||Issue No. 286||21 October 2005|
Lord of the Lobster Legs
Interview: Under Fire
Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Economics: The Common Wealth
History: Walking for Justice
International: Deja Vu
Legal: The Rights Stuff
Review: That Cinderella Fella
Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
The Locker Room
Thus Spake Sydney Uni
Vote 1 Dictator
Buying peace Of Mind
Rev Kev Speaks
All Quiet in Dandenong
Calbah chief executive, Chester Baker, went to ground when Workers Online tried to seek clarification, this week.
The telephonist at his Hammond Rd, Dandenong, factory was less than forthcoming when we explained we were trying to get at the truth behind Calbah's involvement in the federal government campaign.
"I am not sure I would be able to do that," she said.
She refused to pass on Baker's mobile phone number but promised to ask him to return our call. He never did, despite suggestions on Calbah's website, that he was willing to answer inquiries.
Baker found himself at the centre of a storm over ethics when three former employees blew the whistle on their involvement in the taxpayer-funder advertising campaign to sell radical workplace change.
The three, portrayed as happy, smiling faces in the wall-to-wall television blitz, said they had been misled.
Two former employees told Channel 9 they had been informed they were being filmed for a workplace health and safety video.
A third agreed, in an interview with Melbourne's Age newspaper. He also said Baker's company never paid penal rates to people who worked overtime.
The workers said they had been paid "about" $13 each for being filmed alongside actors. The word, in Dandenong, is that Calbah received around $7000 for allowing the ad to be shot.
Performers' representative, Louise O'Connor, said their treatment appeared "highly unethical" and the government should pull the ads.
"These people were misled. In all our agreements, people have to be told what they are appearing in and why. That's fundamental.
"People have moral rights because they have contributed to a campaign and become personally identified with it.
"Because of that, we have an agreement with the advertising industry, for a 100 percent loading when people are involved in political campaigns.
"The award base rate, for extras, is $19.30 an hour with a minimum four-hour callout. For most ads, negotiated rates are 10 times that figure, at least.
"It seems these people have been duped in order to get them to perform on the cheap."
Industry sources said the government's advertising agency had paid professionals, including extras who never made the final cut, $6000 a head.
A second attempt to afford Chester the opportunity to explain himself also drew a blank.
"He won't be talking to anyone," a Calbah functionary said.
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