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Issue No. 311 16 June 2006  

Big Target
Well, he’s finally done it. Opposition leader Kim Beazley has wrestled with his internal doubters and staked his future, and one suspects the next election, on workers rights.


Interview: Rock Solid
Bill Shorten gives the inside story on the Australian Workers Union's involvement in the Beaconsfield rescue.

Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Phil Oswald bought up his kids to believe in their rights; so when his 16-year old daughter was told to cop a pay cut she was never going to take it quietly.

Politics: The Johnnie Code
WorkChoices is encrypted deep in the PM's political DNA, writes Evan Jones

Energy: Fission Fantasies
Adam Ma’anit looks at the big business push behind the 'clean nuclear' debate that is sweeping the globe.

History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
The WorkChoices Penal Powers are the latest in a long line of penal sanctions against trade unions, writes Neale Towart

International: Closer to Home
If Australia can forgive its debt to Iraq, why not to Indonesia and the Philippines, write Luke Fletcher and Karen Iles

Economics: Taking the Fizz
While the Treasurer has been popping the post-Budget champers, Frank Stilwell gives a more sober assessment.

Unions: Stronger Together
Amanada Tattersall looks at the possibilities of strengthening alliances between unions, environmental and community organisations

Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in a film about racism and retribution, writes James Gallaway.

Poetry: Fair Go Gone
Employers in the land rejoice, for we are girt by greed.


 Esselte Occasioning Workplace Harm

 Andrews Backs State Laws

 Death Sentence for BHP

 Unions Deliver: Freehills

 No Job is Safe: AIRC

 Klan Backs Jan

 Village People Clean Up

 Dad Heads for Blacktown

 Indonesian Guards Occupy Office

 Qantas Passes the Bucks

 IR Laws a Loser: Lib

 Business Bombs Beazley

 OECD Undercuts Howard

 Leafy Council Rewards Choppers

 High Price Of A Low Wage

 Actvist's What's On!


The Soapbox
The Beaconsfield Declaration
As the Prime Minister feted Brant Webb and Todd Russell, their colleagues were outside with a message to the rest of Australia.

The Locker Room
Run Like You Stole Something
Phil Doyle observes that there are some tough bastards out there.

The Westie Wing
That fun-loving friend of the workers, Ian West, reports from the red leather of the Bear Pit.

Class Action
Phil Bradley draws the lines between education funding and the current skills crisis.

 Lost in the Supermarket
 Career Opportunities
 A Nuclear Error
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Death Sentence for BHP

A mining company that used AWAs to boost production has been fined $200,000 over the death of AMWU member, James Wadley, in a horrific gas explosion at Port Hedland.

BHP Billiton admitted negligence related to the 2004 explosion that killed Wadley and left three colleagues severely burned.

The prosecution was lodged, under WA Mines, Safety and Inspection laws, after an inquiry found safety had been compromised by BHP's AWA-driven industrial relations strategy.

Perth barrister Mark Ritter described the company's drive to individual contracts as "a factor which has impacted and continues to impact on the successful implementation of safety systems".

BHP Billiton is a key player in the Australian Mines and Metals Association that, last week, lashed ALP leader Kim Beazley for his opposition to AWAs.

Acting Magistrate Robert Burton fined the company $100,000 for Mr Wadley's death, and $50,000 each for the injuries sustained by two of his former workmates. He also ordered to pay $58,000 in costs.

Workers Online understands the billion-dollar multinational also faces charges stemming from other fatalities at its Australian mining operations.

Last year, the bereaved fiancé of union delegate, Corey Bentley, filed papers suing Australia's largest company for negligence.

Bentley was crushed at BHP's Port Nelson iron ore facility, also in the Pilbara, just weeks after proposing to Tracey Appleyard.

In Adelaide, three criminal charges have been laid against BHP Billiton in relation to last year's death of a father of two who suffocated on mud and dust, 500 metres below its Olympic Dam uranium mine.

The South Australian Industrial Relations Court laid the counts over the death 38-year-old, Karl Eibi.

If found guilty, under South Australan law, Australia's largest company would face maximum fines of $100,000 on each count.

Meanwhile, the Australian Mines and Metals Association has opposed a proposition that could have seen negligent company directors charged with criminal offences when employees were killed at work.

Unions WA has called for directors to be charged with industrial manslaughter in serious cases of negligence.

Minerals Council of Australia spokesman Rob Rawson said the proposal was "unnecessary" and "illogical".

"The assumption there is they (directors) are somehow responsible or involved and I think that's not necessarily the case," Rawson said.

Workers Gassed In Tunnel

Two electrical contractors have been hospitalised after being gassed by carbon monoxide fumes while working on the Lane Cove Tunnel project over the Queens Birthday long weekend.

The electricians were working on a diesel powered scissor lift in the tunnel at about 11.30pm on Friday night when they began to feel nauseous.

One worker left the scene while the other was ordered to keep working with a facemask. That worker then complained about feeling worse, before both electricians were hospitalised with high levels of carbon monoxide in their systems.

Workers allege that Theiss John Holland had turned off extractor fans, allowing the toxic gases to accumulate.


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