Why Qld union is the ‘worst of the worst’

QUEENSLAND'S militant construction union has been found to have broken an industrial law on average more than once a day, every day, for the past two years.

The shocking figures will be seized upon by the Morrison Government as it renews its push to pass laws which will allow courts to deregister unions or officials which repeatedly break the law.

It is understood the government will blast and label the Queensland CFMEU as the most militant branch of the most militant union in the country.

Attorney-General Christian Porter slammed the CFMEU's business model of "breaking industrial laws" and said existing laws simply weren't deterring them.

 

Attorney-General Christian Porter says existing laws aren’t doing enough to deter the CFMMEU from breaking industrial laws.
Attorney-General Christian Porter says existing laws aren’t doing enough to deter the CFMMEU from breaking industrial laws.

But CFMEU boss Dave Noonan blasted the laws as "the most anti-union" in the developed world and dismissed charges against the union as civil breaches.

Figures from construction watchdog the Australian Building Construction Commission reveal that courts in 2017 and 2018 found the CFMEU had contravened 846 laws.

It works out at a finding of law breaking 1.15 times every day on average over two years.

It included almost 682 instances of unlawful industrial action and 105 instances coercion.

It includes findings against the organisation and its officials, across numerous court cases heard over the two-year period.

Mr Porter said there were still 75 representatives of the CFMEU currently before the courts across 33 cases facing 750 alleged contraventions of the law across the country.

"These figures are further evidence that the CFMEU's business model appears to be built on breaking industrial laws and perversely treating court ordered penalties as the costs of doing business," he said.

"Sadly, existing laws aren't effectively deterring the CFMEU's militancy.

"The Government makes no apologies for seeking to uphold the rule of law and cracking down on law-breakers by reintroducing the Ensuring Integrity Bill."

Mr Noonan said while the Royal Commission into banking had been scathing of financial practices, there were "no Bills proposed to deregister the Big Four banks".

"Australia already has the biggest set of anti-union laws of any country in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and the government wants to add more," he said.

National CFMMEU boss Dave Noonan says Australia has the “most anti-union laws” in the developed world. Picture: Kelly Barnes/The Australian
National CFMMEU boss Dave Noonan says Australia has the “most anti-union laws” in the developed world. Picture: Kelly Barnes/The Australian

"There are laws imposed on construction workers and unions that aren't imposed on any other groups of workers or unions.

"They don't just want to fine us, they want to take away workers rights to choose who represents them."

Labor's industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke said Labor still had significant problems with the bill, saying it would hurt workers.

"We will continue to consult and work through the detail but we will not support a bill that makes it harder for workers to get a fair pay rise," he said.

The Bill has been altered from what was put to the previous Parliament, now equally to all registered organisations, including employer associations as well as unions.

It will need support from four of the six crossbenchers to pass the Senate.