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Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper slams Halliburton's 'slave labor'
13 Feb., 2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- An Australian newspaper owned by right wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch reports that Halliburton hires "slave labor" to dig ditches and perform other duties.

In an article titled "Slave labor for $40 a day," Murdoch's Advertiser newspaper, based in South Australia, reports in today's edition that Halliburton "imports" Indonesian workers for as little as $40 a day ($US29) to work 80 days straight in the Australian desert. In contrast, Australian workers are paid a minimum wage of $15 per hour ($US11) for the same work.

Murdoch is chairman of News Corp., which owns the American Fox News cable network, the New York Post newspaper and other notoriously pro-corporate and staunchly conservative media outlets that employ right-wing pundits including Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and John Podhoretz.

In the article, the Advertiser said it "asked about the claims that workers were underpaid and mistreated" by Halliburton in Australia, but public relations officials at the company's Houston headquarters refused to respond. "Despite three days of requests to Halliburton in Australia and the U.S., they have not answered the claims," the article states.

Australian Workers Union secretary Wayne Hanson told the Advertiser that the workers are employed under "absolute extreme sweatshop-like conditions." He said it's not surprising that Halliburton is "exploiting" immigrants to work in hostile conditions in Australia's Outback.

An official with Australia's opposition Labor Party, Tony Burke, told the Advertiser he was "genuinely shocked" that the country's migration system had "got as bad as that." He said, "Skilled migration is meant to be used for filling gaps we weren't prepared for. Instead, it's being used to cut training places and slash wages."

"If companies such as Halliburton want to play in Australia, they must learn to play by Aussie rules," said South Australian internet blogger and anti-Halliburton activist Richard Tonkin. He said, "In South Australia's outback, Halliburton has been flouting Australia's Industrial Relations laws by employing foreigners at wage levels inappropriate to Australian ethics."

HalliburtonWatch recently reported that Halliburton bills the U.S. military $50 per day for Third World workers in Iraq who are paid a daily wage of only $5.

Last year, Murdoch's Fox News cable network praised Halliburton's work in Iraq.