Senate debates

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Questions without Notice

Industrial Relations

2:35 pm

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Minister for Employment) Share this | Hansard source

The statement by Boral chief executive Mike Kane that the thuggery and unlawful activity of the CFMEU is costing them between $10 million and $12 million a year confirms the correctness of the coalition commitment to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission. According to Mr Kane, 'The government needs to step in and clean out the unlawful activity.'

Senator Boswell, we agree with him. And that is exactly what we are seeking to do. We have already introduced legislation to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission. It will see a return of a tough cop on the beat to protect workers and contractors, improve productivity and restore the rule of law in an industry that Commissioner Cole and Justice Wilcox found was wracked with a culture of lawlessness. Under the ABCC workers were protected, productivity was higher, fewer days were lost to industrial action and the rule of law was respected.

The Green-Labor government deliberately dismantled this successful reform to help their CFMEU mates. Commissioner Cole's findings are as true today as they were in 2001. Senator Wong and Senator Lundy, both former officials of the CFMEU, need to explain why, in the words of Mr Cain, the CFMEU gets a pass on this type of behaviour, but if the company did it they would be prosecuted.

Can I invite those opposite to listen to their own former ACTU president and minister, Martin Ferguson, who said:

Rather than seeing the ABCC as a tool that allows one side to get an upper hand … it should be seen for what it was: a mechanism that holds both sides to account—

(Time expired)


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