Tenth Anniversary Conference

Cultural Change in the Building Industry on the Sunshine Coast

Graeme Haycroft

This is the third paper we have prepared for the Society. The first, (Enterprise Agreements---Myth versus Reality In Queensland; Volume 8.2) was presented in my absence by my friend Keith Stenhouse in 1990. It was a precis of our experiences in actually setting up enterprise agreements in the field in 1989, under the then Queensland NPA government Enterprise Bargaining legislation.

The second paper, (Gaoled for Breaching the Award; Volume 14.3) was delivered in 1993 in conjunction with Barry Hammonds. It was about our adventures out west when we took on the AWU and, (I'm sad but not surprised to say) the United Graziers Association to introduce subcontract systems into shearing sheds. Although we clearly won the moral argument hands down, and union membership and influence around the Charleville area in particular has plummeted, as yet no-one has bothered to do what the whole purpose of the exercise was about, and that was to introduce new technologies to what is simply a 150-year-old inefficient factory process. But at least one doesn't have to ask Bill Ludwig for permission to do anything any more, though I would have thought someone by now would have figured out conveyor belts can be pretty handy to move stuff from one place to another rather than have people walking backwards and forwards all day carrying stuff. It'll eventually happen I suppose.

Agency subcontracting systems had been around since the year dot, used by firms such as Skilled Engineering, Kirby's et al, although the legal test of this widely used concept was actually made by a building industry personnel agency called Troubleshooters Available who, in 1989, took the building unions all the way to the High Court with NFF funding. (See The Troubleshooters Case, Vol 12.6 of the proceedings of the HR Nicholls Society).

Hundreds of personnel agencies around the country now supply subcontractors as opposed to employees. One of these agencies, John Reddy's Labour Hire Australia, operating out of Caloundra and Brisbane, later became part of the reform mechanism of the Sunshine Coast building industry. As you will see by what we achieved, this reform mechanism could be fairly easily adapted as a template for reform of the wharves. There is certainly no excuse any more for anybody reading this, to then fail to achieve identical results on any building sites in the land. And all without new legislation.

Whilst in no way advocating that the existing outrageous industrial laws in the building game be retained, the reality is that effective and complete reform can be, and has been achieved, within the existing disgraceful framework. Perhaps more to the point, I don't believe any form of legislation will really help much in the building industry. The existing problem has little to do with the law. It is currently observed only in the breach, and there is little reason to believe any new legislation or industrial law would be treated any differently. Effective reform will most likely be achieved in a manner similar to the Sunshine Coast exercise I have set out. The fundamental purpose of this paper is to simply supply a template that can be followed by others elsewhere to achieve similar results.

When we started in the building game, about all we knew was that it was believed impossible to work in the building industry (the commercial side anyway) without a union ticket. As a result we had made the decision not to get on the sticky paper and compromise our principles with respect to the Right of Association. We believed and still do that that should always be the sole prerogative of no-one other than the worker.

The importance of moral argument had been well established in our foray into subcontract shearing. The AWU were extremely frustrated to find that every time they tried to paint Hammonds and I as evil, exploitative, silver-tailers trying to manipulate workers, they would hear on radio or see on tv one of our agency subcontract workers slipping it into them and telling all and sundry that was how they wanted to work. Actor/directors rarely get it right, so we learned it was usually more effective to stay in the background if possible.

Anyway, relative fame or infamy from the shearing exercise generated some enquiry from the building industry. A friend of mine, the local chairman of the Master Builders Association, Terry Welch, was having enormous problems with the BLF in particular, and finding the best advice he could get from the QMBA was "try not to upset them". He convened a meeting of a number of the larger builders on the coast (about half a dozen) and invited the QMBA's Chief Industrial Officer up to discuss what could be done about the growing pernicious and disruptive union influence on building. Two things of interest came out of that meeting:

1. The QMBA man said that, because of the Building Industry Agreement and the Crane Drivers Agreements, the unions were too strong. Since the QMBA was signatory to both agreements, we felt it was pointless dwelling on why they would enter into agreements (on behalf of their membership) that were clearly detrimental to their members' interests. When moral cowardice is trumpeted as a virtue called industrial reality' it's usually more productive to just move on.

