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O\'BRIEN, Kerry, (journalist, ABC)




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7.30 Report -

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It disgusts me to think that we've done 100% of the works on these jobs an we got 100% of nothing.

Tonight on the sthorp - all work and no pay. Local contractors squeezed out by construction giants

If we're not going to make money, why am I doing this?

There's supposed to be laws that protect subcontractors but they just don't seem to work.

And from the ghetto, the music that survived the hor ofrs the Holocaust. - the horrors of the

To have made art in the face of death is possibly the most courageous act of creating art.

This Program is Captioned Live.

MasterChef trumps leaders' debate

MasterChef trumps leaders' debate

Broadcast: 20/07/2010

Reporter: Heather Ewart

The Government talks education and the Opposition tries to move from WorkChoices to the economy -
but neither wants to take on MasterChef.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: There's a strange bidding war going on in this federal election, with the
Coalition seeking to impress voters with its intent to slash government spending. They say they've
now identified savings of more than $46 billion, while claiming the Gillard Government will never
achieve the surplus it has spelt out in the Budget.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, flanked by his two Finance shadow ministers, Joe Hockey and Andrew
Robb, was very keen to shift focus away from his early campaign stumble over the ghost of John
Howard's WorkChoices policy.

But the Government had its own list of budget savings so far, while the Prime Minister returned to
her old stamping ground, education, to launch a new cadet scheme to encourage more school students
to take up a trade.

At least both political parties were able to agree on one thing: they both wanted to avoid a clash
with MasterChef with their televised National Press Club debate on Sunday night. And why not? Its
pulling power is expected to be massive.

Political editor Heather Ewart reports.

HEATHER EWART, REPORTER: Taking a bike ride through the streets of Melbourne at 4.30 in the morning
in the freezing cold wouldn't be every politician's ideal way of starting a long day of
campaigning. But maybe Tony Abbott needed to clear his head after yesterday's embarrassing stumbles
on industrial relations policy.

Today, he and his frontbench team were still trying to sort out the mess and move forward.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: Look, let me just make it crystal clear, Kochie: WorkChoices: it's
dead, it's buried, it's cremated. Not coming back ...


TONY ABBOTT: Not now, not ever.

DAVID KOCH: Not ever. Not a second term; no nothing - ever?

TONY ABBOTT: Nothing - nothing to do with WorkChoices is ever coming back. Full stop, end of story.

WAYNE SWAN, TREASURER: Tony Abbott walking away from WorkChoices would be like Richie Benaud saying
he doesn't believe or doesn't like cricket anymore. It is simply unbelievable.

JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: Wayne Swan is to surpluses what Paris Hilton is to celibacy. They
remember it once existed, but they'll never see it again.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE, OPPOSISITON EDUCATION SPOKESMAN: I do think people should take a bit of a cold
shower and start realising that we have a long way to go, otherwise they might find themselves so
exhausted they won't get to the end of the campaign.

HEATHER EWART: The voters may well be on the verge of campaign fatigue already. Today they were
served up more slick one-liners and staged media events, as the leaders, ministers and
frontbenchers raced around the country in search of attention.

As Tony Abbott had another go at killing off WorkChoices today, key business groups are
disappointed by the quality of debate and the Coalition's complete lack of room to manoeuvre on new
workplace laws, though they're not saying so publicly. As well, there's confusion about why Tony
Abbott wasn't better prepared for an issue the Government had long signalled it would push in the
campaign. What's more, the Liberal Party's campaign headquarters, traditionally based in Melbourne,
haven't even opened yet, though this is supposed to happen tomorrow.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: Sorry we're a little late. There was technology problem with the
printer, but we're here.

HEATHER EWART: They were here at a news conference to set their own agenda and deflect attention
away from WorkChoices and on to the economy.

TONY ABBOTT: Today we are announcing a further series of expenditure reductions, $1.2 billion worth
of new expenditure reductions to add to the running total.

JOE HOCKEY: Because we have to. Because the Budget is in deficit and the debt continues to grow
each and every day.

TONY ABBOTT: Over the last three years there's been a lot of belt-tightening. Now if households and
small business, if families have gotta tighten their belts, it's only right and proper that
government should be tightening its belt too.

