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IR Bill: links update #4

National community day of protest

Webdiarist Tony Phillips reports: "At the march the organisers estimated over 150,000. Certainly was at least that since 6 city blocks is usually around 100,000 in Melbourne and the March stretched over at least 8 with people still leaving Fed square after people had been arriving at Exhibition gardens for over 20 minutes. Here are some photos I took." Thanks Tony!

Melb Rally

More photos from Tony, and from Webdiarist Polly Bush below. Make comment on the rallies in your area and send photos to Webdiary.

Thousands protest against IR laws
ABC Online, 15 Nov 2005
Hundreds of thousands of people have joined protests across Australia vowing to fight against new workplace laws.
Police say more than 100,000 people gathered for the main rally in Melbourne, which was broadcast across the country.
Unions expect crowds at rallies in more than 300 cities around the country to reach 500,000. - http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1506727.htm

Three workers sacked for attending IR rally: union
ABC Online, 15 Nov 2005
A union claims a shipping company has sacked three workers in north Queensland for attending today's rally against the Federal Government's industrial relations changes - http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1506775.htm

Hospitality industry welcomes IR changes at inquiry
ABC Online, 15 Nov 2005
Businesses in the hospitality industry have emerged as some of the strongest supporters of the Federal Government's industrial relations changes. - http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1506747.htm

Public servants warned off mass workers' rally
SMH, November 15, 2005
The Federal Government has warned its workforce of 120,000 not to attend today's mass rallies against its tough industrial relations legislation, circulating memos that public servants will be breaking the law even if they take a day of annual leave to protest. - http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2005/11/14/1131951098987.html

Union vows legal action against Govt's rally leave advice
ABC Online, 15 Nov 2005
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says it will take legal action against the Federal Government over leave advice for today's rallies. - http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1506651.htm

PM plan to strip nation bare: Burrow
The Australian, November 15, 2005
AUSTRALIANS would not let the next generation of workers inherit an industrial system stripped bare by the Howard Government, the ACTU has told 50,000 workers rallying in Melbourne.
ACTU president Sharan Burrow said today's national day of action showed workers in every corner of Australia would fight the Howard government's industrial reforms.
They would fight because they knew the changes would rob Australia of its great way of life, she told the cheering crowd. - http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17251703%255E1702,00.html

Sickies banned for IR protest
Courier Mail, November 15, 2005
THE Federal Government has tried to ban employees from protesting against its workplace reforms and is urging department managers to demand medical certificates if employees call in sick.
Several companies have also applied to have protest attendance ruled illegal, enabling them to fine workers or even sue. -http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,17251131%255E421,00.html

Della Bosca likens changes to fascism
The Australian, November 15, 2005, Patricia Karvelas
BUSINESS leaders were simply not interested in the workplace reforms of the Howard Government, NSW Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca claimed yesterday.
Mr Della Bosca told the Senate inquiry into the Work Choices legislation that, contrary to claims of employer representatives, the vast majority of businesses in his state were happy with the current system, describing the Howard Government's plans as "fascistic". - http://origin.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17248746%255E2702,00.html

Blog views

IR Protest
Mi Casio Es Su Casio
Of course, I won't be in the office tomorrow.
On Tuesday 15 November, hundreds of thousands of Australians will gather in capital cities and towns all over the country for the National Day of Community Protest against the government's draconian IR laws. A Sky Channel broadcast of the event will be beamed into hundreds of workplaces and community venues around Australia. Community Protest rallies will be held in all major capital cities and regional centres. - http://mdieter.blogspot.com/2005/11/ir-protest.html

They were there

More photos from Tony Philips

. Melb Rally Melb Rally

Webdiarist Polly Bush was also on the Melbourne streets with her camera.

Melb Rally

Syd Rally

Webdiarist Brian Todd sends these images (the one above and three below) from Sydney. Thanks Brian!

Syd Rally

Syd Rally

Syd Rally

Webdiary photographer Simon Freeman took these shots at the Sydney rally.

photo by Simon Freeman

photo by Simon Freeman

photo by Simon Freeman

photo by Simon Freeman

photo by Simon Freeman

photo by Simon Freeman

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re: IR Bill: links update #4

"A company that places profit as the priority, institutes good safety initiatives to maintain productivity."