2. One of the builders in attendance, Aldo Bevaqua, made it clear it was only since he had left the QMBA that he had been trouble-free. We discussed the basic principles he had developed. They were:

a) No-one got a contract to do any work or supply anything unless they gave him a personal undertaking not to go on strike, and/or would continue to work/supply irrespective of what union officials might say.

b) It would never be a site condition to be in the union. Unions were always free to recruit on site if they could, but Aldo never made it compulsory.

Terry Welch and I then decided to call a public meeting to explain to those parties interested in the building industry how they could deal with recalcitrant unions. We wanted to run the flag up the pole to see how many would salute. We expected about 50 to turn up. 300-400 crammed into the local pub to hear what we had to say. It was obvious we had struck a nerve.

We certainly had with the Brisbane office of the Master Builders Association who were most disapproving of their local area chairman spreading heresies about actually getting rid of the pernicious influence of unwarranted building unions.

The Williams assault

On 21 May 1993, at about 10.30 am, an agency subcontractor, Pip Williams, and his principal bricklayer, Brian Elliot, burst into our office. Poor Pip was looking the worse for wear, having just had his face rearranged by a BLF official named John Edwards.

Image 1: BLF union officials Terry Tye and John Edwards walking onto the site where Pip Williams was assaulted.

We sent them both to the police station to lodge a report, and I went to the building site hoping to get witnesses. Amazingly, the builders, Don Heath and Rob Sauverain, had not only taken some photos but also actually taped the whole incident. After a particularly nasty visit by union officials the week prior, Heath's solicitor had advised him to get a mini tape recorder and record them if they ever returned. Unlike the 99 out of 100 other builders who wouldn't bother, Heath actually did.

We guessed, correctly as it turned out, the police probably would not want to know. So it was important to immediately get witness statements in affidavit form. Heath, Sauverain and Brian Elliot showed remarkable courage by offering to testify. We also had the photos developed and called the media.

Image 2: Pip Williams about one or two minutes after he was assaulted.

The local TV did a story, and the newspaper ran the story on the front page.

Image 3.

One of the agency clients, a formwork contractor named Ron Jenkins, decided we should beat these bastards at their own game. Ron, who had had more trouble than he could poke a stick at with the unions in the past, offered to help, although he wasn't involved on that particular site. He made up some posters and did night-time runs to plaster them all over building sites. Everyone was talking about the "phantom poster put-upper" and most importantly, which was what we wanted, laughing at the hapless union officials who were the brunt of fairly childish calumny. But hey! It worked. If there is a lesson here, it's simply that credibility is best destroyed by jest.

Image 4: Graeme Haycroft and Ron Jenkins socialising at a fundraising. [No we don't own any race horses]

The Roger Winton building site dispute

In 1993, commercial building of the high-rise variety was in a sizeable slump and building unions were involved in a push to unionise the middle ground small unit blocks, 3-storey walk-ups, which were most often built by the house builders traditionally not subject to union activity. The house building sector is world competitive, and almost entirely performed by subcontractors not employees. The union activities on the seemingly fertile Sunshine Coast had been severely blunted by the publicity from the Pip Williams bashing and the Ron Jenkins' poster campaign, and the workers were palpably angry at the union overstepping the mark. So the unions refocussed their attention on Brisbane.

They picked on a 3-storey walk-up in Petrie Terrace, being built by a builder of excellent repute, Roger Winton, under the housing provisions of his builder's registration. Atypical of the commercial sector but typical of the housing sector, all the workers on his site, with the exception of an apprentice, were subcontractors. The unions decided to make an example of him, claiming his site was a commercial project and therefore their territory. They simply wanted to force union membership and registration in the union BUSS super fund on everyone, including subcontractors on the site. This was in return for industrial peace (absolutely no different from the Mafia). The strategy was simple. Get Winton to wimp out and make union membership compulsory on the site, then every other 3-storey walk-up would be union territory.