HEATHER EWART: You get the general idea. As the Opposition promised to cut the bureaucracy but not
services, slash infrastructure spending, scrap community cabinet meetings, drop many of Kevin
Rudd's green initiatives and repeated claims that identified several billion dollars in savings.

WAYNE SWAN: When you hear Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey on the TV or on the radio they say they've got
savings of something like $49 billion. And when you pull that apart, what you find is that its
savings that they say they're taking from NBN, which is a capital investment, it's not a recurrent
spending. They're not entitled to claim that. It's savings that comes from the sale of Medibank
Private. They're not entitled to claim that. And you go down further and that they're claiming $12
billion worth of savings which was the old revenue figure for the mining tax. They're not entitled
to claim that.

HEATHER EWART: As for Julia Gillard, education was her chosen theme today as she toured Richmond
High School in the marginal outer Sydney seat of Macquarie.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: What's your favourite meal? What's the favourite thing you like

STUDENT: Ohh, desserts.

JULIA GILLARD: Desserts. You're into desserts too.


JULIA GILLARD: Oh, ok. What did you think?


JULIA GILLARD: Pasta. I'm pretty good at toast.

TEACHER: Breakfast cereals.

JULIA GILLARD: Breakfast cereal. Yeah, I can manage a bit of that.

HEATHER EWART: The Prime Minister announced a national trade cadetship program for students from
years nine to 12 to be offered under the national curriculum from 2012 if her government is

JULIA GILLARD: It's an important step forward to make it easier for kids who wanna go into the
trades to actually get a qualification that counts in the world of real work and real skills.

HEATHER EWART: As the campaign rolls on, new political ads are starting to trickle out on
television and YouTube and will soon reach bombardment level.

COALITION ADVERTISEMENT (female voiceover): It's the same people who are growing our debt by $100
million a day, every day. More Labor, more waste, more debt, more taxes. Nothing's changed. It's
the same Labor.

HEATHER EWART: For voters keen to get at least a hint of more policy detail from both sides,
there'll be a televised one hour debate between the leaders at the National Press Club on Sunday
night. Now rescheduled for 6.30pm to avoid clashing with Channel 10's final of MasterChef, though
it will take place at the same time as Channel 7's Dancing with the Stars.

JOURNALIST: Are you confident that people will switch off shows like MasterChef or Dancing with the
Stars to watch you debating Tony Abbott?

JULIA GILLARD: Ah, well, I'm assuming I will neither be dancing nor cooking and Australians, you
know, it's a great country and one of the great things about it is you get to pick what you wanna
watch on TV.

TONY ABBOTT: The Prime Minister doesn't seem to like debates now that she's the Prime Minister. She
was happy to debate me every Friday morning on the Today program before she got the top job. Once
she got the top job, her first action was to abandon for all time those debates.

HEATHER EWART: The Press Club debate will be the one and only between the leaders for the course of
this campaign. It may not be a ratings winner, but both parties are highly conscious of the need
for strong performances. Their preparations are well underway.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Heather Ewart with that report. Incidentally, we featured an interview with Julia
Gillard last night and in the interests of balance invited Tony Abbott on tonight, but he was
unable to fit us into his schedule. We're still waiting to see if he has time tomorrow.

Small contractors being strangled by building giants

Small contractors being strangled by building giants

Broadcast: 20/07/2010

Reporter: Matt Peacock

The Australian construction industry suffered a blow during the global financial crisis and many
builders are still struggling with big Government-funded infrastructure projects virtually the only


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: One sector of the Australian economy that didn't escape the Global
Financial Crisis is the building and construction industry. Private sector building is at a near
standstill, leaving big government-funded infrastructure projects as virtually the only game in
town, and a combination of less work and unscrupulous competition has caused unprecedented hardship
for many family companies and individual workers.

Now in Brisbane, a number of longstanding companies are calling for stricter standards. Matt
Peacock reports.

GERARD KEOGH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DIY RENTALS: We simply have not been paid for the work that we
have done. Nobody has policed that to ensure that the smaller contractors have been paid. And the
people at the bottom of the food chain have been paid.