This is sadly not always the case, when it comes to profit companies will cut corners wherever they can to increase their bottom line.

As Guy Curtis said "The new IR laws, like the building industry reforms passed earlier this year, make stopping work over OH&S concerns difficult, if not impossible.

Under the new laws workers can be massively fined for an illegal strike if they refuse to work on a site that seems to be unsafe. The new laws place the burden of proving that a workplace is unsafe on the worker. However, anyone reasonably familiar with science or philosophy will tell you that it is impossible to empirically prove a negative proposition such as "this equipment/scaffold/ladder is not safe"."

If companies are as safety conscious as you say, why change the law so it is easier for them to neglect their duty of care to their workers?

"A company who focuses on maintaining safety at all cost will be the victim of that cost and cease to exist."

I take it you have some examples of companies going bankrupt because of having to meet safety requirements, to back up this assertion then?

If a company did go bankrupt because of the cost of following safety regulations, then maybe they shouldn't be in business in the first place.

Most people want to work to earn a living, but they don't want to die doing it because their bosses are too cheap to ensure a safe work place.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Pat McCaffrey, so what you're trying to say is that Howard INHERITED a RBA cash rate of 8.5% from the Keating govt.

Howard and the coalition has since managed to create suitable economic conditions to keep inflation and thus the cash rate lower ever since.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

"I have participated in the building industry "

Obviously not as a construction worker...

"and have seen the CFMEU at work, they are at best thugs and treat their members with the same brutality as the employers. "

But employers aren't brutal thugs are they Kim? Also I would be interested in some examples of this 'thuggery' of the CFMEU.

I think the victims of James Hardie asbestos products' wouldn't see it that way.

James Hardie and it's management might however.

"I have seen them break the law, and the law stood by and did nothing,"

One would need to know the full story to reasonably comment on this. So more details, proof please.

"and when they can't get their way, then hey presto what do you know they use OH&S as a lever against their foes."

Oh my God, you mean they actually use the law against their employers and win? Fancy that. How despicable!

"An employee who has a secure job will always look after the interest and safety of others, because he is well trained in that company's safety policies and procedures."

???? If a company has adequate safety policies and procedures then SAFETY would not be an issue would it.

As to 'looking after the interest of others', it has been my experience that employees worried about their job security will sometimes say nothing about unsafe or unfair workplaces because they are worried that they will be victimised by their bosses for speaking out.

Which is precisely why we need unions, isn't it?

"Employees who move around get frustrated or confused as to what is and isn’t the proceedure, because it is not ingrained into their work attitude. This is particularly true within the building industry."

That would indicate that such employees have not been inducted properly wouldn't it? More an indictment against the employer than the employee.

IMHO the CMFEU have every right to demand safety before profit, and I for one support that demand.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

As a teenager paying my way through university in the late 80s I had no less than SIX employers who either failed to pay me properly for my work or insisted I work to conditions which did not meet legal standards.

One was one of the largest retail chains in Australia which refused to maintain my casual employment if I was not prepared to work a two hour shift (not the minimum three) every afternoon. The rest were restaurants which either refused to pay penalty rates for Sundays and late nights by forcing staff to sign timebooks indicating that all their hours were during standard weekdays, booked staff to work, but would send them home after an hour if business was slow, paid lower hourly rates under the table, or would insist you work for a 'trial' or 'training' period (anything from one shift to two weeks), for which you then received no pay ('oh, no, that was just the trial period, you'll get paid next week'). I managed to seek restitution through the Department of Industrial Relations from a couple of these employers, others were harder to pin down.

Many of the staff I worked with never bothered, particularly those who had no other career path, as they needed to keep their job.

So the question is, was I simply very unlucky in finding unscrupulous employers, or are there a lot of employers, particularly within hospitality, who will see the government's new IR laws as a chance to legalise mistreatment of staff?

I have no doubt that many of these employers, particularly the small businessmen, were just trying to make good profits and stay in the black. I also have no doubt that I just wanted to be paid fairly for my time and efforts as well. The employer always holds the position of power in such an arrangement, unskilled staff are so easily replaced.

These days I do actually work on a contractual basis, but have the skills to dictate my rates and conditions. However, I'm also well aware that a 17 year old waitress would be sent packing if she dared to demand working conditions, and I would not expect that she could adequately negotiate (with or without representation) a particularly fair deal without government mediation in the form of prescribed awards and conditions.

