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Issue No. 321 25 August 2006  

Crude Politics
It is one of the great mysteries of Australian politics that the Prime Minister has managed to emerge unscathed from one of the most profound geo-political misadventures since history was first recorded.


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.


 Howard Amps Up Repression

 Andrews on the Fiddle

 Robbo Flags Mobile Holidays

 Shop Group Maroons Kids

 Condition Critical

 BHP Confronts Chilean Resistance

 The Thin Yellow Line

 Safety Goes to the Dogs

 Pollies Wings Clipped By Junket Ban

 Technicians Win Action Ballot

 Academics Take Contract Lessons

 Hardie, Ha, Ha - Directors Laughing

 Amcor Sends Hundreds Packing

 Warren Goes to Ground

 Activist's 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.

 Seek and Ye Shall Find
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Hardie, Ha, Ha - Directors Laughing

Directors who helped orchestrate James Hardie's multi-million dollar asbestos dodge want pay rises of up to 100 percent.

Chair Meredith Hellicar, whose actions in the massive tax-compo rort are still being reviewed by authorites, wants nearly $400,000 a year, in contravention of a 2004 assurance given to asbestos disease sufferers.

Longtime asbestos campaigner, Bernie Banton, confirmed James Hardie had promised not to seek increases for directors until a $1.5 billion asbestos compensation arrangement was finalised.

That arrangement, thrashed out with the ACTU and NSW government, is in limbo over the compensation fund's tax status.

Banton labelled the Hardie directors' latest cash grab "outrageous".

James Hardie revealed last week that it would put directors' fees increases to a vote of shareholders.

Part-time directors want fees doubled to around $130,000 a year, not including stock, while the proposal would see Hellicar's salary jump by more than 50 percent to $394,000 a year.

The move follows the company's decision to reward the two executives at the centre of the compensation scandal, after it was uncovered by a NSW government inquiry.

In October, 2004, James Hardie gave golden handshakes to chief executive, Peter McDonald, and chief financial officer, Peter Shafron, of $8.83 million and $1.25 million, respectively.

At the time, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission was considering legal action against McDonald and Shafron, after the Jackson Inquiry recommended charges be laid for breaches of corporations law.

Hellicar was a member of the Hardie board when it decided to relocate to the Netherlands in a tax manoeuvre that also saw it deny liability to compensate thousands of Australians dying from contacts with its products.

Evidence to the Jackson Inquiry suggested it misled the Supreme Court in its effort to rid itself of Australian obligations.

The inquiry was launched after a vigorous union campaign, spearheaded by AMWU NSW officials, Paul Bastian and Jan Primrose.

Last month, James Hardie gave new CEO, Louis Gries, a $2.5 million pay rise.


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