In summary, this is what happened:

1. The builder received a notice, setting out the terms of resolution of the dispute. This of course was the first anybody had heard of a dispute. (See appendices 5 & 6.)
Winton did what the union didn't expect him to do. He asked his subbies if they wanted to join the union. They said no. So Winton, delightfully naive, told the unions he wouldn't be able to comply because his workers weren't interested.
2. The union organisers threatened the scaffolding contract company with trouble on their other sites if they didn't stop work on the Winton site. This was a typical action that nobody ever seemed to question. The scaffolders just walked off. It was an everyday occurrence.
3. The removal of the scaffolders meant the site was left unsafe. The W H & S officer obliged with numerous unsafe' orders.
4. We were asked by the HIA to help, and offered to supply some licensed scaffolders who would work in spite of the ban. I arrived, with three very nervous young scaffolder blokes, and was confronted by about 10 union officials. They made it clear that, if our scaffolders worked on that site, they would never work again. But if they didn't work on that site, the union would get them work. Amazingly these blokes fell for that spiel and wouldn't work. Round 1 to the unions.
5. The next day we got another bloke, with a bit more iron, and lined up a Health & Safety Consultant to supervise the work. We had briefed the media and the police that there could be trouble, and when it happened we called them. But when Channel 9 arrived, the union officials went quiet. So no confrontation, no pictures, no news. The police refused to act to remove the trespassing officials, because they claimed it was an industrial dispute, and the Health & Safety Consultant was warned he'd never get a Civil & Civic site if he didn't leave immediately. He left. Round 2 to the unions. I had made the bad mistake of not personally being there.
6. On the Monday, Roger Winton and I approached Warwick Temby of the HIA and asked the HIA to meet civil legal injunction costs if needed. Sections 45 D&E were still around and were a real threat to the unions, if used the right way. Temby thought the issue was crucial and offered to back Winton all the way without equivocation.


Image 5: First page of the letter of demand from the unions on Roger Winton.

Image 6: Second page of that letter.


7. Winton and his supervisor, Lloyd Reynolds, met with the union officials on Wednesday. Unions love dealing with intermediaries; they are most uncomfortable with principals. Accordingly, I briefed Winton and Reynolds and they went in alone and covered three points.
a) They were not ever going to coerce the subcontractors to join the union. There would be no compromise.
b) They had unqualified HIA support for legal expenses, if needed. Showed they were serious.
c) They challenged the union officials to talk to the subcontractors themselves, on site. Obviously believing their own propaganda, the union officials agreed. Big mistake as it turned out. Round 3 a draw. (The site was still closed, but there was light at the end of the tunnel.)


8. We made up a Workers Choice' sign to gee-up the workers, and on Thursday took it to the site. They all loved it. The Sunday Mail took a photo and had the story ready for Sunday. (See Image 7.)
We were advised a number of Winton's regular subbies were on another site at Taigum, so I went to stir up attendance for Friday's meeting. About 30 or 40 workers stopped to hear what I had to say and all agreed to arrive at 7 am on the Petrie Terrace site, not only to support Roger but to make sure the subbies could work on the site in spite of the union officials. These boys were real angry by the time I left them.
9. At six o'clock on Friday morning, I arrived to brief a core group of subbies and supplied them with 20 or 30 placards (we'd painted them the night before). "Down with the BLF", "We want to work", "Norm Gallagher is a fairy", etc, in case the union tried to stop work. I was keen to have good pictures for the TV cameras, if needed.
I disappeared from the site, and the union officials duly arrived to run a 20-minute tirade against the HIA. (See appendices 8, 9, 10 and 11.)
One of the subbies then moved a motion to "let's stop listening to this crap and get back to work". The union officials walked away bewildered and the subbies simply started work. Round 4, and the match, to the workers.


I wrote a complete report for the HIA with certain recommendations for future reference and action.

It's instructive to pause here and consolidate what we had learned.

What is it that underpins union power in the building industry? It has nothing to do with affection, ideology or principle. It is simply an applied form of criminal coercion. This is why changed industrial relations legislation won't help much in the building game. Although the existing law is all stacked in their favour, they simply ignore it anyway. Any new legislation would be ignored as well. You have to play them at their own game to win.

Image 7: The "workers choice" sign put up onto the site and photographed for "Sunday Mail" story.

