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Issue No. 318 03 August 2006  

Don't Bank on Costello's Oil Shocker
Did the economy slip on a banana skin or an oil slick?


Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Macquarie Street and Canberra are squaring off over safety in the workplace, NSW Minister for Industrial relations, John Della Bosca, explains what's at stake.

Unions: Fighting Back
When John Howard's building industry enforcer started threatening people's homes, one couple hit the road. Jim Marr met them in Sydney.

Industrial: What Cowra Means
The ruling on the Cowra abattoir case highlights the implications of the new IR rules, according to John Howe and Jill Murray

Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Howard Government hypocrisy is showcased in its climate change manoeuvring, Stuart Rosewarne writes:

Politics: Page Turner
A new book leaves no doubt about whether the faction came before the ego, Nathan Brown writes.

Economics: The State of Labour
The capacity of the state to shape the political economy and thus improve the social lives of the people must be reasserted, argues Geoff Dow.

International: Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

History: Liberty in Spain
Worker Self-Management is good management. The proof in Spain was in Catalania, Andalusia and continues in the Basque Country, as Neale Towart explains.

Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
Phil Doyle thought he'd find nostalgia, but instead Vulgar Press' new book, Maroon & Blue is a penetrating insight into the suburban mind under stress.


 Ah, Sol

 Telstra Contractors in Bush Raid

 Spooks Go “Nuclear”

 Drivers Under Attack

 Stacks on the Hill

 Advertising Works

 29 Face Secret Interrogations

 Bureaucrats Sit on Wages

 Blue Mountains Fit Through Loophole

 G Spot for Rally

 Chalkies Give WorkChoices An F

 Howard Base Shaky

 Deaf Workers Lose Voice

 Canberra Scratches WorkChoices Handicap

 MUA Hungry for Change

 Vanny Changes Story

 Activists What's On


The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter One - Tommy and "The Boy"

Westie Wing
Ian West wonders what might happen if the NSW Coalition actually did win power next March at the State elections.

 Bussies Are Tops
 What Was He On About?
 Belly On Balance
 Help Wanted
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Spooks Go “Nuclear”

Twenty eight thousand dollar fines could be chicken feed if building industry police deliver on threats to personally sue 107 Perth construction workers.

The prospect of massive damages bills, on top of $28,000 fines, was floated by the head of John Howard's Building Industry Commission at an industry gathering in Sydney, last week.

John Lloyd told the Building Science Forum damages claims against individuals who struck in support of a sacked delegate were options that hadn't been ruled out.

CFMEU national secretary, John Sutton, a guest at the forum, was left in no doubt about Lloyd's intention.

"Unscripted, he raised the prospect of suing our members," Sutton said. "I took it as another threat, a shot across our bows.

"He was telling us he had a nuclear device in his arsenal and he was prepared to use it."

The 12-day stoppage on the Perth-Mandurah rail project, in March, has seen the Commission, and the employer, test a new armoury delivered by a federal government that has made no secret of its desire to destroy the CFMEU.

Leightons has filed a $13 million damages claim against the CFMEU in the Supreme Court, while the Commission has targeted individual members.

The existing actions, and threatened damages, come under either Howard's revamped Workplace Relations Act or his recently-passed Building Industry Improvement Act.

Amazingly, the crippling actions stem from a case in which the employer, Leighton-Kumaigi, appears to have already conceded it was in the wrong.

It sacked delegate, Peter Ballard, against a background of complaints over safety standards and repeated claims of victimisation.

Workers Online understands the joint venture eventually resolved the sacking issue by making a substantial payout to Ballard.

"The men on the job considered the sacking unjustified and there is some evidence the company came to the same conclusion," Sutton said.

Sutton said whether or not Lloyd chose to go for the jugular with damages actions would be a political decision.

"This is all part of a softening-up process aimed at curtailing democratic and civil rights," Sutton said.

"John Lloyd is a political appointment to a political position.

"When it comes to suing these individuals he will make a political assessment, rather than a legal one.

"His consideration will be whether or not, at this stage of the campaign, suing individual workers will damage his political masters and his office."

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