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live. Good evening and welcome to Lateline. I'm Tony Jones. Yesterday the ACTU president Greg
Combet unveiled the union's plans to scrap Australian workplace agreements and bring back collect
ive bargaining by unions. The Government says that the ACTU will force it on plyios even if they
don't want it. Tonight Mr Combet says he's in sync with Labor and under his blueprint bargaining
would only happen if a clear majority wants it.

Where there is a contest between an employer and the employee and a union, if the union is
representing people, about whether there should be a collective agreement or not, then that contest
should be resolved by testing the majority view of the employees.

Would bit a vote? Would it be a secret ballot?

We are quite open to a secret ballot being conducted and what we are proposing is that if there is
some debate about that, then the Industrial Relations Commission should have the power to say,
"Look, let's resolve this by ordering a secret ballot."

Mr Combet says also that the unions polled their new plan in marginal seats and got 80% approval
for it. That's coming up. First, our other headlines T bookkeeper accused of robbing Steve Vizard
is found in a Victorian hospital. High school horror - one dead and 19 wound ed after a teenage boy
opens fire on students in a college in Montreal. And on 'Lateline

Coalition dissent grows over media laws

Coalition dissent grows over media laws

Broadcast: 14/09/2006

Reporter: Dana Robertson

Dissent within the Federal Coalition is growing over proposed changes to media ownership laws.

Transcript

TONY JONES: The Prime Minister is powering ahead with plans to shake up the nation's media laws,
although the prospect of a compromise to placate his backbench is looking likely. Now it's not just
the National Party who are up in arms, senior Liberal backbenchers are openly concerned about
changes to cross-media ownership restrictions. In a rare show of cross-party agreement at least two
Coalition backbenchers have endorsed Paul Keating's views on the impact of the changes. Dana
Robertson reports from Canberra.

DANA ROBERTSON: A lot has changed in 20 years. But the man who devised the country's current media
ownership rules, believes the main issues remain the same.

PAUL KEATING, FORMER PRIME MINISTER: The quality of our plurality, our democracy, the diversity of
views.

DANA ROBERTSON: As Paul Keating famously put it, media proprietors have to choose between being
princes of print or queens of the screen. He believes the Government's plan to dump that
distinction is a recipe for abuse of power.

PAUL KEATING: What would happen is if you cross them up, they would go for you. They would go for
you in the print and, if that didn't hurt you, they'd go for you in their television magazines or
their news and current affairs programs.

DANA ROBERTSON: It's music to the ears of disgruntled Nationals backbenchers, including the
chairman of the Government's own backbench communications committee.

PAUL NEVILLE, NATIONALS MP: Philosophically, my position is very similar to his. I never thought I
would say that on national radio, but I think we've got to start considering why are we doing this?
In what way does this enhance regional radio?

SEN. BARNABY JOYCE, NATIONAL PARTY: I look forward to sending him a membership form and I think
Paul obviously, a former prime minister, said some relevant points there last night. You never
dismissed what someone says entirely just because of where they may have been in office and some
things he said there obviously was correct and obviously the National Party agree with.

DANA ROBERTSON: But John Howard is not quite so convinced.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: I won't be guided by his advice, let me put it that way. I think Mr
Keating is still sort of carrying on his decade-and-a-half long now vendetta against principally
the Packer media empire.

DANA ROBERTSON: While the Prime Minister dismisses Paul Keating's assessment, he is still under
pressure to ensure that regional media operations aren't swallowed up by single operators. And it
is not just coming from the Nationals.

WARREN ENTSCH, LIBERAL MP: To think they would then come in and apply the same standards that they
do to their newspapers to a radio program I think is frightening and I think that we have to resist
it at all costs.

SEN. ALAN EGGLESTON, LIBERAL PARTY: If I don't feel that that adequately provides protection for
regional media, then I might support another model.

DANA ROBERTSON: Fairfax Newspapers is hoping to capitalise on the discontent.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Will you be actively seeking to persuade Coalition dissident senators to vote
against this package?

DAVID KIRK, FAIRFAX CEO: Yes, we will because we think that the package, as it's been now
presented, needs to be voted out. It's not in the best interests of the Australian people.