Appendices 8 and 9: The first two union handouts on the Winton site.


Appendices 10 and 11: The other handouts from the union which the subcontractors really enjoyed.


Here are the elements

It is their perceived power to be able to:


a) Prevent individual workers from gaining work in the industry ("If you take that bloke on, we'll black' the site"). Norm Gallagher developed this technique to an art form. Dozens of workers who had upset him were simply hounded right out of the industry, and he made sure everyone knew he'd done it.
b) Cause financial loss to builders and subcontractors by stopping supplies of critical components: scaffolding, cranes, concrete. The threat of being black-listed by the unions was generally enough to induce suppliers to breach their contracts. The scaffolding contractor and the Health & Safety Consultants on the Winton site preferred to walk away rather than be black-banned from other union sites. There was no penalty on them if they breached their contracts.
C) Prevent builders and subcontractors from using certain suppliers. The threat of "We'll stop you from supplying to Civil and Civic sites" always seemed to work, although I doubt whether anyone ever bothered to ask Civil and Civic whether they would ban anyone or any supplier just because the unions said so.
We believed if that cycle could be broken, as we'd done on the Winton site, reform would be possible in spite of what the industry participants believed.
Breaking the Cycle


It is here that the illuminating insight of D R Russell QC must be acknowledged. Russell showed us that the standard contracts in use in the building industry tended to absolve subcontractors and suppliers from complying with the terms of their contract if their work was interrupted by Acts of God and industrial disputation. (See Image 12.)

So the scaffolder who walked off the Winton site suffered no penalty. Yet the blame' for the stoppage was aimed squarely at the other recalcitrant subbies who would not join the union.

Russell drafted some amendments as an addendum to the standard HIA contract, which reversed that situation. Industrial disputes are not Acts of God, as much as Bill Kelty would like to think they are, and any subcontractor on a site who now doesn't perform to this contract is liable for any consequent losses his ill-advised actions lead to. (See Image 13.)

Image 12: Standard QMBA contract wording which tends to let defaulting contractors off the hook. [See clause 2]

Image 13: Standard Queensland HIA contract wording which incorporates the Russell amendments [see clause 10]

It was certainly a new concept in the building industry for anyone to be held responsible for their own actions. If that form of contract had been in place on Roger Winton's site then the scaffolder who walked off would have been responsible for all the losses occasioned by his action. Subsequent experience has proven no-one leaves if they actually believe they will get the bill for the losses caused by such action.

A supply contract was developed which, along with the Russell amendments to the HIA standard contract, has now become standard Queensland HIA documentation. All HIA members were encouraged to only deal with suppliers willing to enter into supply contracts' that made the suppliers liable for liquidated damages in the event of non-supply for industrial relations reasons. In reality, these onerous provisions were actually welcomed by suppliers because it gave them the perfect excuse to supply'. ("I'm right behind you union blokes and I'd love to stop the concrete, brother, but I'm locked into this contract I can't get out of".)

A secondary campaign was started, to identify and notify HIA members about those suppliers who were unreliable'. The builder black-list. Of course this list doesn't really exist, just as the union black-list never really existed.

The police

After the Winton dispute, where the police failed to act against clearly criminal actions of trespass' and threats', my report to the HIA suggested that the police, at Commissioners level, be briefed by the HIA lawyers about a code of practice to eject illegally trespassing union officials. Subsequent actions on the Sunshine Coast proved the importance of this, because the police became actively involved to prevent illegal union actions.

Injunctions against union harassment

At the time of the Winton dispute, Sections 45 D&E of the Trade Practices Act were available, but union officials had largely learned to avoid their impact. Without video cameras actually recording threats and actions, it was very difficult to make anything stick. But these sections weren't a bad tool to use as a threat against them and it was better than having nothing at all.

Summary of Breaking the Cycle

It is most important to understand that building union officials collectively haven't got an ideological bone in their bodies. The entire union member recruiting exercise is simply commercial. By threat and coercion, they bully builders into forcing workers to pay the builders' protection money' (i.e. the builders make it a contractual condition with the subcontractors that all personnel are to be members of the union, have contributions made to the BUSS super fund, and usually also the BIRT redundancy trust, so the builders, not the workers who have to pay, can have industrial peace). The workers are never asked. Even worse, any worker who bucks the system will be blacked from that site and all future sites. On the Winton site, when the union officials were haranguing the workers at the Friday morning meeting they didn't ever bother to ask the workers to actually join.

