As a new immigrant and Australian citizen, back in 2005, my first job I was employed as a car mechanic, based on my Aircraft Mechanics Licence. I worked on anything that came through the door, including a race car.
My employer, an Italian-Calabrese, cheated me on my pay every week. I put in a lot of over-time. I did not receive it. Then whilst working on a Holden V8 Engine Block, I nearly lost the tip of my left middle finger, when the crankshaft suddenly gave way when my hand and fore arm were reaching down a cylinder to guide the crankshaft. The owner did not use a proper Engine stand. There was none available, though I had asked. I drove myself to a public hospital, with my left hand wrapped in a shop rag. Blood everywhere. The hospital staff wanted to remove the tip of my finger, as it the bone was broken and fingernail was broken, it was dangling by a thread of bloody flesh. I refused, asked for antibiotics, betadine and bandage and took care of it myself. It reattached and came good. There is almost no evidence that the tip was severed. I got lucky. The owner begged me not to file a Workman's Compensation Claim. I obliged him. About a week or so later, he told me his brother-in-law lost his job at Ford. I asked him, "What does that have to do with me?" He replied, "He is family. And, I owe my sister's husband a job." My employment was terminated.
I took the owner of the shop to the Industrial Relations Commission. He was represented by a lawyer from the Motor Trades Association. I represented myself. They concocted a bunch of nonsense and tried to manipulate the Commissioner and told him I had no mechanic's experience and was only hired as an Apprentice. I proved the pair were liars. I showed the Commissioner my Aircraft Mechanic Licence that I have held, since 1993 and other evidence. I was awarded $2,500. The Commissioner asked if I wanted to have someone collect it on my behalf. I took great delight going to the shop to collect my $2,500 compensation. I told the owner of the shop, "You might be able to get away with this type of behaviour in the old country, but you're in Australia, now, mate."
The point of this is that there are a lot of genuine bastards and rogues out there and WE HAVE WORKERS RIGHTS GUARANTEED BY LAW and what all of you have discussed above is not just the domain of the Australian helicopter industry. It is Australia-wide, as is all forms of sneaky workplace discrimination. Stand up for what is right. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for what you believe in. It is up to you to change the prevailing culture. If you don't, nobody will do it for you.
Never take "No" for an answer.