King Of The Jailhouse

Posted: March 11, 2013 in Politics

Many of you will have seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption, I have several times and still think it is worthy of the praise it receives.

However, there is one apparent fan of this movie that has taken it all a bit too far, and his name is Barry O’Farrell.

Allow me to explain…

Those who are familiar with the films plot will remember that the prison warden ran a scam out of his office. The warden used the cheap labour he had available through his inmates to undercut local businesses for contract work. No business can compete with labour at such a low cost.

According to reports in the News Ltd media over the weekend, Barry O’Farrell is running a similar scheme.

Welcome to NSW Corrective Services Pty Ltd

Welcome to NSW Corrective Services Pty Ltd

The NSW Coalition government is allowing prisons to perform various services for companies such as becoming call centres, some IT services, and some service and repair work. Giving prisoners access to our details in many instances. 

This is work that would normally be carried out by small business, and provide employment, and a means for people to earn an income and raise a family in the area.

The Coalition are changing all that.

Barry O’Farrell has attacked small business once again by allowing these prisons to pay their inmates at a rate of $2 an hour. A legitimate small business would need to pay a worker approximately 10 times that rate. However those big business buddies of the Liberal Party are getting to squeeze out the struggling small businesses who put their faith in a Coalition government, and via this scheme are now accessing rates that resemble slave labour.

Despite rules prohibiting jails from competing unfairly with rival firms, Corrective Services Industries executive director Steve Thorpe thought he was doing the right thing as despite paying workers $2 an hour, they charged clients $9 an hour in order to be fair to other businesses. That’s nice of him…

Do you know a way a legitimate business can pay a worker $9 an hour? I don’t.

Then again, maybe this scheme will be good for some of those Liberal friendly ” white collar” criminals. They can now go to jail and still keep their job, although they may have a pay cut.

Anyway, I hope nobody finds out the hard way that their 6 year-old daughter has answered the phone when a paedophile calling from Barry’s jailhouse call centre has tried to call you to discuss insurance. 

A paedophile rang up and said what to your daughter?

A paedophile rang up and said what to your daughter?

I was reading this article whist watching Insiders on the ABC, the new Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor was being interviewed about 457 Visas and proposed changes to them.

Brendan O’Connor was explaining that there were changes that needed to be made to the conditions of these visas so that they would not be abused by employers in the future under a Coalition government.

O'Connor on Insiders

O’Connor on Insiders

These visas are designed for the purpose of skilled migration. The idea being that if there are skill shortages that employers can seek to fill those shortages from overseas where need be. One of those skill shortages is not someone with the ability to work happilly for $2 an hour.

The fear is that employers may attempt to use these visas to bring in cheap workers, or to save themselves of training Australian workers, by accessing workers that are trained overseas where it is cheaper. According to O’Connor the Coalition have already discussed this possibility with several business leaders.

Changes need to be made to protect Australian workers and to secure jobs and on-job training for Australian workers and permanent residents, as it should go without saying that Australian workers need should be put before those from overseas.

There was some criticism by those on the panel of Insiders that O’Connor was making the assumption that the Coalition would allow big business to abuse the visa’s to cut costs and access cheap labour. This was apparently an unfounded assumption and was written off by the panel, as you can’t judge a future government on what you think they might do.

Brendan O’Conner however seemed quite confident when he said Coalition were floating the idea with business already. O’Conner even cited and example where the Coalition goverment in Victoria had cut TAFE funding by a $300 million, while a former Victorian Premier is seeking a regional migration agreement for Geelong. That sounded pretty compelling to me.

Brendan went on to say:

“You’ve got a situation where the Federal Opposition and the Victorian Liberal government would like to cut TAFE funding, and at the same time increase 457 applications. That is a lethal cocktail for young people who deserved to be trained and get the jobs first and for people around this state, indeed around this country, who deserve the first option.”


This sounded like strong evidence to support O’Conners theory on its own.

Then I thought, what about the story I was just reading in the Herald? What better evidence of Coalition allowing for conditions to be rorted so cheap labour can be exploited then NSW’s jailhouse employment service?