The key to success was to set up sites in such a way that they couldn't be closed down by the unions. Once the unions realised there was going to be no commercial joy (memberships), then they would go elsewhere. In practice, this is precisely what happened.

Back to the Sunshine Coast

The Toomey site - a high-rise in Caloundra needing a tower crane. (See Image 14.)

Image 14: The completed Toomey site in Golden Beach [circa May 1996]

Early in 1994, developer Geoff Toomey decided that keeping union rules on his site was going to add 10-12% to his budgeted costs. (It wasn't the union membership that increased costs, it was the nonsense union rules of RDO's, penalty rates on weekends, 38-hour weeks etc.)

In conjunction with HIA rep, Nev Shields, who was one of the driving forces in this campaign, (his successor, Ray McCarthy, was equally committed) we worked through every potential major subcontractor and supplier to the site, making sure everyone would sign a HIA contract or HIA supply agreement. Those who wouldn't, simply didn't get the job.

The only real problem was the crane operator. Until recently, the only way to get a crane ticket was through the union. The building unions kept the list and allocated the work. The MBA helped the unions enormously by agreeing to the Crane Drivers Agreement, which virtually removed the right of the builder to change the crane driver if, for some reason, the crane driver wouldn't do his job. i.e. if a union official came on site and asked the driver to stop, irrespective of what the builder said the driver would always stop.

In practice, the Crane Drivers Agreement prevented the builder from sacking the driver under those circumstances. Any driver who didn't stop when told to by a union official was simply black-listed and couldn't work in future. This still happens today.

However if you look hard enough, you can always find someone willing to buck the system. We even initiated enquiry in New Zealand, but didn't need to pursue it because we found a driver and dogman. We also found a second driver and made sure the first driver knew he could be replaced at a moment's notice by the second driver.

Before the job started, we held meetings on the site and actually asked the workers if they wanted the site to be a union site or a free site. (About 80% of the site workers already had union tickets, needed for other sites.) The local newspaper was present at the vote and the workers voted unanimously for it to be a free site, not a compulsory union site. No-one had ever asked them before. We briefed them to not stop work unless their principal subcontractor or the builder asked them to. If union officials came onto the site they were not to stop work, irrespective of what they were told. It was precisely what the workers wanted to hear. They hated being pushed around by these morons. (See Image 15.)

A couple of weeks on, a car-load of union heavies stormed onto the site, yelling and carrying on, demanding that the site stop. Toomey rang me and I suggested he call the police if they were trespassing. When I arrived the police were already there and had ordered them off the site. The police were aware of the limitations of the industrial law re access, and in their view the officials were trespassing. No-one had stopped working. The crane driver had locked his door, switched off the two-way radio, and was working with the whistles. The local paper came down and ran a story about the union's unsuccessful attempt to close the site. (See Image 16.)

Meanwhile, back in the court room, about three months after the Pip Williams' assault, the local police had finally decided to charge John Edwards, the BLF official who had slugged him. The case was into its third sitting. (See Image 17.)

The final day of the court case was three days shy of a year from the assault. The BLF spent a fortune on a QC, who produced a supposed audio expert, a Robert Pandolini, who tried to establish that the tape recording of the assault made by builder, Don Heath, was in fact an elaborate studio mock-up. The court was asked to believe that in the time taken from the assault at 9 am, until 2 pm when the solicitor received it and had it transcribed, Don Heath and I had mocked up the whole thing in a recording studio. (See Image 18.)

Image 15: The Sunshine Coast Daily 7/4/94 where union officials had failed to close the Toomey site.

Image 16: Self evident news story.

Image 17: The essence of Edwards defense in the Sunshine Coast Daily 23/2/94.

Image 18.

