Media Release

Weakened Construction Code just another deal for militant union bosses

“Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten’s release of a revised weakened Construction Code is just a blatant bid for election donations from militant union bosses including the CFMEU and ETU,” Senator Abetz said today.

“The Minister’s announcement yesterday has shown Labor’s hand. Bill Shorten has belled the cat by overriding the States and backing militant unions like the CFMEU.”

“Julia Gillard promised a tough cop on the beat but this announcement under the cover of an election is yet another broken promise.”

“In making this announcement Bill Shorten stands accused of engaging in a blatant attempt to shore up another huge donation from the CFMEU ahead of this year’s election,” Senator Abetz said.

“In 2010 alone, the CFMEU made a $1.7 million donation to the Labor Party.”

“Julia Gillard promised a tough cop on the beat in the building and construction sector but instead, we’ve had nothing but turmoil.”

“In the last six months alone, we’ve had the ugly and violent scenes at the Myer Emporium site in Melbourne, we’ve had the Little Creatures dispute and weeks of unprotected industrial action at the Queensland Children’s Hospital which have cost the Australian economy millions of dollars in lost productivity – all as a direct result of Labor’s abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and now the replacement toothless mouse, Fair Work Building and Construction, will administer an absurdly weak code.”

“To make matters even worse Labor has also scrapped the long-awaited COAG review into sky-rocketing construction costs to protect their union boss mates.”

“Without the ABCC and now with this weak code – that was announced by the Minister with absolutely no consultation with industry stakeholders – workers will be left worse off and employers will lose confidence in the system with union bosses running the show.”

“The Coalition has a strong and effective policy platform that will stamp out thuggery, intimidation and coercion in the building and construction sector.”

“One of the Coalition’s real solutions is to re-establish the ABCC and restore its former powers. This will help keep business costs down, improve productivity and protect workers.”

“Workers have the right to go to work and not to be the subject of thuggery, intimidation or coercion,” Senator Abetz said.

Examples where Labor has made concessions to union boss demands and broken promises to the building and construction sector:

· Abolished the ABCC – after a long campaign by militant union bosses, the Greens and the ACTU.
· Promised a tough building watchdog replacement - promise broken as the replacement FWBC has little or no power to ensure the rule of law on building sites, evidenced by a return to thuggery and intimidation as witnessed during Grocon dispute in Melbourne.
· 11th Hour Changes to FWBC powers – removed the capacity for the FWBC to penalise illegal behaviour if the union and employer party to a dispute agree to a resolution, even if illegal acts have occurred.
· Given the green light for workers to call others scabs – Court decisions interpreting Labor’s laws have said that workers can call each other scabs and this is perfectly lawful.
· Abandoned COAG review of the cause of high construction costs – Caved to demands of militant unions who were concerned about scrutiny.
· Attacked independent contractors – Labor caved to CFMEU demands to attack independent contractors by conducting a ‘sham contracting’ inquiry.
· Weakened the Construction Code – caving in to militant union boss demands concerned that State codes might increase levels of scrutiny and curtail unlawful practices.