Rudd wrote reference for anti-union business leader

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Rudd wrote reference for anti-union business leader

Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, has revealed he wrote a reference for current ACCI head, Peter Hendy, when he applied for the position with the employers' body.

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Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, has revealed he wrote a reference for current ACCI head, Peter Hendy, when he applied for the position with the employers' body.

Hendy is a hard-line anti-unionist and strong Liberal Party backer who was Chief of Staff to former Workplace Relations Minister, Peter Reith, when the Howard Government took on the maritime unions.

Hendy was in Reith's office when the stevedoring company Patrick sent ex-defence forces personnel to Dubai, to be trained as a replacement workforce for the dock workers in Sydney and Melbourne.

Savage dogs

The nation's TV screens were filled with pictures of savage guard dogs and security officers in balaclavas as the Maritime Union of Australia refused to leave the docks, and picketed the wharves. Prime Minister, John Howard, later made it clear the Government had fully backed the tactics used against the MUA.

Rudd made the revelation of his support for Hendy's job application in a radio interview with the ABC yesterday.

Asked about the pro-WorkChoices TV ad launched yesterday by major business groups, Rudd said 'Well, it's a free country and the business community's entirely free to do whatever it wishes. That's a question of which big businesses would be doing that.

No regrets at reference

'ACCI, as we know, its Executive Director is Peter Hendy, he was formerly a staffer of Peter Reith's. Peter's a Liberal Party supporter from way back and in fact I gave him a reference when he went off to ACCI for a job.'

Interviewer: 'Do you regret that?'

Rudd: 'No, I just think that Peter has not really worked out when to hand in his Liberal Party shingle.

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