More Parliamentary Hansard records from the Western Australian Parliament on Bruce Wilson
This is Joe Isherwood - a fine looking cut of a bloke at 70 in this recent photo. I reckon he could still hold his own with a two-bob hoodlum like Wilson.
Richard Court refers to Joe Isherwood in this brief exchange from the WA Parliament's Estimates Committee hearing on mining held 17 October, 1991. Court gets to the core of the Wilson/Kambalda issue and Wilson's preparedness to be so clearly thuggish, selfish and irresponsible.
Mr COURT: .....I raise the matter because it has been debated for some time. Agreement was almost reached in the case of Western Mining Corporation. At that time the Australian Workers Union, under Mr Isherwood, was moving to accept those changes.
Mr GORDON HILL: That is right.
Mr COURT: This issue reflects the problem we have in this State at present - and this is a criticism of the Government. Although these changes are believed to be in the best interests of all of the people involved in the industry, the matter has become bogged down in an internal Australian Labor Party fight over whether the changes should be made. Mr Bruce Wilson is heading a campaign opposing the changes. It is the minister's responsibility to change these regulations if they need to be changed. The ALP can by all means have internal fights, but it is delaying a company's carrying out programs.
At the same Estimates Committee hearing the Dawesville arrangements were reiterated - that is the government (as at 17 October 1991) was planning to let tenders and choose a contractor through a competitive process. A reliable source tells me that during the time of the Kambalda ructions, Wilson was lobbying Deputy Premier Ian Taylor to appoint Wannunup/Thiess directly to the Dawesville project - the timing and Wilson's involvement in meetings with Mr Taylor during the period tend to support my informant's advice. It's an atrocious thought, but the possibility remains that all that pain to the workers, the state and Western Mining in the Kambalda dispute might have been occassioned to provide leverage for Wilson to get his way in the Dawesville contract.
I've spoken with 3 miners with good memories of what happened in Kambalda - they all say the same thing. There was a deal to get on with work and Wilson came in and put the kybosh on it. He broke his word, reneged on deals that had been struck and went out of his way to sabotage any agreement with Western Mining. This was at a time when WA had almost 12% unemployment. The miners I've spoken with all agreed that work practices had to change - when mining machinery tied up millions of dollars in capital it made no sense to have the machines sit idle while men worked the hours that suited pick and shovel operations. The resistance to a more contemporary shift roster came from Wilson.
A Royal Commission will find out what went on behind the scenes to cause the WA Labor Government to award the Dawesville Channel project directly to Wannunup/Thiess without competitive tender and the role that Wilson played.
But pending the Royal Commission, one thing is crystal clear - and that is the power that an AWU officer like a branch secretary wields in the Labor party system of bloc votes. The Hansard in WA during this time is replete with references to the AWU's role at Labor Party congress, preselections, policy decisions and the like. It's clear that with the backing of Bill Ludwig Wilson was becoming used to getting his way.
When Frederick Reibeling gave his maiden speech to the WA Parliament on gaining the Pilbara seat of Ashburton in an early 1992 by-election, the first non-family figure he thanked was - you guessed it, the date was 28 April, 1992:
I could-not have achieved a decisive victory in Ashburron without the support of
all sectors of the Labor Movement. Bruce Wilson, Glen Ivory, Mick Dayes and Henry
Rozrnmianic of the Australian Workers Union, Wally Pritchard, Tony Papaconstuntinos and
Erol May of the Seamens Union of Australia, and Martin Pritchard and Mark Bishop of the
Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union were all of invaluable assistance throughout
the campaign. My local Australian Labor Party branch president, Jon Ford, showed true
leadership and dedication to winning the seat for Labor, and his wife Taryn gave magnificent
support. Other members of the local community whom I would like to acknowledge particularly, and nor all of them are Labor Party members, include Kevin Richards, Patrick
Bourke, Cathie Wyllie, Wendy Whitchurcb, Gina Pritchard and Noel Nielsen. In
Pannawonica Steve and Clane Kelly always provided a weary candidate with refreshment and
were excellent hosts to the Premier and her guests at their tavern, while in Onslow Mike and
Jessy Callaghan's help was indispensable.