I think the gambit Howard is running with these laws is that people such as myself, who already work on a contractual basis, will ignore the changes and simply wonder what all the fuss is about. Possibly he thinks there's enough of us within his constituency to keep him afloat while the less skilled labourers of Australia slowly drown.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Gareth Eastwood: ”what you're trying to say is that Howard INHERITED a RBA cash rate of 8.5% from the Keating govt.”

You are basically correct except for the rate. I am afraid that was a typo on my part and the rate should be 7.5%.

My apologies.

However I am afraid that you have only looked at one side of the coin. The rate that Keating bequeathed to Howard was 7.5% ATCR but the rate bequeathed by Howard to Hawke/Keating was considerably higher at 17.54% ATCR.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

David Eastwood, it would appear that you have not read my previous post. If you are using the lending rate supplied by Graham Rakk than the comparison of rates is inappropriate. What should be compared is the ATCR (and overseas equivalents).

For most of us the rates overseas are irrelevant. What is relevant is the rate payable domestically. Just comparing the rates of two of our major trading partners show this. Japan has been running interest rates at 0% for quite some time while the interest rates in the USA has also been considerable lower that here (below 2% as against over 4% in Australia) however in spite of the unfavourable comparison Australia has been enjoying “good economic times”.

In respect of overseas comparisons please note that when Howard was responsible for interest rates of 19.93% (ATCR) the equivalents overseas rates were –
Federal Reserve Bank NY – 9.50%
Bank of Japan – 5.5%

At the time rates peeked at 19.34% under Hawke/Keating –
Federal Reserve Bank NY – 7.75%
Bank of Japan – 5%

It is clear that against the US, Fraser/Howard does better however against our major trading partner Hawke/Keating does best.

You may be right in arguing that average interest rates are as you say however this does not negate the fact that Fraser/Howard presided over higher interest rates than Hawke/Keating. As well, averages do not take account for the impact outgoing Government’s policies have on interest rates for a period of the new Government. The legacies of outgoing Governments impact the incoming Government for some considerable time.

As an example of this overlap note that under Fraser/Howard interest rates peeked at 19.93% during August ’82. The Hawke/ Keating Government was elected in March 1983 when interest rates were still very high at 17.54% thanks to the Fraser/Howard Government. It took till December 1983 for the Labor Government to get interest rates below 10%. When Howard came to office he only had to contend with a relatively low interest rate of 7.5%.

It is also worth noting that the low interest rates that we have enjoyed for the past decade or so can, in a large part, be attributed to the policies of Hawke and Keating.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Hi Kim,
A lot of accusations do you have any evidence to back any of it up?
I did a search on CFMEU and couldn't find any reference to anything you have mentioned or anything similar.

I did find some indication of 'good' business that had no problems at all with the CFMEU, so that part of your assertion is incorrect.

""We have enjoyed a good cooperative relationship with the union, the CMFEU, and have predominantly employed people from the local area," said Mr Hutchison."
link here
Nothing you said in anyway negates the fact that workers have a right to safety in the workplace.

If you were a 'good' employer you would provide this without being forced to by law.
The fact that you do so vociferously oppose such a basic right for workers says much about your philosophy in this matter.
Were you pleased at the outcome for the James Hardie asbestos victims?

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Anne Brookes, I have been in the construction industry for thirty six years, 15 years as a hands on carpenter, then Forman, then Site Manager, then Project Manager, then Construction Manager, then Consultant to the State Government, New Zealand, Canada, France and the Pacific Islands, then Litigator for anyone who hires my gun. As well as this I have my own construction company, and counselling service.

You clearly do not run a business or are in the construction industry, as your comments are those of someone that has no insight as to the nightmarish problems and costs that are involved in OH&S and its inconsistent and contradictory regulations that are as clear as mud and can be used by any unscrupulous worker or his representatives to delay productivity for their own benefit.

Many employees are leaving the industry because they are fed up with the huge and unfair responsibility that the new safety legislations place upon them. It is a well known problem within the industry and even those who administer it acknowledge it, but shrug their shoulders and say…well I don’t make the rules.

Unions often bully Workcover Inspectors by intimidating and criticising their safety inspections and directions as not adequate enough.