Edwards' primary defence seemed to rest on the proposition that he only hit Williams once, in response to provocation (Williams had allegedly turned a hose on him), and not the half dozen to a dozen times the three witnesses saw him hit Williams. Edwards claimed if he had hit Williams more than once, Williams would never have got up. But because Williams had got up, he must have therefore only hit him once. The magistrate wasn't convinced, and found him guilty. Edwards, who had agreed to appear on Current Affair beforehand, pulled out at the last minute, after the guilty verdict was handed down.

Since I had the colour pictures of the assault, a copy of the tape, signs, work site witnesses, plus a plausible alternate story about the victory of the little guys against the bully boy unions, Current Affair did my version of it. The Australian did a story too. (See Image 19.)

John Edwards has not been seen on the Sunshine Coast since. And his partner, Terry Tye, now only does the area north of Maroochydore.

Image 19: The picture and story in the Australian 19/5/94.

The Bevaqua site (See Image 20.)

Image 20.

At the same time Toomey was doing his site, Aldo Bevaqua started his. As he was the initiator of our whole strategy, it was interesting to help him tighten up his procedures with the HIA contracts and supply agreements. Labour Hire Australia was engaged to supply the second crane driver. Interestingly Pip Williams was also on this site, working with the brick laying contractor Brian Elliott. (The court case had just recently ended.) When the union heavies inevitably arrived, Aldo patiently pointed out that as Pip was on the site it wouldn't look good to have the BLF there as well. They left, and the site was virtually trouble free until its completion.

The Stanley site (See Image 21.)

Image 21.

However the Stanley site was not so smooth.

Everyone was properly signed up, including the scaffolders. The first attack came when the scaffold suppliers rang to say they couldn't supply any more scaffolding. The job was at a crucial stage where failure to secure more scaffolding would have meant the job had to close. But unbeknown to the scaffold company head office, their field rep had signed the supply contract and they were locked in. Believe me, the scaffold company didn't like it when the HIA solicitors pointed out to them they would perform to their contract of supply or be sent a bill for liquidated damages.

A rather devious deal was struck to let them off the hook a bit so they could lie to the unions about what had really happened. It involved the builder having to pick up the scaffolding rather than have it delivered. (Don't worry, a substantial chunk was deducted from the contract price for that little inconvenience.)

With Workplace Health and Safety restrictions applying unless the scaffolding could be on site by a certain day the next week, the unions - like vultures gathering around a dying lamb - announced they would be there at 7 am on the day to help out with what they thought were to be the new site work arrangements. At exactly 6.55 am Ron Jenkins, the formwork contractor, arrived with a semi-trailer load of scaffolding. The look on the faces of the union officials reminded me of a child being denied an ice-cream.

That same day, the scaffold erection contractor (not the supplier), who had also signed a HIA contract, rang to explain he had been advised not to finish the work, otherwise he would be threatened with a black-ban on another major developer's site. He honestly believed that was an acceptable excuse and was quite amazed to find that "Oh sorry" was no longer sufficient compensation for the loss his action, or more correctly inaction was likely to cost the builder. When it was pointed out to him he would be getting the bill for the liquidated damages for the site, he realised we meant business.

The unions also tried to stop the crane by threatening the crane hire company. The developer, who had a series of developments lined up, decided the easiest solution was simply to purchase his own crane. The job got done and came in under budget.

There have been innumerable smaller jobs where the HIA sign or the Ron Jenkins formwork banner goes up and that's the end of it. (See appendices 22 and 23.)

Image 22: A "FREE" site in Noosa where the workers were allowed to decide themselves about union membership

There are currently three major projects under way, one almost complete, where the unions have realised they are simply commercial, no-go zones. (See appendices 24 and 25.)

This has nothing to do with ideology. If the unions are on the site, then the Labour Hire Australia subbies are not. It's a case of them or us. Just commercial reality. But unlike the commercial reality of the Master Builders Association, our commercial reality is supported by the moral argument of defence of the Right of Association of the workers. (See Image 26.)

If there is one factor that is significant, it's the now general belief on the Sunshine Coast that unions can be beaten, and high-rise sites can work just like housing sites; with no employees, only subcontractors. This certainly was not the case two years ago. That is the cultural change.