MATT PEACOCK, REPORTER: 12 years ago, Gerard Keogh keep and his wife Sandy started DIY, what's
become one of Queensland's largest heavy equipment rental companies. But since the Global Financial
Crisis, he and other Brisbane family firms have been hard hit by a rash of cutthroat competition.

GERARD KEOGH: It disgusts me to think that we done 100 per cent of the works on some of these jobs
and we got 100 per cent of nothing. And every time you drive past them it's a constant reminder.

NEILE ROSENLUND, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ROSELUND: There's not gonna be much of a local industry left.
What's gonna happen? Look at around here: how many vehicles do you see parked up here? I've had to
put people off. I don't like doin' it. It's gonna keep happening.

MATT PEACOCK: Gerard Keogh is not alone. Neile Rosenlund has run his family business, Queensland's
biggest demolition firm, for 30 years, but now wonders how much longer he'll last.

NEILE ROSENLUND: There are other people coming into the Brisbane market, the Queensland market who
weren't previously there, underpaying wages, cutting corners on safety and the reputable
contractors like us and the longest standing Brisbane contractors can't compete because we won't
just take those shortcuts and we won't short pay people.

MATT PEACOCK: Brisbane's AirportLink, the nation's largest $5.5 billion infrastructure project,
much of it government funded. Last year one of the project's major subcontractors, TF Group or Tip
Fast, went into receivership, owing more than $14 million.

Yet just before Tip Fast was hired, Thiess John Holland was warned by one of its staff in an email
headed "Do not engage" that Tip Fast has a history of failing to pay its subcontractors.

MARK SOLOMONS, THE COURIER-MAIL: In journalism terms I s'pose you'd could call it a smoking gun. It
shows clearly that senior management were warned about the risks of hiring Tip Fast, or TF Group,
as it later became, but they chose not to act or, as they claim, they believe that their due
diligence was satisfactory at the time.

MATT PEACOCK: The email, which Thiess John Holland says was hearsay from a junior staff member was
leaked to the Brisbane Courier Mail's former business reporter Mark Solomans.

MARK SOLOMONS: There was supposed to be laws in Queensland, specific to Queensland, to protect
subcontractors, but they just don't seem to work.

MATT PEACOCK: Although many of TF's subcontractors are still owed money, according to Thiess John
Holland it satisfied its legal obligations by paying money owed to TF into court for distribution
to the subcontractors and the matter is now closed.

LEE CONNINGTON, FORMER SUBCONTRACTOR: Mate, we shut the doors. Had no choice. Let 18 guys go. They
all had families. Just had no choice.

MATT PEACOCK: Lee Connington ran his own company for 23 years. Now he's driving a bobcat.

The bobcat's hired for the same rates being paid on some sites for a 30 tonne machine. They're
uncompetitive rates that he believes are driving subcontractors to the wall.

LEE CONNINGTON: The last one I had was 45,000. Did the job. Guy was happy, everything was cool. At
the end of the job: nut, not paying.

MATT PEACOCK: Driving around Brisbane, Gerard Keogh is haunted by construction sites where he
supplied the big equipment, but then claims not to have been paid.

GERARD KEOGH: It's making it impossible for us to live. We've done the job and we didn't get paid
for it.

MATT PEACOCK: Gerard Keogh's no stranger to hardship. He came from Australia to escape a childhood
of unimaginable horror.

GERARD KEOGH: Oh, look, I had horrific injuries. All my bones in my body were broken at least

MATT PEACOCK: As he and his young brothers and sisters grew up inside this isolated Irish cottage,
they were repeatedly tortured in what became known as one of Europe's worst cases of child abuse.

GERARD KEOGH: I had massive injuries to my pelvis, I had my left leg torn off my body, where I was
driven over with a agricultural vehicle. Look, massive head injuries as well. I've got 17 fractures
in my skull. And, yeah, pretty bad really, yeah.

MATT PEACOCK: Decades later, the life that he and his wife built for their six children in
Australia is in jeopardy.

GERARD KEOGH: I came to Australia to - to have a chance.

MATT PEACOCK: It was on this upgrade of Brisbane's Centenary Highway that one of Gerard Keogh's
hired excavators was badly damaged. The subcontractor, he claims, still owes him hundreds of
thousands of dollars, although he's been paid by the primary contractor John Holland.