When I worked on the Metro Apartments, the CFMEU would come after every Workcover inspection and ring the Head of Workcover and demand that the Inspectors be sacked for not addressing so called breaches of safety. These breaches of safety were only breaches in the eyes of the CFMEU.

On the same project the CFMEU held a meeting to discuss with its members their policy of three strikes and your out, for employees caught working under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Their members rejected the policy, reasoning that anyone under those influences at work would be a repeat offender and did not deserve two more chances of possibly causing a fatality to themselves or others. The next day the CFMEU arrived with reinforcements and intimidated its members into the policy. I was in the meeting as representative of the Safety committee and witnessed the words of war.

I also remember when I worked on the Worimi Children’s Jail, that we employed six new workers, all of them had been out of work for a few months, and the CFMEU turned up and demanded they join the union (not a compulsory site). They refused because they had no money to pay, the following pay day, the union turned up with reinforcements and refused to let them of the footpath until they coughed up, one man managed to escape and had his vehicle bashed so badly, he got out and ran for his life. He didn’t come back and sent a tow truck to get the car.

Maybe this is why my parents who were union delegates for their respective industries quit their positions, because they knew that the union movement had lost the plot, and they still haven’t found it, that’s why there has been a dropping away of membership.

If anyone has a share of blame in why the current legislation is being changed, then the union can put its hand up. It is hypocritical that they see this legislation as being forced upon their members, when they themselves have been uncompromising. The union has consistently treated good employers with the same measure as a bad employers.

I believe it is time for a change. The unions will gain a few new members I am sure, but it will be short lived and they will sell out their members to feather their own nests as they have in the past. They have to, because they wouldn’t know a hard days work if it hit them in the face, and no one would employ them anyway.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Anne Brookes, the CFMEU are the biggest load of thugs one could ever meet.
In a solicitor's office in Melbourne is a cardboard containing papers, photographs and video film. This will be opened on my demise and presented to the police. The Union knows this and that is the reason I am still able to sit here and write, in relative safety.
The papers relate to an incident in 1995 and are well documented, the union officials, and three highly placed Labor politicians must pray every night for my good health.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Craig, I'm afraid Wally's world is out here. We're all the Wallys. Just waiting for my red and white T-shirt. Well actually it's in a Chevy Chase movie but...

Crispin and Pat, if David Eastwood agrees with anything I have written then clearly I am wrong. Game, set and match to Crispin. David has a little party act you see. He likes to act like he knows nothing about a topic to get you to make a statement. Then he produces statistics that prove one thing only but I wouldn't say what that is here.

He also likes to impress with his qualifications. Please keep this in mind as that's when you are supposed to gasp and concede that he is right. But what he thinks is an act unfortunately is true. He believes stats prove something other than what they are, being a record of what has happened. Bookies love people who think like that. Bookies refer to them as mugs as they think what happened in the past can be predicted, with accuracy.

Are there really two people with the surname Eastwood here or am I seeing things?

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Rick: "In a solicitor's office in Melbourne is a cardboard containing papers, photographs and video film. This will be opened on my demise and presented to the police."

I shall await the event with bated breath. Still no evidence however.
Now I am the first to admit the old BLF was involved in some very dubious activities, however to level criticism such as this at the CMFEU based on hearsay *proves* nothing.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Hey Kim, have you got your T-shirt yet. They have lovely slogans written on them and there's a variety. Mine arrived overnight and I chose, "Here a Wally, There a Wally...".

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Ross Chippendale | 19/11/2005 10

I'm afraid Wally's world is out here. We're all the Wally's. Just waiting for my red and white T-shirt. Well actually it's in a Chevy Chase movie but...
Hi Ross. I’m glad you have confessed, actually I live in Wally world too, you know , the world where our governments say Globalisation is good for us. Our Politicians see us as a bunch of Wally’s, so you are dead right “we are all Wally’s, and Wally world is here!

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Anne Brookes | 19/11/2005 8:16:53 PM Hi Kim,
A lot of accusations do you have any evidence to back any of it up?
I did a search on CFMEU and couldn't find any reference to anything you have mentioned or anything similar.

Laughed my head of when I read this, I could hardly imagine the CFMEU keeping records of its illegal actions, let alone publishing them on a web site. However the evidence can be found entered in the Projects site Diary, as recorded each day of all site progress, activities, meetings, accidents, Union and Workcover instructions, minutes of all meetings, phone calls in and out etc. Unlike the Union, every commercial builder keeps a daily record of all events relative to each project.

