Originally published in Electrical Solutions on 22 November 2016.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) is the latest industry group to weigh in on the ongoing Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) saga.

The AMMA is calling for the Senate crossbenchers to “do what is the national interest” and restore the ABCC and to create a new Registered Organisations Commission.

The AMMA says that the Australian Labor Parter/Greens/Lambie alliance is inherently influenced by unions and is calling for senators to “hold themselves to a higher standard and not ‘walk past and accept’ the well-documented unlawful intimidation and thuggery that is occuring in the construction sector”.

Steve Knot, AMMA chief executive, said, “Voting to restore the ABCC and establish a Registered Organisations Commission will allow employers and employees to get on with the job, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be targeted by unlawful union industrial tactics or have their work and livelihoods affected by substandard, improper or plain corrupt union governance practices.

“Since Labor unceremoniously abolished the ABCC in 2012, productivity in the sector has suffered with days lost to industrial action having increased by 34%.

“The cost of this is borne by Australian taxpayers, mums and dads, and the wider community that is forced to pay well over the odds to build schools, hospitals and other critical community and productive infrastructure.

“The only beneficiaries of turning a blind eye to wilful thuggery and lawlessness are militant union officials and other groups acting in their self-interests. Only a restored ABCC can stamp out such unacceptable and damaging conduct.

“Australia’s resource employers also welcome the Bill’s proposed new rules around unlawful picketing, holding unions more accountable for member conduct and the extension of the ABCC’s coverage to critically important offshore construction.

“The Registered Organisations Commission will lift standards of governance and accountability in Australia’s employer groups and trade unions, and respond to community and member demands for more effective regulation of registered industrial organisations,” Knott said.

“Increased maximum penalties for registered organisations and their officials will provide a more effective deterrent against the misuse of members’ hard-earned contributions.

“If such measures were in place years ago, this would have helped to avoid scandals such as that involving the Health Services Union that exposed union officials for doing anything but representing and advancing the interests of their members.

“The resource industry urges all senators to ensure all Australian trade unions operate lawfully and transparently by voting in favour of these two critical workplace relations reforms,” he said.