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Issue No. 297 03 March 2006  

Howard's Decayed
Geoff Dixon is shorthand for the Howard decade.


Interview: Court's in Session
As the silks line up to challenge WorkChoices, Jeff Shaw is fighting for his own legacy - the NSW IR system.

Industrial: Whose Choices?
The Howard Government's WorkChoices legislation has been dissected by lawyers and the commentariat; now it's the turn of political economists.

Politics: Peter's Principles
Forget John Howard. The force behind WorkChoices is Peter Costello. The Prime Minister-in-waiting has devoted a lifetime to undermining the security and living standards of Australian families, Jim Marr reports.

Environment: TINA or Greener?
What does the greenhouse effect and legislation to control workers have in common, asks Neale Towart

History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
Power. They have it, we want it. Friendly societies tried to keep it for working people, writes Neale Towart

International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
The US Government has refused to allow France's most famous farmer Jose Bove into the country to address a conference

Education: No AWA - No Job
The Howard Government has given the Australian community its first view of the future by forcing new staff at Ballarat University to sign an Australian Workplace Agreement if they want a job, writes Jenny Macklin.

Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
The writings of a Middle Eastern theologian may provide guidance to those grappling with indigenous issues, writes Graham Ring

Review: Charlie the Serf
Nathan Brown takes the sledgehammer (and sickle) to Mr Wonka's Chocolate Factory.


 Mum Rains on Howard's Parade

 Aussie Rorts on Korean Tele

 Hardcorp Romp: All the Goss

 Holiday Win for Thousands

 Della Exposes Rip-Offs

 Robbo Heffered

 Commission Plugs Job Cuts

 Sweatshop Workers Hit the Catwalk

 Libs Beg For Worker's Dosh

 Skills Base Up In The Air

 Bakers Deal Short On Bread

 Captain Cook Runs Away

 Activists What's On!


The Soapbox
Hitler in Bowral
Political censorship has made its wasy to the sleepy Southern Highlands, wrties Rowan Cahill.

The Locker Room
No Laughing Matter
Phil Doyle tries to take Australian sportspeople seriously, and fails.

The Westie Wing
Ian West is mistakenly sent an advance copy of John Winston Howard’s Little Blue Book of Australian History…

 Belly Tells It Like It Is
 What's Going On?
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Hardcorp Romp: All the Goss

On one hand you've got a boss, accused of drowning an apprentice in concrete, and dudding dozens of sub-contractors. On the other, you've got small businesses and employees trying to get millions of dollars they are owed for work perfomed.

Whose side would you take?

The answer, for John Howard's Building and Construction Commission is simple. Last Friday, it went to the Supreme Court in Melbourne to back-in rogue operator, Tony Goss.

It wants an injunction against the CFMEU, and one of its reps, Bobby Mates, organising a picket that both say they are not organising. If the Building Industry Commission is true to form, a suit for massive damages will follow.

The community action, outside an apartment development in Heidelberg, targets Goss in his latest guise, Hardcorp.

That company came into being after Goss put its predecessor, Melbourne Transit, into liquidation in advance of penalties being handed down for its involvement with the 2004 death of an apprentice carpenter.

According to the CFMEU, the youngster had been sent under an insecure beam during a concrete pour. His employer told him to toggle the beam but, instead, he was buried in concrete.

Both the employer and the company were charged with negligence. The employer pleaded guilty but Goss chose to put Melbourne Transit into liquidation.

Subbies, formerly with Transit, say they are owed $3.5 million for work completed.

Wage workers employed by those sub-contractors are short $180,000 in owed entitlements. The administrator has told them they will receive two cents in every dollar.

Less than a month after the liquidation, Goss was operating in Heidelberg.

Melbourne Transit had an EBA with the CFMEU but Hardcorp refuses to be bound by negotiated terms.

Out-of-pocket subbies, with community support, picketed the development but Howard's Building and Construction Commission, staffed by taxpayer funded lawyers and investigators, rode in to back the Phoenix operator.

CFMEU Victorian secretary, Martin Kingham, says Goss operations have sheltered behind administration on at least three previous occasions.

"It is an outrage that a public agency would support an employer of this calibre," Kingham says. "It demonstrates, clearly, what the Building Industry Commission is really about."


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