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Issue No. 276 12 August 2005  

The Power of One
The power has now shifted. John Howard has control of the Senate by a solitary vote and no matter where your politics lie, the earth has definitely moved.


Interview: On Holiday
Historian Richard White looks back on the Aussie vacation - and finds a way of life is under threat.,

Unions: One Day Longer
Nathan Brown travels to the Boeing picket line and find a group of workers with a steely determination to stick together.

Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Jim Marr plays the Howard Government's industrial relations spin job on its merits.

Politics: Spun Out
Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising, according to Graeme Orr and Joo-Cheong Tham

Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
Evan Jones explains how the way we purchase alcolohol reflects the type of economy we live in.

History: Taking a Stand
Neale Towart looks at two books that chronicle how to build community support against social injustice.

International: The Split
Amanda Tattersal outsider's account of an insider's shake-out at the AFL-CIO Convention 2005

Legal: Pushing the Friendship
George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme

Poetry: Simple Subtractions
The latest blitz of taxpayer-funded advertising has revealed a crisis of arithmetic in government ranks has moved resident bard David Peetz to prose.

Review: Sydney Trashed
Sydney band SC Trash are on a mission to give new life to folk and country music – and the politics of common sense. Nathan Brown had a beer with them


 “Disgusting” AWAs Court Out

 Andrews Agenda Rolled in DEWR

 Sick Days Get Hadgkiss Sniffing

 Fun Guy Skips Work, Docks Staff

 Nurse Launches Neighbourhood Alert

 Security Staff Bush Whacked

 Commo Bank Staff Force Smiles

 Cameron Gets ‘Fair Dinkum’

 Feds: Inconsistency “Not Inconsistent”

 Telstra Dials Up Cash Grab

 Howard Votes Family Last

 PacNat Troops Won't Be Railroaded

 All Aboard Vic Safety Train

 Activist's What's On!


The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, goes away for a couple of weeks and look what happens…

The Soapbox
The Last Weekend
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

The Locker Room
A Concept Is Born
In which Phil Doyle helps the proponents of the vision thing across the road.

Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

London Post
During his recent stay in London IEU industrial officer John Shapiro was living only a few hundred metres from the site of one of the bomb blasts.

 Farmers’ Best Friend
 Govt Has No Case
 Logon to IR
 Ears and Minds
 Howard on the Couch
 Which Bank?
 Kevin the Tool Man
 Tom On Safety
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Sick Days Get Hadgkiss Sniffing

Building Industry secret policeman Nigel Hadgkiss wants thousands of dollars in fines imposed on Perth rank and filers who gave evidence for their union.

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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