9 February 2006

Kate Lundy names two more restaurants exploiting foreign workers

| johnboy
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In an MPI debate this afternoon in the Senate, Kate Lundy has named another two Canberra Restaurants (in additition to the Holy Grail) accused of exploiting foreign workers.

The other two establishments involved in the specific complaints brought to my attention are Zeffirelli’s pizza restaurant of Belconnen and Dickson and the Milk and Honey restaurant in Civic.

UPDATE: The ABC has the story, as does the Canberra Times.

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I don’t reckon the employers have done too much wrong. I think Stateline last night had a piece on this, and the workers were getting airfares/accom etc, all of which adds up and which the average aussie worker won’t get for the same pay.

The trouble is, as has been said before, that people will instantly assume the businesses are guilty and boycott them, which will result in more workers getting the chop.

Jane Hansard10:16 pm 10 Feb 06

Milk and Honey is awful anyway. I’ve had the oiliest breakfast ever there – much oilier than a greasy spoon plateful. Perhaps that was the underpaid chef getting his own back. Oh, and surly, rude service, with quite a dose of “We’re ignoring you cuz we can”. Can’t boycott it because doing that already – tried it three times and took refuge at Essen. Essen ain’t much chop, so that’s saying something!

Besides, just how much do these immigrants think a pizza jockey is meant to earn ?

Sounds like $31k is a pretty 1/2 decent wage for somebody in the pizza industry, traditionally reserved as a job for impoverished university students or high school dropouts.

Infact, $31k according to my certified agreement is an APS 1, perhaps they’d like to shuffle mail instead ?

Must go and have a Zeff’s pizza. The sweat of exploited immigrant workers makes them so much tastier!

Exactly those businesses are innocent until proven guilty

I went to Zeff’s in Belco for lunch today. It was very nice…..

Where Dick Smith’s used to be, beside Cash Converters.

I’m thinking of heading to zefferelli’s tonight for a slave-labour pizza, although where is the place in Belconnen ?

“Wrong – There is a proper process by which the process can be pursued. And [sic] whether or not there is a case to answer will be determined by that process.”
True – and so what’s the big deal if an elected representative lets everyone know about it? The way I read it, all Lundy is doing is saying that a number of people have made allegations about problems at a number of businesses, for the record and transparency these businesses are X, Y and Z and someone’s looking into it.
Surely you’re not trying to suggest that the wider community/electorate would jump to ill-informed conclusions about those businesses in a way that could harm their profit margins – even if there was no substantive problem? Give me a break, next you’ll be saying that governments are elected on personality rather than policy platform …

Kerces said: “ Senator Lundy is not being spineless, she was using the tools available to her to get a job done that possibly no one else could for fear of being sued.

Wrong – There is a proper process by which the process can be pursued. And whether or not there is a case to answer will be determined by that process.

Lundy remains simply wants her 15 seconds of media fame by using the Chamber inapparopriately… I will repeat BEFORE it has been determined whether or not there is a case to answer by the businesses involved.

Kingmaker, jr et al — have another read of my report, especially this line:

In a press conference in the Senate Courtyard…

Kate Lundy DID name the restaurants involved outside of the chamber.

Also, I will say again that asking politicians to use their parliamentary privilege to air defamatory information is a common media tactic and one which I have been told about several times in the course of my studies.

Senator Lundy is not being spineless, she was using the tools available to her to get a job done that possibly no one else could for fear of being sued.

I suspect you’re right simto – my recollection of the case is hazy at best.

If truth is now a defence then I suspect that Lundy may well be safe to repeat her words outside of the chamber – given that what she really said was along the lines of ‘ these establishments are being investigated for expoliting migrant workers, and I’ve met with them and they told me they were being exploited and so on – all kind of factual really – seeing as the the old test based on ‘public interest’ has been despensed with.

Channel 7 wasn’t running a story that he was gay (Marsden’s quite prepared to say he’s gay to practically anynoe), they were running a story that he’s a paedophile. They are two fairly different things, people!

