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Not cricket

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Forget about Sir John Egan rethinking our construction industry. Australian prime minister John Howard has called for a royal commission to look into a 'culture of intimidation that has become entrenched in this industry'. He certainly has something to worry about. In the past four years, construction has produced more than half of all the complaints about breach of freedom of association principles - intimidation, collusion and coercion to you and me. Initially, construction industry bodies welcomed the initiative, but now they are getting twitchy about just how far-ranging it will be.

Companies are concerned about the working days that will be lost when key staff are called to give evidence, and there are discussions about whether or not witnesses should have legal representation. Expect the lawyers to do as well as ever.

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