JOHN HOWARD: These matters will be resolved in a sensible fashion.

DANA ROBERTSON: One of the worried backbenchers will chair the Senate committee investigating the
shake up of media laws. The Communications Minister has announced a three-week long Senate inquiry
but Labor say the committee's being treated with contempt.

SEN. STEPHEN CONROY, OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN: The Senate committee has not met and the chairman has
not called a meeting. The committee doesn't even have a secretary at the moment. So, for the
minister to put out a press release and announce here are the dates that the senate inquiry will
take place on, is a complete abuse of Senate process.

DANA ROBERTSON: The first public hearings will be held late next week. Dana Robertson, Lateline.

Beazley playing race card: Vanstone

Beazley playing race card: Vanstone

Broadcast: 14/09/2006

Reporter: Craig McMurtrie

The Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has launched a scathing attack on the Opposition Leader,
accusing Kim Beazley of fanning fear of foreigners.

Transcript

TONY JONES: The Immigration Minister has accused Kim Beazley of playing the "race card" and the
Prime Minister is supporting her view. In a stinging opinion feast, Senator Vanstone has lashed out
at Mr Beazley's criticism of the number of foreign workers entering the country on skilled
migration visas. But John Howard says it doesn't mean racism is back in politics. Political editor
Craig McMurtrie reports.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: After months of trading insults over the use of 457 visas, which are designed for
skilled migrants to enter the country as temporary residents, the Immigration Minister has lashed
out in print, accusing Kim Beazley of flirting with xenophobia over his opposition to the program.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, LABOR FRONTBENCHER: I really am left speechless by the notion that Amanda Vanstone
would be pointing the finger at anyone.

GRAHAM EDWARDS, LABOR MP: The Immigration Minister is in absolutely no position to make statements
like that.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: Kim Beazley says low paid foreign workers are being abused under the scheme, which
is also driving down local wages and conditions. The Opposition highlighting the case of workers
like Jack Zhang brought in from China who was living on just $280 a week.

KELVIN THOMSON, LABOR FRONTBENCHER: What we are doing is seeking to protect the interests of
Australia and Australians.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: But Senator Vanstone sees it as an attack on foreign workers, writing that in a
week marking the 10th anniversary of Pauline Hanson's maiden speech to Parliament, "It's a fan to
the racist fire".

VOICE OF AMANDA VANSTONE, IMMIGRATION MINISTER: He isn't a racist but he's prepared to fan the
racist card for electoral advantage.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: John Howard has heard that himself more than once.

REPORTER: Is this a strategy that you are happy with, Prime Minister?

JOHN HOWARD: I don't think racism is back.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: The Prime Minister says the biggest source of skilled migrants on 457 visas is the
UK and not Asia. He's standing by his minister's remarks.

JOHN HOWARD: Amanda is a very colourful person. She's pugnacious and she has her own turn of
phrase.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: The Prime Minister has also ruled out the Labor leader's idea of an Australian
values pledge on visa application forms, but the government is about to release its own long
awaited discussion paper on the idea of a new citizenship test.

JOHN HOWARD: Having a good knowledge of English will feature prominently.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: The paper is expected this weekend.

Hilliard found in hospital after court no-show

Hilliard found in hospital after court no-show

Broadcast: 14/09/2006

Reporter:

Roy Hilliard, the former bookkeeper of Steve Vizard, was found in a Victorian hospital after he
failed to make an appearance in court.

Transcript

TONY JONES: The man accused of stealing $3 million from Steve Vizard is resting in a hospital in
regional Victoria tonight after he went missing for several hours. Roy Hilliard had faced three
days of intense questioning, but didn't turn up at the Victorian Supreme Court this morning to take
his place in a civil suit brought against him by the Westpac Bank. The trial has seen Steve Vizard
become the star witness, and resulted in claims that the former television personality considered
setting up a secret offshore fund. Steve Vizard has strongly refuted those claims. Helen Brown
reports on the latest twist.

HELEN BROWN: Roy Hilliard took himself to this country hospital just before 4 o'clock this
afternoon. All that's known is that his condition is satisfactory.

