordinary powers he has always wanted."
Besides, bringing civil actions against the CFMEU and its members, Hadgkiss has spoken out against state Labor Governments around Australia.
He has initiated legal action against the Victorian Government for refusing to grant a contract to a demolition contractor who, unions say, dusted rural Yallourn with asbestos.
Hadgkiss' powers have been significantly increased by controversial legislation rammed through parliament during the first week of federal government's control of the Senate.
The Building and Construction Industry Improvement Bill restricts the right of union representatives to enter workplaces, makes almost every form of industrial action, including meetings, illegal, substantially increases fines, and introduces prison sentences for workers and their representatives.
It replaces the existing Taskforce with a permanent Building Industry Commission. Hadgkiss is expected to head its investigative and prosecutorial arm.
He has been given the power to force workers to attend interrogation sessions where they must answer questions and produce documents. He can also order them not to reveal anything that went on during interrogation to anyone, bar their lawyers.
Failure to comply with any of those provisions will render building workers liable to imprisonment.
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