I thank all the Australian Labor Party members of Parliament, both Federal and State, who
assisted in many ways. My thanks must especially go to the Australian Labor Party members
of Parliament with whom I share the privilege of representing the Ashburton area. Their
support was magnificent, especially the efforts of Hon Tom Stephens and Hon Mark Nevill.
Also, if my support in Ashburton ever reaches the level enjoyed by my colleague, the Federal
member for Kalgoorlie, Orsemne Campbell, I will be very happy. I followed his campaigning
precepts and we doorknocked Pannawonica in suits and ties when it was 48 degrees in the
shade. I am pleased to be able to inform the House that he took off his coat before I took off
mine. As well, I particularly thank Jerry Maher of Mahter Durack Media for his assistance in
getting my message across through the media. I know his skills and competence are
recognised on both sides of this House and I am indebted to him for his contribution on this
occasion. I will have more to say about the media later. Finally, the direction and back up given to me by Chris Evans, the State Secretary of the Australian Labor Party, Lois
Anderson, the Assistant State Secretary, and my campaign director once more demonstrated
the professionalism and unity of the Labor Party at a time when the so-called experts were
writing us off.
Wilson is mentioned in the parliament in WA twice in the next month:
On 24 November 1992, Wilson was again mentioned in the WA parliament as the opposition enquired about the BCITF. Wilson's continued presence on the board was interesting given that he was by then formally the Victorian Branch Secretary of the AWU.
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FUND - BOARD MEMBERS
Building and Construction Industry Training Fund - Industries' Concerns; Revenue and
1511. Mr KIERATH to the Minister representing the Minister for Training:
(1) (a) Who are the members of the building and construction industry fund
(b) what organisations do they represent?
(2) Is there a high level of dissatisfaction in the mining, petroleum and farming
industries with the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund which
consider the levy as an unreasonable tax on development?
(3) (a) How much has the BCITF raised since inception;
(b) what revenue is projected for the 1992-93 financial year?
(4) (a) How much has been expended on training programs by the BCITF to
(b) what additional expenditure on training programs is planned, or has
been committed by the BCITF;
(c) what surplus/deficit is expected by the end of the 1992-93 financial
(5) Has all training expenditure been approved by all members of the BCITF
(6) Can the Mtinister give an assurance that no funds raised by the BCIT have
been expended on refurbishing premises owned, or leased, by the unions
(7) Is a review of the BCITF legislation, with a view to excluding mining,
petroleum and farming from the am bit of the levy, being undertaken?
(8) (a) Who is to conduct the review;
(b) what are its terms of reference?
Dr GALLOP replied:
The Minister for Training has provided the following reply-
(1) Mr James Snooks, Chair
Mr Harvey McLeod, Director, Master Builders Association
Mr Kevin Reynolds, Secretary, Builders Labourers Federation
Mr John Dastlik, Chief Executive, Housing Industry Association (WA
Mr Tony Heelan, Manager, Industrial Relations, Chamnber of
Commerce and Industry
Mr Trevor Dobson, Manager, Industrial Relations, Australian
Federation of Construction Contractors
Mr Neil Flynn, Acting Secretary, Construction, Mining and Energy
Mr Bruce Wilson, Branch Secretary, Australian Workers Union
Mr Jock Ferguson, Assistant State Secretary, Amalgamated Metal
Mr Steven Tweedie, Director Policy, WA Municipal Association,.
Mr Bernie. Ryan, Department of Employment, Vocational Education
and Training Ms Ann-Marie Heine, Manager, Training and Development Services,
(2) The mining, petroleum and farming industries have indicated their
concerns about the levy.
To 31 October 1992, the BCITF has collected $6 917 494.
$1 718 631.
$5 378 000.
Approximately $900 000.
(7) The member is referred to the answer to (8)(b) of this question.
(8) (a) Mr John Carrigg of the Western Australia Industrial Relations.
(b) (i) To determine the current and historical level of
investment by the petroleum, mining, and agricultural industries into the training of employees undertaking the
building and construction work as defined in the
Building and Construction Training Fund Act 1990,
detailing Government subsidies and other assistance
(ii) To determine to what extent the petroleum, mining and
agricultural industries employ, or utilise through
contractual arrangements, labour trained by other
sections of the building and construction industry as
defined by the Act.
(iii) To determine whether the building and construction
work undertaken by the petroleum, mining and
agricultural industries should be subject to the BCITF