MERLYN PRITCHARD, MT ALEXANDER HOSPITAL: Yes, I would say it was an emergency when somebody
presents themselves to the hospital.

SGT PETER LUKAITIS, VICTORIA POLICE: At this stage I don't actually know a lot about it. I'm unable
to speak to him and the hospital are reluctant to let anyone speak to him at this stage.

HELEN BROWN: Police haven't found his car, say they don't know how he got to the hospital and that
there is no indication of foul play.

SGT PETER LUKAITIS: When we saw him through the window he just seemed to be sleeping, so whether
he's got some other medical condition, I really can't say.

HELEN BROWN: Roy Hilliard has been in and out of court for around six years after his former boss
Steve Vizard accused him of stealing $3 million. In an earlier interview, the bookkeeper spoke of
the strain that had led him to four suicide attempts.

ROY HILLIARD, 7.30 REPORT, AUG. 2005: I was just totally overwhelmed and I just wanted to run away,
I wanted to escape, so I decided to commit suicide.

HELEN BROWN: In court this morning, Hilliard's lawyers said they hadn't heard from their client
since yesterday afternoon.

MAGDA KRON, SOLICITOR: We don't know at the present moment where he is, no.

HELEN BROWN: Are you concerned?

MAGDA KRON: Yes, I'm concerned.

HELEN BROWN: Earlier this afternoon, they asked police to declare him a missing person. Hilliard
couldn't be found at home and police spent several hours looking for clues as to where he might be.
Hilliard was due the take the stand again to defend himself against claims by the Westpac Bank who
used unauthorised cheques to siphon $3 million out of Vizard family accounts. Hilliard has told the
court Steve Vizard told him to take the money and use it to set up a secret stash of funds.
Hilliard pleaded guilty last year to falsifying Steve Vizard's accounts and received a two-year
suspended sentence.

Today was expected to be the last appearance for Roy Hilliard on the witness stand. The hearing has
now been rescheduled for Monday morning where it is likely lawyers will put forward their
submissions as to where the case goes from here. Roy Hilliard will stay in his hometown hospital
overnight for observation. Helen Brown, Lateline.

Gunman left diary entry before rampage

Gunman left diary entry before rampage

Broadcast: 14/09/2006

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

Twenty-five-year-old Canadian man Kimveer Gill left a diary entry on a website shortly before he
shot a woman dead and injured up to 19 others.

Transcript

TONY JONES: More details are emerging about the 25-year-old man who went on a shooting rampage in
Montreal today. Kimveer Gill left a chilling diary entry on a website just two hours, before he
shot one woman dead and injured up to 19 others. Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN: Dressed in black, sporting a mohawk haircut and armed with a semiautomatic rifle and
two pistols, self-confessed gun lover Kimveer Gill walked into Dawson College at about lunchtime
and began shooting.

WITNESS: I was eating my lunch and the guy came from the entrance and he started shooting people.

TOM IGGULDEN: Within five minutes, police had arrived at the college.

YVAN DELORME, MONTREAL POLICE CHIEF: At 12.44, the first policeman came on the scene and saw a
suspect shooting in the wall in the Dawson University.

TOM IGGULDEN: Part of the action was captured on a mobile phone camera.

WITNESS: We tried to take his picture so that we could like give it to cops or something, but like
he tried to shoot us on the third floor, but he missed us. So like when he was there, there were a
lot of people like on the stairs so I think somebody said, "Somebody shot, he shot somebody on the
chest and he died or something." But like we are really lucky to be safe right now. We are really
lucky.

WITNESS: There were two policemen right there on the scene like when he shot the three shots
telling him to drop his weapon and blah, blah, blah. I don't know the rest. Then he got on the
ground and he shot three or four people while we were going towards the cafeteria.

TOM IGGULDEN: The scene has revived memories of Canada's worst shooting massacre also in Montreal.
In 1999 Marc Lepin killed 14 students, all women, at another university.

Since then, evacuation procedures have been upgraded at most Canadian universities.