Mr Hutchison’s link is a dead end in case you didn’t notice and Lithium Solutions is hardly a construction company. Nothing I said has even indicated that a worker's right to safety should be negated, you're blowing out of context the basis of my comments, and avoidance of the facts makes me think you would make a first class Journo. I am also an Asbestos victim, as are my father, mother and brother, and none of us can say that we are not happy with the extensive medical treatment that we received and in my parent's case, their compensation.

Both of my parents smoked and accepted the fact that this habit aggravated the effects of Asbestos. My brother and I don’t smoke and have no ongoing effects. Drugs and alcohol related habits cause accidents on worksites, but your beloved CFMEU thinks its O.K. to let them loose on the workplace until they injure themselves or someone else, then expect the employer to pay for the counselling, the medical bills, and full pay whilst the addict is off work. Then they are expected to provide continuing employment for the addict while they rehabilitate.

In the meantime those they have injured are getting by on a diminishing workers comp settlement. Give me a good reason why any employer should do this, and how he would factor this situation into his operating costs Anne, seeing you're such an expert on our industry? Just for the record my examples of the CFMEU misconduct on those sites, had nothing to do with good or bad employers, these examples were how the CFMEU treats its members. As for me I haven’t had any conflicts with the CFMEU or Work Cover, and with the exception of one incident, have not had any major injuries on my sites, and even then, my site staff and myself were the only group who were not prosecuted because we had adhered to the letter all the fuzzy OH&S requirements

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Ross Chippendale.......had mine for a while Ross, mine has "Once a Wally Swagman", and wouldnt you know it . some Wally left the red stripes of it!

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Kim Gritten, I have read your posts and I think you are writing out of your posterior. You seem to know nothing at all about the building industry.

You and others should understand one thing - when employees talk to you, they generally don't say what they really think. They are even less likely to now when having a view that doesn't accord with the boss will likely get them the sack. At the end of the day civilised countries ensure that corporate power (a corporation is nothing more than a collective of capital), is balanced by the capacity for employee collectives (unions) to exercise the power they have in the labour market. The fact that there is now no such capacity in Australia will not raise productivity, nor will it increase employment, but it will increase the share of output that goes to profits rather than wages, and it will increase the social power that employers have in the workplace. That is in fact the intended result of the legislation.

I can assure you that whether employees are in unions or not, everybody knows this, and except for those who identify completely with the interests of their employer, people are unimpressed with the legislation. This also includes small business, who actually like awards. You can't blame people's scepticism on union 'lies' now, because people have had a chance to look for themselves, and of course they have had the benefit of the lovely and informative Government camapign.

So what's wrong Kim? Why aren't people just lov'n it? Why are they telling pollsters they are unimpressed? BTW, did you follow the submissions of the Hospitality Industry at the Senate Inquiry last week? Wages and conditions too generous in that industry apparently. Wonder how it managed to survive really. But don't worry, the government has come to the rescue of employers. After January next year, away with all those pesky awards and penalties and overtime rates.

It is true that very few will complain to the boss - after all, if they don't like it they can go elsewhere can't they? But remember, people can still vote. Don't believe your own propaganda. That is the mistake the ideologues in the government have made with this legislation, although the smarties that wrote the legislation knew very well what they were doing. It is only the dopes on the backbench and the mouths on talk back that peddle the crap about higher wages etc etc. Every-one else knows exactly what has been done and why.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Hi Kim, I don't know a lot about the CFMEU. But, I do know a few things.

First, I know the government spent $16 million dollars on a building industry royal commission that has resulted in only ONE prosecution of a union official. I don't think this indicates that CFMEU are as bad as you say.

Second, I know that a law that makes it logically impossible to stop work because the workplace is unsafe, without being prosecuted, is a bad law.

Third, I know that if you are right about job security and job safety going hand in hand that the changes to unfair dismissal laws must, as a consequence, jeopardise safety.

Finally, I know that under the new building industry laws the only people in Australia who don't have a right to remain silent when asked about happenings in their workplace are building workers. How is anyone meant to feel secure and safe without a basic human right?

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Pat McCaffery, I'll turn that around.

