||Issue No. 277||19 August 2005|
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
Think of the Kids
Stand Your Ground
New Laws Make Green Bans History
The laws, based on the discredited $60 million Cole Royal Commission leave workers exposed to fines and even jailing over industrial and political protests.
Union legal advisers fear that under the new regime actions to support the community against developments will just be too risky to undertake.
CFMEU construction secretary John Sutton said the laws are the most extreme anti-worker laws ever considered by an Australian parliament.
The Building Industry Improvement Act:
- makes almost all forms of industrial action illegal, including safety and political campaigns, for instance for Green Bans;
- imposes huge fines on individual workers and unions, including unlimited compensation for damages, to stop industrial actions
- gives government officials the power to interrogate workers about industrial meetings
- suspends workers' right to silence, meaning they can be jailed if they refuse to answer questions.
"These laws represent a significant reduction in the rights of Australian workers, Sutton says.
"And the government has already signalled that it intends applying these laws beyond the building industry.
Another Case Falls Over
Meanwhile, the courts have thrown out yet another vexatious prosecution brought by the Howard Government's Building Industry taskforce.
The Taskforce failed in a bid to revoke the right of entry permit of CFMEU organiser Tom Mitchell, over a visit to a Harbord building site in June 2004.
CFMEU NSW secretary Andrew Ferguson says it was the latest in a series of unfounded claims aimed at "drowning the union in paperwork and preventing the full investigation of safety breaches on a building site".
"Tom Mitchell was going about his duty to the workers, he was investigating serious safety concerns, and he was meeting with workers to inform them of the risks," Ferguson says.
"The Taskforce's claims were unfounded, they lacked merit and they have wasted tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money as part of the government's extreme ideological agenda to attack the work of trade unions in defending the rights and safety of Australian workers."
In his findings Deputy Registrar McCarroll refused the Taskforce's request to revoke Mitchell's right of entry and said legitimate safety concerns were being investigated.
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