Workers Online
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Workers Online
  Issue No 43 Official Organ of LaborNet 24 February 2000  

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News

Did Taxpayers Fund PMís Rogue Union?


Court documents have raised questions about whether taxpayer money was used to fund the failed registration bid by a rogue postal union whose leader had been personally endorsed by Prime Minister John Howard.

Quentin Cook's attempt to have the Postal Delivery Officers Union granted official status was thrown out of court this week, in a damning judgment by Vice President Tony McIntyre in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

In the judgement, VP McIntyre described Mr Cook's behaviour in treating members of the existing union, the Communication, Electrical and Plumbing Union, as "appalling, spiteful, vindictive attacks."

But more intriguing is the role of the Commonwealth Government, led by John Howard - the man who personally endorsed Cook back in 1994 when Howard was languishing in opposition and Cook was beginning his assault on the CEPU.

According to official minutes of the PDOU, tendered to the court by the aspiring union, Cook told the executive that "Legal Aid has been granted..." to allow the PDOU's application for official status.

The issue of where this Legal Aid came from is unclear, although legal experts say that state Legal Aid Commissions have a statutory requirement for recipients of state legal aid to inform the parties of their involvement in the case.

No such advice was granted to the CEPU or the other parties to the case, meaning all fingers now point to Canberra.

Unions are now pressing the government to come clean on whether they funded the Cook challenge and the ALP is expected to pursue the issue in Parliament.

Shadow Attorney General Rob McLelland has already raised questions over the funding of the Cook case - but was brushed by A-G Daryl Williams claiming confidentiality.

CEPU state secetary Jim Metcher says if taxpayers money was used in such an ideological challenge, then they have the right to know.

"I would also encourage any workers who were lured into the PDOU to seek a refund of their fees and contact the CEPU," Metcher says.

For full details of the Cook case, see David Chin's analysis in our Legal Feature.


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*   Issue 43 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Parting Gestures
Outgoing ACTU president Jennie George looks back on her time at the helm and charts some challenges for young women in the union movement.
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*  Unions: While We Were Sleeping
Itís been a long hot summer for Australian workers - from the showdown in the Pilbara to the victorious National Textile workers. We look at the stories Workers Online missed while we were in the banana chair.
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*  Media: Freudian Slips
The coverage of Jennie Georgeís final days as ACTU President were a case study in the art of psycho-tabloid.
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*  Legal: Cookiesí Fortune
The breakaway union led by a man personally backed by the Prime Minister has been refused registration in a ruling that raises questions over the whole enterprise.
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*  Politics: True Deceivers
In his controversial new book, Andrew Scott argues that Labor's rhetoric has outstripped its achievements.
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*  Review: Rebel With a Cause
A new Michael Moore has emerged at the frontline of subversive television. His technique? Combining organising with silly suits.
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*  Satire: Victorian ALP shock: "Apparently We're in Power!"
A recent survey conducted by the Victorian State ALP has revealed that the party is in government.
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*  International: Right Hand Drive
The rise of the extreme Right in Austria carries some important lessons for our own society.
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News
»  Did Taxpayers Fund PMís Rogue Union?
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»  Woodlawn: Two Years Is Long Enough
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»  Bus Drivers Strike Olympic Bonus
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»  Office Email Access for All
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»  Test Case for Bank After Hold-Up
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»  Mad Monk Misses the Mark
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»  Crosby to Unions: Don't Lose Your Nerve
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»  The Bald Truth - Unions Hit the Campuses
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»  Moait Takes Reins as President
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»  Mardi Gras to Pay Tribute to Jennie
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»  Pay Equity Cyber Picket on Premier
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»  Log-In Every Day on LaborNet!
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  Desperately Seeking Lithgow Ladies
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»  Just a Suggestion!
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»  Where is the Nexus?
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