AUSTRALIAN Resources and Energy Group AMMA strongly encourages members of the Senate Crossbench to resist the barrage of misrepresentation and deflection from the union movement and support the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019.

“The level of misrepresentation and deflection from the union movement on this legislation has been incredible,” Steve Knott, AMMA Chief Executive said.

“They are clearly pulling out all stops, desperate to ensure extreme militant unions and their officials can continue to flout the law, disrupt important projects and treat our courts and judicial officers with contempt.

“The Ensuring Integrity Bill has been Coalition policy since 2017. It was taken to the 2019 Federal Election which saw the Australian public strongly endorse the return of the Morrison Government, and resoundingly reject the extreme industrial relations policies of the ACTU and ALP Opposition.

“Since the Federal Election the government has worked through a negotiation process with the Senate Crossbench that has resulted in a number of acceptable amendments.

“The measures as they stand would promote greater compliance with Australia’s workplace laws and act as a deterrent to recidivist law-breaking – the type of behaviour that has seen the CFMMEU alone rack up more than $16 million in penalties for over 2000 contraventions.

“It is a minority of recidivist law-breakers giving the union movement a bad name. The majority of unions and their officials, who respect and abide by Australia’s workplace laws, would have nothing to fear from this legislation.”

AMMA notes the latest tactic in the campaign against the Ensuring Integrity Bill has seen unions attempt to conflate the Westpac money laundering scandal with regulation of Registered Organisations.

“It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the unions would stoop to such a low level in their last ditch desperate attempt to block these measures. The two issues are not even remotely related,” Mr Knott said.

“The banking sector must answer to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the ASX Corporate Governance Council and shareholders themselves.

“Those regulators have an arsenal of powers to pursue and prosecute banks and their directors for breaches, wrongdoing and lawbreaking. Indeed, strong regulation and significant penalties exist for all companies registered under the Corporations Act.

“Comparatively the penalties for registered organisations, including trade unions and their officials, are akin to a light slap on the wrist. This is despite many turning over millions of dollars and enjoying tax-free status, special privileges in Australia’s employment tribunals and significant influence in the community.

“No amount of smoke and mirrors from the union movement can mask the recidivist law-breaking of its most militant members, and the frustrations of Federal Court judges on the ineffective penalties available to them.

“It is now time to get the Ensuring Integrity Bill passed and promote greater compliance with the law.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Brad Thompson, 0409 781 580

ENDS

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