GERARD KEOGH: Throughout the process, I notified the primary contractor. CCed them and emailed
them, asked for their help and still didn't get paid.

MATT PEACOCK: It's against this company, North Coast Recyclers and Demolition and its director
Wayne Simmons, that Gerard Keogh's taken court action for unpaid bills, with the Tax Office and two
other firms queuing behind him.

Is Wayne Simmons here?


MATT PEACOCK: Matt Peacock from ABC Television. You know where I might be able to talk to him?

NORTH COAST RECYCLERS AND DEMOLITION EMPLOYEE: You can try his mobile, but he's gone way back to
out west.

MATT PEACOCK: We just wanna talk to him about - there's people that are saying that he hasn't paid
his bills and, you know, dodging paying his subbies and stuff like that.

We've tried to contact Wayne Simmons here at his Ipswich office to ask him just why so many people
are accusing him of not paying his bills. But so far we've been unable to talk to him.

Wayne Simmons disputes Gerard Keogh's claim and later issued a statement that it would be, "...
improper for either party to comment" because both were involved in court proceedings.

Court, though, is a last resort for most family companies - too slow and costing too much.

LEE CONNINGTON: You go to your lawyer. Yeah, we'll sue him. $10,000, we'll be right. I've been down
this track many a time. 10 grand becomes 20 grand, 20 grand becomes 50 grand, 50 grand becomes 100
grand, then you go "Phht! Where are we going with this?" So sometimes you just gotta walk away.

MATT PEACOCK: The cutthroat competition threatening local companies is also eroding health and
safety conditions, claims the construction union's Peter Close.

PETER CLOSE, ASST SECRETARY, CFMEU QLD: They're telling us stories of they're being out-tendered by
other companies that have come on the scene that we've never known before, 30 and 40 per cent
cheaper that their quotes. Now, you tell me how they're gonna pay the proper wages and conditions
and keep the health and safety standards up when you're 30 and 40 per cent cheaper than where you
should be.

MATT PEACOCK: This construction worker's lucky to be alive. To safeguard his present job, he's
speaking to the 7.30 Report anonymously. Earlier this year, he says, he was ordered to work in a
wet area he was worried was unsafe.

ANONYMOUS CONSTRUCTION WORKER: I was intimidated that if you go down and do the job in an unsafe
area which I had complained about to my leading hands and told, "Yeah, get down there and do it."

MATT PEACOCK: His fears were well founded. He received a severe electric shock. The next day after
the incident was reported, he was sacked.

ANONYMOUS CONSTRUCTION WORKER: I had numb hands, tingling in my hand sensation for a couple of days
afterwards. But the next day on the way home I was told that my labour was no longer required on
that job.

NEILE ROSENLUND: It is that bad. It is really that bad. It's never been that bad before. They are
cutting corners and people will get hurt.

MATT PEACOCK: Earlier this year, here on the AirportLink project, trade unions documented $150
alleged safely breaches, like this faulty wiring, an improper locking pin or unprotected holes and
trip hazards. But the union says there's little it can do since the principal contractor John
Holland abandoned state-based health and safety regimes four years ago for the Federal Government's
Comcare scheme.

PETER CLOSE: If we try to do something with the local inspectors we can't get 'em onto job because
Comcare inspectors have to come and inspect it and that takes forever, so it just doesn't happen.

MATT PEACOCK: Thiess John Holland says the union's safety observations were addressed immediately,
adding that the project has an "extremely strong safety culture" with an "excellent safety record"
above the industry standard.

These huge government-backed infrastructure projects are keeping the construction industry alive in
difficult times. But for long-established family companies like Roselund, the intense pressure to
cut costs has them asking whether it's all worthwhile.

NEILE ROSENLUND: People like us, you know, if we're not gonna make money, why am I doing this? I
may as well get out and invest the money elsewhere.

MATT PEACOCK: Gerard Keogh, though, is taking a stand and wants others to join him. A book on his
extraordinary life story is currently being researched. He's hoping this won't be another unhappy

GERARD KEOGH: I've had to make money out of my home, out of my businesses. I've had to make money
out of my equity in my machinery, and I'm lucky I have savings as well and I've taken all my
savings and I've backed my companies with everything I have.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Matt Peacock with that report.