RICHARD FILLION, DAWSON COLLEGE: It's very difficult to make sure that the evacuation plan will be
followed as we planned. You know, there were some students that were just curious to see what was
going on in the atrium and they were just trying to get closer to the scene.

TOM IGGULDEN: It's been reported police shot Gill in the leg. He then turned one of his guns on
himself. As Canada tries to digest the violence, more details are emerging about Gill. He kept an
extensive diary on this website devoted to Goth culture. In his last entry, just two hours before
his rampage, he expresses a fondness for drinking whisky, eating icy poles and confesses a lack of
success with girls. In earlier entries he says he's obsessed with guns, gets picked on at school
and wants to die in a hail of bullets like the end of his favourite movie Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo and
Juliet.' It's not the first time that the web site has been linked to violent malcontents.
23-year-old Jeremy Stienke and his 12-year-old girlfriend both kept diaries on VampireFreak.com and
now they are accused of shooting dead her parents and 8-year-old brother. Tom Iggulden, Lateline.

8-year-old brother. Tom Iggulden, 'Lateline'. Al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader in Iraq has been killed by
Iraqi forces in Baghdad. Iraq's Interior Minister says four other militants were killed during a
raid. Two

Poland pledges NATO troops for Afghanistan

Poland pledges NATO troops for Afghanistan

Broadcast: 14/09/2006

Reporter: Raphael Esptein

Poland has responded to a British and American appeal for more troops to be sent with NATO forces
to Afghanistan, by commiting 1,000 soldiers.

Transcript

TONY JONES: Al Qaeda's number two leader in Iraq has been killed by Iraqi forces in Baghdad. Iraq's
Interior Minister says four other militants were killed during a raid. Two others including the man
described as the fourth ranking leader of al Qaeda in Iraq have been detained. Meanwhile, Britain
and the US are pleading for their NATO allies to 2,500 send extra troops to Afghanistan, but for
now only Poland has stepped forward with an offer of 1,000 troops and they won't be on the ground
until February. With a resilient Taliban insurgency in the south there are fears that Afghanistan
could once again become a failed state, and there is renewed criticism of the US and Britain for
diverting their forces away from Afghanistan for the invasion of Iraq. Europe correspondent Raphael
Epstein.

RAPHAEL EPSTEIN: The nation that was the Crucible for the September 11 attacks is once again
confounding the West with the Taliban insurgency that surprised NATO commanders. Out of 26 member
nations, only Poland has indicated it has troops to spare, but they are not coming until next year
and they won't go to the south where the fighting is fiercest.

MARK LAITY, NATO SPOKESMAN: Operation Medusa has produced significant success so I think it shows
we can do a lot with what we are got but, as the generals have indicated, if we have more, we can
do more. There have been no formal offers today but there have been positive indications so I think
NATO HQ will be following up on those.

RAPHAEL EPSTEIN: Britain has suffered many casualties recently and this for forces who thought
they'd be there simply for reconstruction. The fight has claimed 2,000 lives in total so far this
year. Half of the alliance's 20,000 troops are in the north and west. The Germans have their forces
in Kunduz. The Spanish have theirs in Kalinor and the Italians are in Heart. Some of the Dutch are
in the north but most are in the south. The French are in the capital. But most of these troops are
not permitted by their governments to join the fight in the south where the violence is at its
worst. Canada, Britain, Holland and the US are on the front line there and they want some help.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This British commitment in Afghanistan is important. They are
inflicting real damage on the Taliban and al Qaeda, but it is important that the whole of NATO
regards this as their responsibility.

RAPHAEL EPSTEIN: NATO says they face no chance of a military loss, but they could face more
casualties without reinforcements, and the country's development could stall.

Here at the defence ministry in London there is frustration with countries like Germany, but the
Europeans counter they've always maintained their forces in Afghanistan when London and Washington
diverted theirs away to Iraq.

And Iraq's instability continues to be a problem, according to the United Nations. The Secretary
General has just returned from a trip to the Middle East.

KOFI ANAN: UN SECRETARY GENERAL: Most of the leaders I spoke to felt the invasion of Iraq and its
aftermath has been a real disaster for them. They believe it has destabilised the region.

