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Issue No. 307 19 May 2006  

Open for Business?
While our focus in recent months has rightly been on the federal political arena, the first skirmish in the battle for rights for NSW workers will occur at the state election, due in just nine months.


Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Reverend Jim Wallis is leading a crusade to take the moral debate into the public arena.

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Government has begun a series of workshops to sell its WorkChoice vsision. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Lockout!
Jim Comerford’s eyewitness account of the 15-month Lockout of 10,000 New South Wales miners in1929-1930 records the inside story of Australia’s most bloody and bitter industrial conflict

Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Professor Ron McCallum argues the WorkChoices laws are built on a fundamental fiction.

Politics: Labor Pains
Labor has dealt itself out of the crucial workplace relations debate by failing to articulate a credible policy alternative to Howard’s new WorkChoices legislation, argues Mark Heearn and Grant Michelson

Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Evan Jones pays tribute to John Kenneth Galbraith, a big man who never stopped arguing that economics should serve the public good, not create public squalor.

Corporate: House of Horrors
Anthony Keenan takes a tour of Sydney’s notorious, Asbestos House, courtesy of Gideon Haig.

History: Clash Of Cultures
Neale Towart with a new take on Mayday through the words of a punk icon

International: Childs Play
An ILO report into Child Labour shows some progress is being made to curb this gobal scurge .

Culture: Folk You Mate!
Phil Doyle dodges Morris Dancers to find signs of Working Life at the National Folk Festival in Canberra over the Easter Weekend.

Review: Last Holeproof Hero
Finally, a superhero who has worked out how to wear his underpants. Nathan Brown ogles V for Vendetta


 Laughing All The Way To MacBank

 Perth Apartments Go Like a Bomb

 AWAs - Just Say No!

 Andrews Puts Contracts on Families

 Safety Laws Mine New Depths

 Builder Threatens Homes

 Beazley to Halt Maxi-Scam

 Umpire Stumps Minister

 Worker Dumped Over Casual Affair

 Councils Trash Workers

 Union Journo Escapes Fiji

 Canucks Crash Howard’s Party


The Soapbox
Albo's Meltdown
Labor's environment spokesman Antony Albanese argues that Chrernobyl is one reason why the ALP should stand firm on nuclear.

The Locker Room
A Sort Of Homecoming
Phil Doyle plays to the whistle.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West reports from Macquarie Street on some strange collective acction.

 Psychometric Testing for Bullies
 Pleased with Beazley
 What is Working Class
 National Day of Protest
 Tax Cuts
 Independent Contractors
 Drought Proofing
 Higher Profile for Labor
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Perth Apartments Go Like a Bomb

Perth property buyers are falling over themselves to enrich Asian businessmen linked to Burma's military regime, and implicated in the illicit sale of nuclear weapons technology.

A search of company records reveals financial backers of the Perth builder using labour hire, AWAs and immigrant labour to slash incomes have equally chequered records.

Dutch-born Gerry Hanssen is John Howard's construction industry spear-chucker in WA.

He flies the Boxing Kangaroo from his sites, challenges union reps to fist fights, and, according to the CFMEU, boasts he will eventually run his operations on the backs of 300 Chinese and Filipino workers who can't arc-up for fear of deportation.

Last week, Workers Online, broke news of his plan to import another consignment of Asian construction workers for projects falling behind schedule.

This week, we can reveal that Hanssen rose from relative obscurity to become an industry player on a partnership with shadowy multi-national operators.

After a tiling operation went bust, Hanssen re-emerged, around Perth, as a low-level building industry player.

That all changed, however, when he formed an exclusive arrangement with Finbar, and launched into the inner city apartment market under the Finbar Hanssen banner.

Company records show Finbar is controlled by publicly-listed Singapore-based Chuan Hup Holdings which, in turn, is effectively controlled by Malaysia-based, Scomi Group.

The relationship with Chuan Hup, is direct. The company is the largest single shareholder in Finbar and two of its three directors, including executive director John Cheak, sit on the Finbar board.

Chuan Hup, originally a maritime operation, was swallowed by Scomi, a gigantic corporation that built its fortune on equipment for the oil and gas industries, last year.

The takeover was effected by Scomi's strategic investment vessel, Habib, according to Singapore's Business Times.

Scomi made international headlines in 2004 when it was implicated in the sale of nuclear weapons componentry to Libya and Pakistan.

The father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, was unmasked in October, 2003, when authorities seized a German ship carrying 1000 centrifuges, en route to Libya. The parts, they discovered, were made in Malaysia.

The breakthrough came when Libya gave up its nuclear program and agreed to co-operate with international inspectors. Amidst plans for a nuclear bomb, inspectors discovered hundred of centrifuges, central to uranium enrichment.

According to the New York Post of February 9, 2004, they also discovered documents that sourced the equipment, bought by the Libyans, to Scomi Precision Engineering of Selangor, Malaysia.

Both Scomi and subsidiary, Oil Tools International, appear on the ICFTU shame list of corporations that continue to profit from dealings with the Burmese military dictatorship.

Back in Perth, Hanssen has co-opted former hardline WA IR Minister, Graham Keirath, to his anti-worker campaign. He says Keirath is now "employed" by Finbar Hanssen.

Keirath's third wave workplace changes are widely regarded as the model for John Howard's WorkChoices.

Keirath and Howard's Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, held a secret get together at Perth's Swan Italian Sporting Club, last week. Minders ensured reporters were barred from the gathering.

CFMEU WA state secretary, Kevin Reynolds, said the public and players like Keirath should be careful about who they helped enrich.

"Australian property buyers are entitled to ask if their investments are helping prop up the supporters of military dictatorships, or worse," Reynolds said.

"People like Keirath should also be careful about the masts they nail their reputations to.

"The whole Hanssen operation is questionable. Our research suggests the exploitation of foreign labour and slashing of Australian living standards might be just the tip of the iceberg."

WA Business News reported that all apartments at Finbar Hanssen's latest offering, Domus in Hay St, were snapped up on their first weekend on sale.

It said the 80 apartments returned $32.3 million to Finbar and its controversial backers.


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