AUSTRALIA’s national resource industry employer group, AMMA, is urging Senate crossbenchers to rise above the union-influenced ALP/Greens/Lambie alliance and do what is in the national interest by voting to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and create a new Registered Organisations Commission.

“While the ALP, Greens and Jacqui Lambie have made it clear they won’t support these critical bills, all other crossbench Senators must not be influenced by this lack of objectivity when casting their votes next week,” says AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.

“The resource industry calls on crossbench Senators to instead hold themselves to a higher standard and not ‘walk past and accept’ the well documented unlawful intimidation and thuggery that is occurring in the construction sector.

“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 sub-standard, improper or plain corrupt union governance practices.”

ABCC Bill

“Restoring an effective industry watchdog is critical to cleaning up the intimidation, thuggery and outright lawlessness that has re-established an insidious foothold in the building industry,” Mr Knott says.

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

“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.”

Registered Organisations Bill

“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,” Mr Knott says.

“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.”

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