RAPHAEL EPSTEIN: The White House maintains the invasion of Iraq has helped foster democracy in
countries like Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Raphael Epstein, Lateline.

Tony Jones speaks to ACTU boss Greg Combet

Tony Jones speaks to ACTU boss Greg Combet

Broadcast: 14/09/2006

Reporter: Tony Jones

Tony Jones speaks to ACTU boss Greg Combet about union plans to scrap Australian Workplace
Agreements.

Transcript

TONY JONES: Now to our interview and at the National Press Club yesterday the ACTU secretary Greg
Combet unveiled the union's blueprint for scrapping Australian workplace agreements and replacing
them with a system of collective bargaining. It's been widely reported that his plan is at odd with
the Labor Party's position and a Beazley Government would enforce collective bargaining only where
a majority of employees in a workplace wanted it. The Prime Minister says the majority does not
matter to the unions, but tonight Mr Combet claims he's been misrepresented. He also outlined what
he would expect to happen in the mining sector in Western Australia where companies like Rio Tinto
have up to 95 per cent of their workers on individual contracts. I spoke to the ACTU secretary in
our Sydney studio just a short time ago. Greg Combet, thanks for joining us.

GREG COMBET, ACTU SECRETARY: A pleasure.

TONY JONES: Are you seriously proposing an IR model where a minority of workers in any workplace
can force an employer to agree to collective bargaining with a big union?

GREG COMBET: No. What we are proposing is something based upon three essential principles. Firstly,
that if people freely exercise the choice to be a union member, then they are entitled to be
represented. And I think that's a fundamental thing that's important to establish in law that's not
protected currently under the Government's IR laws.

The second principle is that in relation to collective bargaining there should be an obligation on
employers, unions and employees to negotiate with each other in good faith. And, thirdly, that
where there is contest between an employer and the employees and the union, if a union is
representing people, about whether there should be a collective agreement or not, then that contest
should be resolved by testing the majority view of the employees. That's our proposition.

TONY JONES: Let's go back one step then. Let's say there is only one union member in a workplace.
Can you force the employer into a collective bargaining arrangement?

GREG COMGET: I would like to know how, but what we are saying -

TONY JONES: That's what the Government is saying that you are doing. That's what Heather Ridout is
saying you are doing and that's what the ALP appears to think you are doing.

GREG COMBET: No, I don't think the ALP thinks that. I know they don't. But it's not surprising that
business and the Government would misrepresent our view. What we are saying, and it is quite a
significant thing for the union movement to be debating a policy such as this, is that at the end
of the day, whether there is going to be collective bargaining in a workplace and there is a
difference in view if you like, between an employer and the employer's workforce and the union, it
should be resolved by asking, in a democratic way, what the views of the majority of the employees
are and if they resolve that they want a collective agreement, we say then that should bind the
employer and there should be a good faith bargaining negotiation that ensues and there should be no
outs for that.

The idea, just to go back to this one member thing, is, what we are saying about that is if there
is one member there that person is entitled to be represented. They are paying their union member
fees but if we've only got one member in an entire workplace we've hardly get a strong bargaining
position. And, at the end of the day, if there is going to be collective bargaining there, it will
depend upon the level of support among the employees, whether they are union members or not.

TONY JONES: Let's get to the bottom of whether employer groups, like Heather Ridout, the Australian
Industry Group, seem to think there will be an obligation. Is it simply because you are arguing the
good faith principle has to apply? In other words, you can force every workplace to a vote as to
whether or not that workplace, even if there is only one union member, to a vote as to whether that
workplace will go to collective bargaining?