You tried to use two one-month datapoints from a couple of decades of history as if they were sufficient facts that prove the ability of the various governments to manage interest rates over the course of their tenure. As you say, never let the facts get in the way...

re: IR Bill: links update #4

David Eastwood: “I'll not argue your choice of reference rate, the difference is the shape of the yield curve, not constant, but it doesn't make a huge difference.”

David, I hear you!

I hear you loud and clear!!

'Why let the facts get in the way of a good story'.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Pat McCaffery I'll not argue your choice of reference rate, the difference is the shape of the yield curve, not constant, but it doesn't make a huge difference.

I will pull you up on one point - international interest rates mean everything, even in the days before currencies were floated. Governments have little or no control over absolute interest rates as in a globalised world they move in relation to each other to a large extent. What governments can influence via their policy settings is the difference between domestic and rates and the rest of the world - that's why the premium is important.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

The most militant union in Australia is not the CFMEU, not the MUA.

It's this one.

It now rivals that other bastion of militancy and confrontation, the AMA in the bad old Bruce Shepherd days, for sheer self-seeking bloody-mindedness, to an extent which would make the shiftiest old-time union enforcer blush with shame.

And because of its influence, the money behind it and the unregulated nature of its activities, the BCA and like groups such as Gary Brack's Employers First (the name says it all) are far more dangerous to the fabric of Australia than the most militant trade unions ever could be.

Not one mention of "employees", "clients or "customers" on its website. Not even a mention of shareholders or other stakeholders, many of whom are unknowingly conscripted in by superannuation fund managers eager for a quick return. No acknowledgement that establishing and maintaining quality ethical business means attracting and keeping quality employees at all levels, including those in the semi-skilled and unskilled sector who are still vital in the areas of manufacturing and distribution.

No acknowledgement that one of the most glaring problems in business is the unwillingness of organisations to invest in quality training. Better to keep the workforce unskilled and hence vulnerable. Something like the law in the Confederate states of America which forbade literacy for slaves.

R and D can go by the board as well. No quick bucks in that, and why develop smart Australian products if you can go and stitch up deals with trading partners who pay their workers even less than ours.

Heather Ridout, as its bland public face, appears on television in business dress roleplaying the voice of moderation and responsibility while stealth-marketing the Government's no-choices legislation. Behind her are an array of corporate cowboys whose main aim is to profit at the expense of both workers and customers, and to collect as large a payout in salary packages and terminations as they can sneak past their shareholders.

It does not end there. Two of the targets of this group thought they would never publicly admit it, are both the ACCC, and ASIC in its corporate watchdog role. Watch the next round of Howard's master plan unfold including the stripping back of regulatory powers of both of these bodies under the guise of "public service cuts" or "rationalisation", leaving overworked State Fair Trading bodies to struggle to fill the regulatory and consumer protection gap.

Guy Curtis and Anne Brookes, it's up to you of course but wouldn't be too concerned about engaging with posters like Kim Gritten. Some of his more noteworthy comments in other threads include the following gems:

In this thread:

"Whilst at a re-union dinner a man at our table who said he worked in the Public Service in Canberra and was talking about the Cornelia Rau incident said that whilst she was in jail she had continually stated she was a German Tourist and only spoke German to those involved in her interviews which is why she ended up in a detention centre whilst they tried to get to the bottom of the truth.

This was briefly covered in the news just after it came public, but now this seams to be all forgotten and swept under the carpet and Cornelia Rau has no problem complaining about her treatment in good old English...

Does anyone smell a rat here or are we Taxpayers being set up once again?" (19th July 2005)

And this one:

"Gay people make everyday decisions, you would have to be a block (sic) wall to think they could not choose to leave their gay inclinations and overcome them." (18th August 2005)

Makes you then wonder about the rest of his discourse.

The Royal Commission into the Building Industry is here and some historical background here.

One of the interesting things to come out of the inquiry was the extent of collusion between the handful of identified crooks and employers. It was always in the interests of groups like the MBA and some of the rogue players in the industry to pretend to not know the real story while covertly but actively brokering sweetheart deals with individual corrupt unionists, and of the Right to use a troubled industrial demarcation situation as an opportunity to union-bash.

Interesting too that this period was also the beginning of the time when you see large-scale shoddy unit developments appearing, particularly in older suburbs under the guise of "urban consolidation", and revelations of deals between developers and corrupt councillors.