Union power was based entirely upon their apparent invincibility. When it became widely known that building union officials, who simply acted as they liked with absolute impunity, could be prosecuted, workers started to defy and ignore their demands. Even worse for the unions, they began to laugh at them.

When principal subcontractors actually believe the entire site can be free of compulsory unionism and the builder won't force them all to comply with the pernicious union work practices, then quotes will start to come in substantially cheaper. This is now happening. On the Sunshine Coast you can reliably build a high-rise probably 15% cheaper than anywhere else in the country where unions dominate.

Workers, who once looked to unions to agitate for overtime and penalty rate work for the last weeks of the job, now realise regular 45-50 hour weeks throughout the whole of the job actually generate more money. And with building now becoming less expensive, there will always be another job for them. Most importantly, no bastard orders them around any more. And don't they love it! (See Image 27.)

The building industry still has many problems. Security of payments, inane and largely inappropriate Workplace Health & Safety regulations, excessive workers compensation insurance costs, bureaucratic and expensive licensing schemes, a Building Services Authority that does nothing but cost money to justify itself, are but a few.

However, the solutions to industrial relations problems, even without workable Sections 45 D&E type provisions, are entirely up to the builders themselves.

If builders choose not to have industrial problems, and if they follow our system, they simply won't have them.

If however they don't want to follow our system, then they will have a continuation of the expensive, exploitative shambles that is now the union-run commercial building industry.

It's all a matter of choice. (See Image 28.)

Image 23: Another "FREE" site in Caloundra that was trouble free.

Image 24: The Tropani site nearly completed in Maroochydore[circa May 1996]

Image 25: The site adjacent to the Reef Hotel in Noosa[circa May 1996]

Image 26: The Matt Leake site in Hastings St Noosa. The unions later tried to have the crane removed.

Image 27: The same irreverent discussing the relevance of Workplace Health & Safety which requires them to wear hard hats even though nothing is above them that can fall.

Image 28: John Reddy[with crutches] and some of the Labour Hire Australia crew.[circa May 1996]



1. BLF union officials Terry Tye and John Edwards walking onto the site where Pip Williams was assaulted.

2. Pip Williams about 30 seconds after the assault.

3. The front page of the Sunshine Coast Daily the following day.

4. Graeme Haycroft and Ron Jenkins socialising at a fund-raiser. (No, we don't own a race horse.)

5. First page of the letter of demand from the unions on Roger Winton.

6. Second page of that letter.

7. The Workers Choice' sign put up on the Winton site.

8. First handout from union to subcontractors on Winton site.

9. Second handout from union to subcontractors on Winton site.

10. Third handout from union to subcontractors on Winton site.

11. Fourth handout from union to subcontractors on Winton site.

12. Standard QMBA contract wording which tends to let defaulting subcontractors off the hook (see clause 2).

13. Standard Queensland HIA contract wording which incorporates the Russell amendments, (see clause 10).

14. The completed Toomey site in Golden Beach Caloundra (circa May, 1996).

15. Sunshine Coast Daily 7/4/94 where union officials had failed to close the Toomey site.

16. Headline Union organiser faces court on assault charge'.

17. The essence of Edwards defence in the Sunshine Coast Daily 23/2/94.

18. Edwards found guilty.

19. The picture and story in the Australian 19/5/94.

20. The Bevaqua site in the centre of Caloundra (circa May, 1996).

21. The Stanley site in Canberra Terrace Caloundra (circa May, 1996).

22. Another union-free site in Noosa (circa May, 1996).

23. A trouble-free site in Caloundra (circa May, 1996).

24. The Tropani site nearly completed in Maroochydore (circa May, 1996).

25. The site adjacent to the Reef Hotel in Noosa (circa May, 1996).

26. Labour Hire Australia subbies on a hi-rise development in Hastings Street, Noosa (circa May, 1996).

27. The same irreverent bunch demonstrating their cheerful non-compliance with workplace safety regulations which require them to wear helmets even when there is nothing above them.

28. John Reddy (with the crutches), Ben Haycroft, Val Downes and Matthew Haycroft outside the Labour Hire Australia offices in Caloundra (circa May, 1996).