TONY JONES: Well, it would be a rather silly thing for us to do I think. If we only had one member,
I think. Wouldn't it? For the unions to be able to approach a collective bargaining situation in a
workplace, the obligation that we would carry, that our policy suggests is that we've got to do our
work with people and we have the talk to the employees, even if they are not members, and find out
whether they do want a collective bargaining negotiation and what are the issues are of concern to
them. What sort of pay increase are they interested in, etcetera. Our proposition is founded upon
us doing that organisational work and if we don't have the support of a majority of people, and the
employer doesn't want to bargain, then we are obviously not going to be going very far. The thing
that perhaps business and the Government is, I think misrepresenting, is that we are saying there
should be a general obligation on people to bargain with each other. And, look, most collective
bargaining takes place by consent. Even under John Howard's laws, employers and employees and a
union representing people come together by agreement and negotiate a collective agreement and there
is no contest about it. And we are proposing that continue. Even if, say, we've got less than 50
per cent of people who are union members, it is often the case that the majority support
bargaining, the employer consents to it, collective bargaining goes forward. There is no need to
put any further hurdles in the way of that process. However, where there is a contest where an
employer is insisting on individual contracts, such is happening now, and a union and employees
want a collective agreement, then you've got to find a circuit breaker, otherwise you have
destructive and damaging disputes that can't be resolved. And we've got one in Adelaide at the
moment. It is happening. Employer refusing to bargain collectively and insisting on John Howard's
individual contracts, these AWAs; now has locked out the employees and sacked three of the union
activists. How do you get through this? All the employees want a collective agreement. How do you
get through it? What's the circuit breaker. We are proposing a circuit breaker, the majority view
of the workers.

TONY JONES: Explain how that circuit breaker in your system would actually work. Would it be a
vote? Would it be a secret ballot?

GREG COMBET: It could be a secret ballot. It could be a workplace meeting where there is a clear
majority expressed by the employees. It might be a petition. It might be patently obvious that the
employees want a collective agreement, such as it is in this case in Adelaide. I don't think the
employer would dispute that; probably the Government wouldn't even dispute it.

TONY JONES: Why not agree on a system where, for example, it was something in disputable like a
secret ballot?

GREG COMBET: We're quite open to a secret ballot being conducted and what we are proposing is that
if there is some debate about that, then the Industrial Relations Commission should have the power
to say, "Look, let's resolve this by ordering a secret ballot." We don't have a problem with that.
It's a democratic principle that we'd like to see in the law.

TONY JONES: One of the fundamental differences obviously is that your union representatives would
be able to go freely into workplaces and lobby non-unionists to join up to a collective bargaining
agreement, is that right?

GREG COMBET: The union organisation involves talking to people and saying to them, "Would you like
to join the union? This is what we can do, this is how we can represent you. Would you like to
collectively bargain an agreement? We are prepared to represent you." That's the freedom of people
to associate in a union and the rights to collectively bargain. These are internationally
recognised human rights that Australian IR laws under John Howard are now in breach of. We're in
breach of internationally respected human rights in these situations and in relation to those
rights. We say Australia is a signatory to these conventions and we should implement them in the
law, and it should not be controversial.

GREG COMBET: Can I ask why for 24 hours a consensus appears to have grown up amongst newspaper
editorial writers, Heather Ridout's column today, for example, from the Australian Industry Group
says the same thing, the government is saying the same thing and the ALP doesn't appear to be
dissenting from it. They are all saying that if the union wants a system where a minority of
workers in a workplace can dictate that there will be collective bargaining. How did this situation
arise if you are saying it is simply not true?

GREG COMBET: The editorialists in the newspapers don't ring me before they pen their editorial, I
can assure you. They just write that rubbish no matter what. John Howard is not going to ring me
and say, "Is this what you mean, Mr Combet?" They've had their spin doctors out no doubt in the
Press Gallery in Canberra since I spoke at the Press Club yesterday, spinning this sort of line and
it takes a little bit of a hold. It's been quite amusing, actually because I'm still wondering how,
if we don't have the support of people in a workplace, how we can compel some employer to do
something. And at of the day, either an employer can consent to a collective bargaining process or
not. Most circumstances we think there would be consent. Even under John Howard's laws there are
still consent between an employer, employees and a union to collectively bargain. But where you
have a contest where an employer refuses to collectively bargain, you need a circuit breaker in the
law, and the circuit breaker we are proposing is that a majority view of the employees should be
the thing that determines the issue.

TONY JONES: Well, a majority view is what the ALP has been saying. That's exactly their position,
as I understand it, from what Mr Beazley is saying. Why didn't the ALP jump to your defence
yesterday and say, "This is not what he is saying at all"?