Both crook builders and crook developers can only rejoice as they hide behind groups such as the BCA and Employers First.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Guy Curtis, firstly, I know the Government spent all that money. I was involved in some of the ground work. Just because only one was prosecuted, does not paint a picture of what went on. There is more to it and it only confirms what I and others on this thread have stated.

Second, I know that a law that makes it logically impossible to stop work because the workplace is unsafe, without being prosecuted, is a bad law. No this is a law instituted to stop the union's bloody mindedness. Why shut down a whole building site when only one section is effected. It is acceptable to isolate the offending area and continue working in safe areas, but the union prefers to shut the whole site down. Now does this sound like a rational industrial relations action, can you honestly say this is addressing the issue at hand or is it muscle flexing?

Third, I know that if you are right about job security and job safety going hand in hand that the changes to unfair dismissal laws must, as a consequence, jeopardise safety.

Finally, I know that under the new building industry laws the only people in Australia who don't have a right to remain silent when asked about happenings in their workplace are building workers. How is anyone meant to feel secure and safe without a basic human right? That’s why Australia has Work cover as its industrial policeman. They are also accountable if they do not do their job correctly. And a building company that strives to do the right thing has nothing to fear.

The responsibility to maintain a safe work environment now rests on everyone, employee and employer alike. An employee can no longer shrug their shoulders and say “its not my responsibility. “If an employee is sacked for carrying out safety issues, then he can proceed with unfair dismissal action.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Jane Doe (21/11/2005 3:26:24 PM): "I have read your posts and I think you are writing out of your posterior. You seem to know nothing at all about the building industry."

So that’s why everyone wants my services - I can orate with my behind!! Silly me I thought it was because I had some building experience. Well at least I'll get plenty of good solid advice from all the proffesional building industry experts on this thread. Now I have a question for you Jane, seeing as you have pointed out my short-comings.

If the union sees itself and its members as an industrial participant with bargaining rights and the right to negotiate its wages and conditions, and promotes itself as a commercial commodity, then why all this hoo ha. If they want to be in the free market competitive world, then why do they think they deserve any special treatment compared to all the other participants and why should they get it?

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Crispin Bennett, blind faith wins every time. As a parting shot I'd suggest you get your head around a bit of Drucker, who sadly left us last week after a pretty fair innings.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Dee Bayliss, thanks for the rap Dee, and thanks for posting some previous comments of mine which have walking witnesses and factual people who are testimonies to my comments, and remember I posted this comment recently: “Unions are politically motivated, and anyone who thinks otherwise is living in Wally world.” Well just read this which is right from the Historical background link that you posted.

“The best-known story of the massive conflict in the building industry is of course the battle between the BLF and the BWIU in the 1960s and 1970s. These conflicts were shaped around ideological differences between left wing parties (the split in the Communist Party into the SPA, CPA-ML and the CPA).”

Well there it is folks right out of the horses mouth.

And thanks for posting the link to the Royal Commission. I’m sure when everyone is scrolling through, they won't miss the action taken against the unions for breaking industrial laws, the fighting over BLF assets, the demarcation disputes that cost employers and employees income, the bullying of major contractors, the fact that they could not get together and resolve their differences so the Government had to step in and sort it out, the corruption. Shall I go on.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Kim Gritten, you said that: "The responsibility to maintain a safe work environment now rests on everyone, employee and employer alike."

However, Section 106A g(i) of the new WorkChoices Bill specifies that employees bear the burden of proof to show that the workplace is not safe. How does this make it the employer's responsibility?

Like I said, it is a bad law. If the intent, as you say, is to stop a whole workplace shutting down because one bit is unsafe, the law fails because it doesn't even allow the unsafe bit to be shut down without the employee being prosecuted!

By the way, your reply to my point that building workers have now lost their right to remain silent does not make any sense at all.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Guy Curtis , again this is not a new law, under the current OH&S legislation employers are under the same regulation. If you have been involved in a Workcover enquiry as I have you will discover that Workcover has the most powerful legal jurisdiction in Australia, they do not require any legal documents to enter your house, search your home, remove potential evidence or to arrest you on the spot, they also have the power to arrest you if you refuse to let them enter your premises, remove potential evidence or hinder their investigations in any way including avoidance of answering any question relative to an investigation. These people have what I call Gestapo powers and are themselves subject to these conditions if they are found not to be enforcing the OH&S acts and regulations... scary stuff huh! And you need to remember this law is different to all other laws in as much as you are deemed accountable or guilty until you can prove your innocence, and even then you are graded as to your culpability if you cannot prove innocence beyond doubt.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Kim Gritten, about the right to remain silent. Under the new building industry laws if a building worker is asked a question they will be fined and/or jailed if they do not to answer from one of the inspectors whose job it is to enforce the code.