The thought of those like Gina Rinehart seeking to bring in cheap labour with Tony Abbott’s blessing may seem a bit far-fetched to some, but the idea doesn’t sound too foreign (pardon the pun) to me.


It is things like these that make me wonder why so many believe the Coalition to be the party of the small business. These seem to me to be more examples of a Coalition helping big business (big party donors) crush small business.

Whether you are a farmer struggling to remove the welcome sign that the Liberals left on your gate for the Coal Seam Gas miners with the blessing of the party that supposedly represents you, TheNational Party, or whether you run a call centre  paying minimum wage while your clients are looking at using your competitors behind bars service at $9 an hour, one thing is for sure….

The Liberal Party is no longer the party for small business.

Unless that party happens to be a wake.

Barry Bunnings

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

  1. sue says:

    Still some more for the reader to discover. How many privatised prisons will be able or a currently offering very cheap labor. If you look to the USA private prisons undercut local businesses and profits go to big business.

  2. sue says:

    Brendan O’Connor gave a good interview on Insiders about the correlation of closure of TAFE, less university Places and the need for 457 visas during Howard’s time. But is there any articles in today’s press is there any analysis of his statements? No not a word. Just as when the press cried PM “you have questions to answer” and she did and they didn’t listen. Last week the press called to O’connor “give us your proof” he did and as usual they haven’t listened.

  3. davo says:

    “There was some criticism by those on the panel of Insiders that O’Connor was making the assumption that the Coalition would allow big business to abuse the visa’s to cut costs and access cheap labour. This was apparently an unfounded assumption and was written off by the panel, as you can’t judge a future government on what you think they might do.”

    Perhaps not, but you can take a fair stab at it by looking at what they did when they were last in power.

  4. joy cooper says:

    During Peter Beattie’s era as Labor premier of Qld I was a patient at their wonderful PA Hospital built by his government. Unfortunately, the situation with the number & quality of towels available to the patients was awful. There were hardly enough towels to go around & they were so thin you could almost see through them. They were useless for drying.

    Asked a nurse why this was so she told me that their laundry used to be done by the prisons & was of a high standard. A private laundry took over the contract & the quality of the product went down. I could not believe that a private company, supposedly paying at least minimum wage plus super & Work Cover,, could possibly submit a cheaper tender than the prison service!! Bet it wasn’t unionised.

  5. helen says:

    The dishonest deals being done by these LNP people is amazing.Disgusting article by bolt in the sun herald about Julia Gillard,s partner.I am ashamed to say I read it. When the MSM wake u
    p.Who is pulling the strings. Keep up the wonderful insight articles Peter.

  6. helen says:

    last reply a bit disjointed Peter. Thanks again

  7. davehume says:

    I work in the TAFE system here in WA, and see the result of 457 visa’s. the TAFE advertises for a lecturer, none apply so they source their lecturers from Sri Lanka or India. Sounds ok….except that ” ability to teach” does not rate a mention, the people applying are looking at migration options, they get 2 years guaranteed work, albeit at a low rate, in a job they can’t do effectively ( they soon recognise this but are trapped – if they wish to migrate) trying to teach subjects they are unfamiliar with to students that cannot understand them and nobody ends up happy. Meanwhile we long serving lecturers continue to shoulder an increased workload of student enquiries, employer liaison and course development.

    After completing their 2 year stint, they apply for citizenship and as soon as that comes through they leave. Unfortunately this is when they are (at least) becoming more capable ( probable less uncomfortable) as their English skills improve, and cultural awareness is being gained. So the process begins again. How much better if the management would improve conditions for existing employees which MAY lead to locals applying.

    Arrrrrrrgh. Perhaps if there was a “no advantage” clause for 457 visa holders?

    No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

    Dave Hume.

  8. Good article wixxy…Barry getting very Nero in NSW…

  9. Ken Atkinson says:

    That movie had a happy ending Wixxy and we all know what happened to the warden. Perhaps O’Farrell needs to revisit gun laws in NSW!!!

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