GREG COMBET: You'd have to ask them. I don't know. In fact, I don't know that they've done anything
to the contrary. I actually haven't had time the last day or so to follow what's been going in
Question Time.

TONY JONES: Heather Ridout also asked in her column today what was wrong with the 1993 Keating
model that gave all parties the right to pursue workplace agreements they wanted one?

GREG COMBET: This is fundamentally what we are proposing: that employers and unions and employees
should be free to voluntarily pursue collective bargaining, and to do so and negotiate with each
other in good faith. And again I come back to this: that one of the weaknesses, though, of the laws
brought in in 1993 by the Keating government, which is a weakness that we take responsibility for
in part, too, at the ACTU, is that we didn't foresee that a culture would develop where companies
would simply refuse to collectively bargain and insist on individual contracts. And that is the
change in industrial culture we are trying to address. Under John Howard's IR laws an employer can
simply say "get lost," even if you've got 100 per cent of my employees in the union, you can get
lost, we are not negotiating with you and unless people sign this document they're in a bit of
strife in this workplace, they are not part of our show. That is an issue that contravenes
internationally respected human rights and which must be resolved in any changes to the IR laws
that a future government brings in.

TONY JONES: Let's move on. Under your plans what would happen to the million or more people that,
by the next election according to the Prime Minister, would be covered by individual workplace
agreements?

GREG COMBET: We support those people having some effective transitional arrangement for their
individual contracts, that they will expire at some point in a future time under the IR system. But
we support the abolition and the commitment that Kim Beazley has made to get rid of John Howard's
individual contracts. and, look, can I say this to you: in over 20 years as a union official I have
never had one employee come to me and say, "I want an individual contract." Now, that doesn't mean
there aren't people out there that would prefer an individual agreement. I respect that there are
some. But, by and large, individual contracts are an instrument used by an employer to unilaterally
dictate the terms and conditions of employment. It's a take it or leave it proposition; and
Australia is the only advanced country in the developed world now where an employer can say, "I
don't care if my employees want to collectively bargain, I don't care if they all want to do it or
a majority want to do it, you can get lost, I don't care if they are all union members, I'm
insisting on individual contracts." We are the only country that does that.

TONY JONES: One argument is that in the mining sector and particularly in Western Australia where
large numbers, in some sectors 95 per cent of workers are actually covered by individual contracts,
that they want it that way. They want to keep it that way. You're going to say to them, "You cannot
keep that", is that right?

GREG COMBET: I know Rio Tinto well and I know BHP Billiton well, I know the mining industry well;
I've got a background in mining. I've been in disputes in the Pilbera region over the years and
many in the mining industry. If Rio Tinto, for example, at Hammersley Iron, where most employees,
about 90 per cent or more are on individual contracts, if the company is so confident that those
workers love their individual contracts and that's how they want their employment regulated, then
they should not have a problem about our proposal because our proposal is if Rio Tinto doesn't want
to consensually negotiate a collective agreement, then the test will be - what do the majority of
the employees want? If the employees love their individual contract, well the company should be
quite satisfied.

GREG COMBET: But you are going to ban individual contracts, aren't you?

GREG COMBET: When I put these propositions to them they're not quite so confident.

TONY JONES: But aren't you going to ban individual contracts?

GREG COMBET: There have always been individual contracts, common law ones, a piece of paper: in
fact about 30 per cent of the workforce are on such arrangements now. We're not proposing to
interfere with that.

TONY JONES: So only AWAs will be banned, contracts of other kinds, common law ones will be alright.

GREG COMBET: We want to get AWAs out of the system because they are used to destroy collective
bargaining, deunionise workplaces, force people out of the union and to cut people's pay and
employment conditions. They breach the rights I referred to earlier, the right to bargain
collectively, the right to freely associate in a union. We propose to get rid of them. We support
Kim Beazley's commitment for the reasons he's outlined. However, there is nothing to stop, where
people freely want to, an employee and an employer to enter into an individual contract on a common
law basis that is over and above the safety net. There will be nothing to stop that, and the test
again for Rio Tinto is are there employees, is that what they genuinely want, and we are prepared
to put their genuine desire to the test. Is the company prepared to do it?

