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Power play

I KNOW it’s early days at the Federal Government’s royal commission into the building industry, but it doesn’t seem as though this important inquiry has got off to a good start.

Reports that have come across my desk gave the inquiry’s opening day the thumbs down, suggesting that the Government’s resolve to start this commission may be let down in the delivery.

After the powerful results of the NSW royal commission into police corruption, it is easy to expect too much from these inquiries.

Obviously we will have to wait and see, but let’s hope Howard gets this right.

He has always wanted to take on the unions, particularly those with militant tendencies.

The construction industry is a good place to follow up his efforts on the waterfront and a royal commission is a far better way to have it out than open warfare on building sites.

But it has to be more than show – it is early in Howard’s third term and a win here could create some real reform.

And let’s face it, reform is needed.

Talk to anyone in the construction game and they will tell you stories that you would find difficult to believe take place anywhere in Australia, let alone Perth.

For all its faults, and they were many towards the end, the Court Government had reined in some extremist behaviour by unions by proving a Building Industry Task Force which had police powers.

There was relative peace in the construction industry and businesses could tender for work with some certainty.

By all accounts that peace has ended since Labor took power in this State.

You can hear the bad stories being repeated.

Dr Gallop has his own problems with the union movement and is unlikely, even if he wanted to, to do much with the unions covering the construction game just yet.

It is a pity that Labor and the union movement don’t have the will to separate the decent types from the thugs.

Unions have an important role in our society as protectors of people’s rights.

But you can’t be two-faced about it.

You can’t fight for one group’s rights at the expense of the basic rights of others and you can’t support anyone who abuses the system, just as business organisations should not support their members when they break the law.

In the end, union thuggery is self defeating. It does not take Einstein to realise that spurious complaints that add a few extra days’ wages into the hands of some unionists come not just at the cost of the construction companies involved.

They put off those who are considering developments, reducing the pool of future work and, in the end, reducing the number of potential members those unions will have.

I doubt Labor will ever be able to deal with this issue while they are in office.

Maybe Howard will do us all a favour, but only if this royal commission does the job for which it was intended.

Good lead

I HAD the pleasure of hearing John Worsfold address the ICAA recently.

His strategy for the Eagles sounded promising because it was based on drawing out the leadership qualities of his team members.

He believes that some of the older players have failed to realise they are leaders, mainly because no-one has ever given them responsibility.

Sounds like a 40under40 candidate to me.

Who will nominate him? Just go to www.40under40.com.au

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