The Coalition will reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), to restore the rule of law in the construction industry.
The construction industry employs more than 1 million Australians, in around 340,000 (predominantly small) businesses.
Unfortunately, bullying, intimidation and lawlessness are rife. As at March 2016, there were over 100 officials of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) before the courts for allegedly breaching workplace laws.
Currently, around 2 out of every 3 working days lost to industrial disputes are in the construction industry.
Since Labor abolished the ABCC, the number of working days lost to industrial disputes in the construction industry has increased by 34%.
Re-establishing the ABCC is critical for jobs, growth and our transition to a strong new economy. Restoring the rule of law to the construction industry is also critical for Australia’s ability to afford the infrastructure of the 21st century.
An honest and fair workplace relations system
The recent Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption found a “widespread” and “deep-seated” culture of lawlessness.
It concluded: “it is clear that in many parts of the world constituted by Australian trade union officials, there is room for louts, thugs, bullies, thieves, perjurers, those who threaten violence, errant fiduciaries and organisers of boycotts”.
The Royal Commission referred 93 individuals and entities for further investigation for breach of the civil or criminal law, but conceded “it would be utterly naive to think that what has been uncovered is anything other than the small tip of an enormous iceberg”.
The Coalition’s Registered Organisations Bill will restore honesty and fairness to the workplace relations system.
It will strengthen existing financial accounting, disclosure and transparency obligations and establish the Registered Organisations Commission – a new, independent regulator with increased powers to monitor and regulate registered organisations.
This will ensure union members can be confident their membership fees are being spent lawfully and in their interests – not in the interests of union bosses. It will also ensure our workplace relations system delivers more jobs and economic growth.