Senate debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Statements by Senators

Australian Building and Construction Commission

1:50 pm

Photo of Paul ScarrPaul Scarr (Queensland, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There were two extraordinarily important documents that were tabled in the Senate this week. They demonstrate without doubt that the last thing the Senate should do next week is abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Those two documents were the annual report of the Australian Building and Construction Commission for the year ended 30 June 2022 and their most recent quarterly report on their operations. I want to refer to three points with respect to these documents. The first, on page 36, gives you everything you need to know about why we need the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and that is this: 90 per cent of the penalties imposed between 2 December 2016 and 30 June 2022 went to the CFMEU construction division. The unlawful behaviour of the CFMEU construction division is the problem. Penalties to other unions were only three per cent. There is a problem with the CFMEU construction division.

Second point: in the annual report His Honour Justice Logan, a Queensland justice, is quoted as saying with respect to the CFMEU:

The time when enough was enough in relation to compliance with the law by this union has well and truly passed.

That's on page 40 of the annual report. Is that the sort of situation in which you would actually abolish the cop on the watch in the construction industry in this country? Lastly, I turned to my home state of Queensland. Queensland in terms of new investigations launched by the ABCC for the last year topped the nation with 51. The next in line was Victoria with 44, so for Queenslanders the last thing we should do is abolish the ABCC.