AMMA welcomes renewed support for the Australian Government’s Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2017 in the wake of an “obscene image” tweeted by Victorian CFMMEU boss John Setka on Father’s Day (Sunday 2 September).
Recently appointed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also flagged a potential review of the registration of the CFMMEU (the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union), describing Mr Setka’s post as “the ugliest thing” he has ever seen.
Mr Setka has since deleted and apologised for the tweet which featured a photograph of his young son and daughter holding a sign that read “GO GET FU#KED”, targeting the Australian Building and Construction Commission and its boss Stephen McBurney.
Responding to the controversy, new Minister for Industrial Relations Kelly O’Dwyer said the government will consider all options available to deal with the CFMMEU, but as a first step urged Mr Shorten and Labor to stand up for workers and small business by supporting the Ensuring Integrity Bill which has languished before the Senate after its introduction to parliament in August 2017.
The Bill’s intention is to ensure unions and registered employer organisations are run by ‘fit and proper’ people, can be deregistered or placed under administration when, for example, there is widespread lawlessness, and can only merge when this is deemed to not be a risk to the public interest.
“Supporting this Bill would show the Labor Party has some genuine desire to create safer workplaces and would distance itself from a section of the union movement that has no regard for the rule of law,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
The Minister also called on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to display leadership and cut ties with militant union the CFMMEU.
“John Setka’s use of his own children in an obscene image to target the hardworking officials of the Australian Building and Construction Commission is beyond the pale,” she said.
“Instead of abolishing the ABCC, Mr Shorten should abolish his relationship with Mr Setka and the militant wing of the CFMMEU.”
Former Prime Minister and ACTU boss Bob Hawke has previously urged Bill Shorten to cut his ties with the CFMMEU, the union which currently has 75 representatives before the courts or the Fair Work Commission.
$15.9 million in penalties have been awarded against the union in the past decade, with nearly $1 million in penalties already handed down by the courts this year.
AMMA Chief Executive Steve Knott welcomed renewed interest in the Ensuring Integrity Bill, which the Resources and Energy Group has lobbied strongly for since its introduction to parliament.
“Unfortunately, some unions make a business model of repeatedly breaking Australia’s laws and treating the fines as standard operating costs,” he said.
“We encourage the government to revisit its Ensuring Integrity Bill, which seeks to lift governance standards and accountability for all employer and union organisations registered under the Fair Work Act.
“Key measures include restoring the ability of the Industrial Relations Minister of the day to review the status of registered organisations and their office holders, in light of repeated contraventions of the law.”
In June, AMMA wrote to members of the Australian Senate crossbench, urging them to support the Ensuring Integrity Bill.
Last week AMMA also welcomed the appointment of Minister O’Dwyer to Scott Morrison’s ministry, highlighting the importance of the Ensuring Integrity Bill among a number of Industrial Relations issues for government review and consideration.
For more information of the Ensuring Integrity Bill or any other workplace policy matters, contact [email protected].