There has been a change, and truth is now a defence


“If Lundy has balls and evidence, she would repeat the claims outside the Chamber and subject herself to the defamation laws.”
Unfortunately, unless things have changed in the way defamation law works – having the ‘evidence’ wont necessarily do you any good. It is not a defence against defamation to simply demonstrate that what you say is true – in fact the plaintiff can agree with everything you say and still sue you and win – I think that it was a case involving prominent Sydney barrister John Marsden and Channel 7 that set that precedent. If I recall correctly (but don’t hold me to it), Seven ran a story about Marsden being gay – he sued them and won despite being well known in Sydney circles as an ‘out’ homosexual and admitting it several times publicly during the proceedings.
I also fail to see how using a legitimate power as an elected official can somehow be interpreted as ‘abuse’ – the protected privilege offered by the Chamber is there for precisely these reasons – of course there’ll always be a long queue of shit-bags lining up to bleat on and on about how wrong it is to actually use that power – but that’s simply because they have an ideological or vested interest in keeping that sort of information away from the electorate.

ssorry ssanta, were you ssugesting sstamping feet as an alternative to sseeking wages owed? or were u just having a bit of a foot stamp yourself?

are these exploited workers on sponsored visas ie sponsored by the establishments allegedly exploiting them ?

if so, they cant just quit and move to another job in oz, they have to return home.

The local Chamber of Commerce is reporting that after an investigation by DEWR, claims against Zefferelli for under-award wages have proven to be almost entirely false – the error was with the union which was seeking to impose an incorrect award.

Will Senator Lundy apologise to the restaurants concerned if they are cleared of wrongdoing? Will it already be too late as she will have destroyed their names and reputation?

If Lundy has balls and evidence, she would repeat the claims outside the Chamber and subject herself to the defamation laws.

bit hard for the immigrant workers though ssanta, which is the issue.


If you are not happy with your job, may I suggest that you find a better one, like everyone other Aussie who cracks the shits after being screwed around. Perhaps rather than naming and shaming, other solutions ought be provided rather than stamping your foot like a petchalent child.

From your reporter in the House:

ACT Senator Kate Lundy has today “named and shamed” three Canberra restaurants who have been exploiting skilled migrant workers. She said this was the best chance of bringing justice to those who have been misused and will remind employers that they cannot get away with human rights abuse.

Dave Bibo of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, which is representing the three people in their claims to the Office of Workplace Services, said that three months after they approached the LHMU, the underpayment of wages and gross abuses continue.

Senator Lundy said some of the employers in question had contacted the union after initial publicity that she was going to name names.

In a press conference in the Senate Courtyard, Senator Lundy named both the Holy Grail and Zeffirelli as two of the three restaurants which has breached both human rights and the law in regard to their employees. She went on to say both these restaurants have shown goodwill and that she was optimistic the negotiations and discussions would continue.

“These people were brought here to fill a skills shortage that we have and the government has a responsibility to them to see the laws are adhered to,” she said. “This is a poor reflection on the way migrant workers are welcomed to Australia.”

When asked if she thought there was a danger in using her parliamentary privilege to name those involved before the Human Rights Commission report came out, Senator Lundy said she saw no danger.

“These three people are personally known to me and I have heard their stories,” she said.

“I have named and shamed these places to bring it to the public’s attnetion.”

She said it was up to people to make their own decision whether to boycott the Holy Grail, Zeffirelli’s and Milk and Honey, but that she certainly would not be rushing down to the politician’s haunt tonight for a drink.

Hmm, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of ‘harmless exploitation’ before. Interesting.

By the way, it wasn’t an abuse of parliamentary privilege. This is precisely the kind of situation for which the privilege system was set up.

Absent Diane4:01 pm 08 Feb 06

You don’t need to work hard to get a good job.. you just gotta be good in the brains…… but yes exploitation does have a funny side

It will be interesting to see if these organisations are actually charged with any offences… I thought we lived in a society where ones innocence was maintained until proven guilty.

Lundy simply proved herself to be both spineless and gutless by the way she just abused Parliamentary priviledge.

Well that might go some way to explaining how Zeffirelli’s can sell half-decent pizzas for the price that they do. It might also explain why they have iced the new restaurant in Kingston (where the Tang Dynasty used to be) – that was supposed to open in January but recently work on the refurbishment there has stopped and now even the Zeffirelli’s signs have been removed. Shame, really – I used to enjoy going to Zeff’s for pizza and beers, but the whole migrant worker exploitation thing kind of leaves a bad taste – so too speak.

Not that I have a problem with exploiting hospitality workers in general – I think they deserve a bit of harmless exploitation really – it’ll teach them for not trying hard enough at school and getting better marks so they could have a proper job.

She’s gutless for not naming these restaurants in the public arena.

I heard her giggling interview on 2CC this morning – it was weird….she was weird.

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