||Issue No. 307||19 May 2006|
Open for Business?
Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Politics: Labor Pains
Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Corporate: House of Horrors
History: Clash Of Cultures
International: Childs Play
Culture: Folk You Mate!
Review: Last Holeproof Hero
The Locker Room
Pleased with Beazley
What is Working Class
National Day of Protest
Higher Profile for Labor
Perth Apartments Go Like a Bomb
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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