Making art in the face of death

Making art in the face of death

Broadcast: 20/07/2010

Reporter: Kirstin Murray

The music and poetry created by the Jewish community in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius - one of
the most devastating sites of Nazi-occupation during WWII- offers an extraordinary insight into the
holocaust experience. Acting as an antidote to the tragic times, the creative output of this
community is now being pieced together by an Australian filmmaker more than 60 years on.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: No other Jewish community in Nazi-occupied Europe was so comprehensively
destroyed than that in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, where tens of thousands of residents
disappeared between 1941 and 1943. But the artists who lived under Nazi rule in a Vilnius ghetto
refused to relinquish all hope and continued to express their beliefs through poetry and music.
Decades on, the collection of songs they composed gives an incredible insight into the Jewish
experience of the Holocaust, stories now pieced together by an Australian filmmaker. Kirstin Murray

DEBORAH ZUBEN: It was like antidote to these tragic times. We didn't think of all the tragedies; we
only listened to the songs that gaves us strength, really great strength.

KIRSTIN MURRAY, REPORTER: They were forced to live in horrific conditions, where food was scarce,
disease common and death almost certain. Yet in the face of utter darkness, those held captive in
this Nazi-controlled ghetto managed to hold on to their culture to create something of
extraordinary beauty.

DEBORAH ZUBEN: Those writers and actors who were in ghetto, they felt that they can do something
and contribute something to improve the life in ghetto.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: The town of Vilna, now known as the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, was once a cradle
of culture, a place where some of Eastern Europe's most revered poets and musicians lived. Despite
being treated like prisoners during the Holocaust, they held on to their creative freedom.

ROHAN SPONG, FILMMAKER: I was just immediately fascinated, I thought, you know, how did this music
survive? What is this music about? What does it tell us about the Holocaust? How many of these
people that created this work are still around today?

KIRSTIN MURRAY: The songs they sang is the story of the music and the lives of the Vilna ghetto, a
documentary which took Australian filmmaker Rohan Spong around the world to piece together what

ROHAN SPONG: There was something about this music that spoke to its listeners in a way that facts
and figures can't. It tells us about the emotional journey of the people that experienced the

PIANIST ('The Songs they Sang'): And it's this interval ... that suggests the sorrow. But then
occasionally you get - you take off and the music becomes this dancing and jumping and frantically
looking for happiness. And the music catches it.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: But it was a challenging project. Many Jews from the ghetto hadn't survived. Some
who had simply wanted to forget.

? ('The Songs they Sang'): They found this piano, they had to bring to it the ghetto, dismantle it
and every person took a part of the piano. And they found in the ghetto this expert that had put it
together again.

ROHAN SPONG: I think that to have made art in the face of death is possibly the bravest and most
courageous act of creating art.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: Musicians risked their lives that smuggle the most rudimentary song sheets out of
the ghetto, but what remains today is sketchy.

JOSEPH GIOVINAZZO, COMPOSER: OK, this is what I had to work from: just a photo copy of the tune and
chords. So this is the original tune on its own.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: Melbourne-based composer Joseph Giovinazzo worked on putting some of the music back

JOSEPH GIOVINAZZO: The song's called 'Shtiller, Shtiller' which means 'Quiet, Quiet' and what I
wanted to do was create a stronger impression of something that was quiet and someone who was
trying to calm a child down. So I slowed it down and altered the rhythm to create a lilting,
bending over quality to it.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: For those involved in filming the documentary, keeping the legacy of the Vilna
ghetto alive's been vital.

ROHAN SPONG: A lot of people had been waiting for this story to be told on this scale and
connecting all of these people all around the world in the way that it has been.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: It is an epic tale and was a big task for a non-Jewish man from Melbourne to take

ROHAN SPONG: If you don't create something because you are daunted by the prospect of creating it,
then you've effectively let these people disappear into oblivion and I think that's a worse

DEBORAH ZUBEN: I never, never thought that there would be some people who would pick up this little
incident, that they will consider it important. I believe in miracles; that's one more miracle.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Kirstin Murray with that report.

That's the program for tonight. We will be back at the same time tomorrow. But for now, goodnight.