TONY JONES: So you'll be going, effectively, into those mining companies and offering the employees
the opportunity to have a vote as to whether they want to collectively bargain, as opposed to the
individual contracts they are on. Is that what you are saying?

GREG COMBET: We're not going to be barging in anywhere. Let's get that square too. We don't conduct
ourselves in that way.

TONY JONES: How do you actually do it? How do you proceed when you have a company like Rio Tinto?

GREG COMBET: We have members there at the moment, some of whom are on individual contracts, some of
whom are not. We obviously offer to people and we are saying they should have the right to
representation, but we offered others the opportunity to become a union member, if that's what they
wish to do. We respect freedom of people to make that choice under our propositions. If people
choose to do that and we say, well, look, are you interested in a collective bargaining
negotiation, they say yes. We think "Gee, do you think most people are interested in that?" If we
think so we could approach the company and say "How about it?" Rio Tinto might say, "Yeah, OK.
Let's do it." Or they might say, "no, we don't want to, and we think our employees love their
individual contracts and don't want a collective agreement." And if we have got some confidence
about the support for a collective bargaining negotiation we might say, "let's put it to the test".

TONY JONES: Put it to a vote?

GREG COMBET: Put it to a vote.

TONY JONES: Put it to a secret ballot?

GREG COMBET: It could be a secret ballot, yes.

TONY JONES: Is that what you're saying?

GREG COMBET: Yeah it could be a secret ballot. We are not frightened about that.

TONY JONES: Let me ask you this because you've spent a long time and a lot of effort putting this
the together: have you polled it?

GREG COMBET: We've done some research on these propositions.

TONY JONES: What's it telling you?

GREG COMBET: That there's a very high level of support for the proposition that if a majority of
employees want a collective agreement in a workplace then the employer should be obliged to do it.
And the levels of support for that proposition are in the order of 80 per cent amongst swinging
voters in marginal seats; and I think it is something that we welcome debate about for that reason,
aside from the fact it is good policy and it respects people's rights. You've only got to see
there's a dispute in Canberra at the moment in the Defence Department. I met some of the workers
yesterday. There is a contractor down there who is taking over a contract for some of the services
for the Defence Department. They're insisting on AWAs, 10 per cent pay cut and you're going to lose
your job unless you sign it. That's the terms. That's John Howard's system. The thing that it takes
from these workers, not only their living standards, but their dignity, and that's the sort of
thing that has to be changed when there is a change to these IR laws.

TONY JONES: I want to go back, just finally, you've polled this in marginal seats?

GREG COMBET: We have, yeah.

TONY JONES: You say 80 per cent support?

GREG COMBET: Indeed.

TONY JONES: Have you also polled the opposite? In other words, have you polled support for the
Government's position?

GREG COMBET: We do a lot of research on these issues and people do not like individual contracts
and people increasingly are learning exactly what they are about. They're not about employees
freely exercising some choice. They're about an employer monopoly on bargaining and that's why
business will resist our proposal because they want exclusive rights. They don't want to have
employees have a say. They don't want unions to have a say. They want to have the only say and
that's the system that John Howard is supporting.

TONY JONES: Greg Combet, we'll have to leave you there. Obviously a lot more to discuss, but we'll
have to come back to that at a future time. Thanks very much for joining us.

GREG COMBET: Thank you.

Russian Central Bank head shot dead

Russian Central Bank head shot dead

Broadcast: 14/09/2006

Reporter: Tony Jones

The head of the Russian Central Bank, Andrei Kozlov, has been shot dead in what police believe was
a contract killing.

Transcript

TONY JONES: The Deputy Chairman of Russia's Central Bank has been shot dead by two gunmen in
Moscow. Police believe the attack on Andrei Kozlov was a contract killing and may have been
prompted by his efforts to clean up the country's banking system. In recent years he had withdrawn
the licences of dozens of banks and just last week demanded tougher sentences for money laundering.
Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and his Cabinet held a moment's silence.