When South Australia's Premier Mike Rann created a new job for Robyn McLeod as Water Commissioner on $300K PA, everyone said Robyn got the job because of her 20 years of experience in the Water Industry, going back to 1988.
Robyn probably was a part-time water expert in 1988 after school finished for the day. Then when she joined Bruce Wilson as an AWU union rep in 1992, she must have had a second job in the water industry too, because her day job seemed to be in the industrial relations commission representing the interests of all sorts of workers - even those in the hop industry.
Maybe I'm too harsh. She probably got expert status telling the Industrial Relations Commission that she knew a lawyer who said Show Day really does exist and Melbourne Water workers should get it as a public holiday.
That must be it, Policy Advice on Public Holidays For Water Workers.
We also know that Robyn McLeod and Julia Gillard are best friends.
ROBYN MCLEOD, FRIEND: What you see with Julia is what you get. A very open, honest woman who is not hiding anything.
We know that Julia Gillard and potential Prime Minister Bruce Wilson were an item until she got terribly distressed and ended the relationship without ever finding out why he needed an incorporated association with the name AWU in it.
We know that Bruce drove a maroon Ford with number plates (WA) 8EE 222.
The maroon Ford with distinctive plates sometimes spent the night parked outside his fellow Thiess Company Director Robyn's home in Milton Street, Carnegie. Maybe when Julia was in Sydney with Ralph.
And we know the two directors got to attend board meetings together in Brisbane.
Bruce and Robyn and Julia from Slater and Gordon were on the side of the workers protecting them from threats. Like asbestos.
The Thiesss workers who actually knew something about water sadly weren't influential, like say the two union officials who were not only unionists, but Thiess company directors as well. Those ungrateful workers at Thiess went to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to put it on the record - they were not happy with the AWU and they wanted another union.
The company performs water and sewerage maintenance work for South Eastern Water (Victoria), a body which provides water and sewerage services to an area to the south-east of Melbourne. It has been doing this work for about two and a half years. The work was previously carried out by a public authority. The AWU has represented employees performing the work carried out by the company and previously carried out by the public authority. The terms and conditions of employment of the employees of the company are presently regulated by an agreement under Division 2 of Part VIB of the Actcertified on 28 August 1995 by Whelan C called the AWU/Thiess Services Pty Limited Victorian Maintenance and Construction Services Enterprise Agreement 1995-1997 (Print M4756).
I need say little about recent events. In August or September 1995 a number of the employees of the company approached the CFMEU and enquired whether it could represent the industrial interests of the company's employees. This approach apparently resulted from (1) dissatisfaction by some employees with the service provided by the AWU, in particular by two of its organisers, (2) concern by some employees arising from media reports about internal problems within the AWU and, possibly, (3) a long term dissatisfaction by some employees with the AWU.
Following this approach officials of the CFMEU visited company workplaces and conducted meetings of employees in September and October 1995. During this period a number of employees completed CFMEU application for membership forms and signed forms authorising the company to deduct union dues in favor of the CFMEU and cancelling authorities in favour of the AWU. There was an issue as to whether any employees had resigned from the AWU. The CFMEU sought to tender a bundle of documents purporting to be copies of resignations from the AWU. Over objection from the AWU, I allowed the tender. Mr Langmead (for the AWU) said the AWU had not received these purported resignations. (There was evidence from Mr Booth that the AWU had not received any resignations or purported resignations from employees of the company.) Mr Bukarica (for the CFMEU) said that he believed the documents were prepared by Mr Ross, an employee of the company. Mr Ross had earlier given evidence for the CFMEU but made no reference to these purported resignation forms. Mr Bukarica had not put these purported resignations to the AWU's witnesses.
But the Commission couldn't help. Unions work out who they will represent and the circumstances in which they will represent them. The commission's hands were tied (loosely, with velvet rope to the bedhead, for the role of the Commissioner can be a good career path for a former unionist).
If the same laws that apply to unions applied to the rest of the country, Coles and Wollies would have an enforcement body that would regulate where you can buy your bananas.
So the AWU got to keep the lucrative relationship with Thiess. Thiess got to keep the lucrative relationship with the Victorian Government. Bruce got to keep his redundancy. Julia got to keep her relationship with Robyn and vice versa.
And the workers got to keep the warm feeling that everyone meant it when they put on the serious face, gazed off as if analysing the purpose of thier life and said, just like Julia Gillard did for the ABC in 2006:
One of the things that has been a constant driver for me, one of the real reasons I got involved in politics, I got interested at, you know, got interested in politics at all is the sense of unfairness and lost opportunity….that inequality, you know, that it is, that sense of inequality even in a country as rich as this, that makes me say there is so much more for politics, and for those of us on the left of politics to do..................