The idea of a right is that is it something you can exercise without penalty -- see for example, free speech, presumption of innocence, freedom of religion, etc. "Choosing" to, as you say, "shut up", is not a viable option. It is either speak up, or be fined/jailed. For more information on this see this link.

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Guy Curtis: "However, Section 106A g(i) of the new WorkChoices Bill specifies that employees bear the burden of proof to show that the workplace is not safe. How does this make it the employer's responsibility?"

OH&S Regulation 2001, clause 28 chapter 3(1) requires the employee to take reasonable steps to prevent risk to health and safety by notifying the employer or supervisor of the employer. Level two fine applies if this is not done.

As you can see Guy, this is already part of law, so nothing is changing.

By the way, your reply to my point that building workers have now lost their right to remain silent does not make any sense at all. Actually, I'm having trouble understanding this comment. How do you lose your right to shut up? Don’t you mean they have lost their right to voice their objection!

re: IR Bill: links update #4

Kim Gritten, no one here is in denial about the behaviour of a small number of unionists in the past. So why didn't the state police investigate them as is done with corporate criminals, of which there are many still not caught who have not as yet joined their HIH mates in the slammer? Why was an expensive Royal Commission needed if not as a political beatup?

As Guy Curtis correctly observed, this beatup cost the taxpayers $16 million dollars to do what the Fraud Squads could have done for thousands.

Then again preventing criminal behaviour was not what it was all about, was it...

You will note too that the Industrial Relations Minister at the time of the Royal Commission was Tony Abbott, co-court jester of the front bench along with rival heir and friend of the workers Peter "Dollar Sweets" Costello. At least Abbott was Howard's chosen Clown Prince until his gonads got caught in the blender so to speak and he became the Man in the Iron Mask.

And so what if unions in this country have traditionally supported the Left? If you bothered to read the history link I posted from Workers Online you will understand why the union alignment with democratic socialism in the English-speaking world has a long and respected tradition.

Industrialisation moved control of working conditions away to a large extent from the individual artisan and the craft guilds into the hands of factory owners whose focus was on productivity and profits at any cost.

Employers have never been terribly interested, to say the least, in either providing optimum working conditions nor of maximising earnings as against profits.

Perhaps the ultimate corporate thugs in this country were those behind the Patrick Partners wharf dispute (Part 3 here) - Chris Corrigan, corporate raider and master of mercenaries and that epitome of probity and ethics Peter Reith.

The Firies Union's Darryl Snow wrote this colourful summary in 1998.

And the NSW Labor MLC Peter Primrose details criminal activities using similar tactics with some of the usual suspects from the Maritime Mafia at Joy Manufacturing.

In his address to the Institute of Management in 1998, MUA National Secretary John Coombs said:

A recent US study reported in Scientific America magazine August, 1998 edition draws much the same conclusions Indeed, the study found that the most productive enterprises were achieved at unionised workplaces. It found productivity was highest where unions and management co-operated and worked together. When this was not the case productivity plummeted.

This fact has obviously been missed by the obsessed Coalition ideologues, prepared as they are to blatantly legislate basic worker's rights out of existence but to wink at the potential for corporate criminality, as the Patrick's saga continued into 2002.

The majority of workers in this country are salaried workers who have no choice in the way they are taxed to provide government services. I don't see too many administrative and clerical workers, retail assistants or tradespeople being able to hide their assets offshore or buy a $2 shelf company or divest assets into a family trust.

In addition if you are a salaried worker or self-funded retiree and you score a second job you are in fact penalised by the tax system.

And all those "independent contractors" which Howard's legislation is going to create are not in fact "independent contractors" at all because the ATO will still treat them for taxation purposes as wage and salaried employees under Taxation Ruling TR 2000/14, despite their having neither WorkCover protection nor employer-funded superannuation.

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