||Issue No. 317||28 July 2006|
Independent of Facts
Interview: The Month Of Living Dangerously
Unions: Staying Mum
Economics: Precious Metals
Industrial: The Cold 100
History: The Vinegar Hill Mob
Legal: Free Agents
Politics: Under The Influence
International: How Swede It Was
Review: Keating's Men Slam Dance on Howard
The Locker Room
Help is at Hand
Terror: WorkChoices Rule
Office of Workplace Services spin doctor, Leo D'Angelo Fisher, conceded the Minister's office had to be in the frame for a report that sought to ridicule five people who objected to being sacked.
"It's a legitimate question but I can't answer it," D'Angelo Fisher told Workers Online.
"What I can say is there is no single report as such. Not in the way it has been portrayed.
"That probably tells me there was information that was sent to ah...ah...ah - that probably takes me too far."
So embarrassed was OWS chief, Nicholas Wilson, that he took the extraordinary step of disassociating his Office from the intimidation campaign by writing letters to metropolitan newspapers across Australia.
It was the third day of an OWS push to distance itself from a pro-WorkChoices campaign in the Daily Telegraph, allegedly based on its work.
The Tele named and pictured Aussies who recounted their predicaments in ACTU adverts and told readers the OWS had found "they had nobody to blame but themselves".
OWS discomfort was understandable as "leaks" of its investigations would breach laws on which it was established by the Howard Government.
WorkChoices regulations only authorise disclosure of information to relevant colleagues or ... the Workplace Relations Minister.
ACTU secretary Greg Combet said the OWS was doing John Howard's dirty work.
"It's pretty hard to escape the conclusion that this was a politically motivated little piece of muckraking instigated by the Government," Combet said.
He said the OWS had only taken bosses' sides of the stories and had not bothered to contact some of the workers it had investigated.
"The OWS appears to have relied upon untested claims by employers as the basis for its so-called independent findings," Combet said.
Cowra abattoir worker Robert Kirkman, who features in the ads, told Workers Online he had had no contact with the OWS and was unfazed by the Telegraph's story.
"I'm not bothered that much - what I said was true," he said.
Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said the ads drew attention to what was legal under WorkChoices laws.
"We have never argued that these workers who appear in these advertisements were illegally sacked - that's the whole darn point," Beazley said.
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