The city council is not convinced. O`Neil told Pasminco that he would oppose changes such as longer working hours in exchange for fewer positions. The Council`s hierarchy also wants to limit overtime to three positions for 14 days, especially with an unemployment rate of 10% in Broken Hill. But the Council could find its strongest resistance from its members, not from companies. This is perhaps the biggest change since 1986. In the same way as these legendary trade unionists, Paddy O`Neill and Shorty O`Neil, understood that the dreaded industrial strength of trade unions was generally untested, today`s employees saw companies call the bluff of trade unions in 1986, and large-scale changes, that state intervention in local social and industrial affairs was increasing dramatically, including the power of BOS, both trade union agents and social regulators. State mediation commissioners have been increasingly involved in negotiations on mine agreements, ending the acclaimed autonomy of the system of outside interference. However, the most instructive interventions came from other elements of the state apparatus. In a long and sometimes absurd dispute that lasted from 1977 to 1981, local councillor Noel Latham successfully brought a long-standing BIC rule to the Supreme Court that prohibits one union member from informing another. Latham was summoned before the BIC and fined for accusing a co-worker but refused to pay.
Latham eventually lost his job after unionists refused to cooperate with him. He then sued the workers involved and won $70,000 in damages, which the BIC decided to pay through a mandatory tax. The case was fuelled by both personal animus, external political interference and a demarcation dispute between the Municipal Union of Workers and the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union, of which Latham was a member. The pettiness of all participants revealed the bureaucratic rigidity of the BIC for the whole world. The BIC`s ability to impose the blocking of marriage, which is no doubt at the heart of its social regulation, was struck by a fatal blow in 1981, when a local dental assistant, Jeanine Whitehair, successfully challenged the bar with the government`s legislation for equal opportunities.70 The social changes that were associated with these developments also marked the collapse of the particular form of space consciousness, which had supported the social regulation of the BIC. Final Notes 1 McEwen, E, “The Ties That Divide,” Burgmann, V and Lee, J, (eds), Staining the Wattle, McPhee Gribble/Penguin, Melbourne, 1988, 41-4. 2 Of the BIC`s four predecessors, the first three, formed in 1890, 1906 and 1909, were ephemeral, while the fourth, founded in 1916, was in fact the parent body of the Council.