19 December 2018

Abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) will fatally undermine the Opposition Leader’s policy of encouraging cooperation between employers and unions in the construction industry which he outlined in his speech to Labor’s National Conference yesterday.

Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said, “The Opposition Leader’s priorities of ‘cooperation and consensus’ and ‘bringing together unions and employers, the representatives of workers and the representatives of industry and small business’ simply can’t be achieved if bullying by construction unions goes unchecked.”

"Master Builders would welcome an opportunity for constructive dialogue with any construction union willing to abide by the same laws that everyone else in the community is expected to,” she said.

“Unfortunately, scrapping the ABCC would send a clear message that union bullying is ok and that union bullies have a green light to do their worst,” Denita Wawn said.

“There are now dozens of Federal Court judgements that condemn the lawless bullying of the CFMMEU. Without the ABCC holding the union to account and bringing those matters before the courts the CFMMEU would just get away with it,” she said.

“Many of the victims are small business people who just wanted to work on construction sites without being forced to make a deal with the union. Abolishing the ABCC will make hundreds of thousands of small building businesses even more vulnerable to union bullies,” Denita Wawn said.

“The Opposition Leader is concerned about household incomes and the cost of living but he is surely aware that it is mums and dads struggling to balance the family budget who pay for construction union bullying. Forcing Australian families to pay up to 30% more for their schools and hospitals just to protect union bullies can never be good public policy,” she said.

“Finally, it was sad to see the Opposition Leader make an absurd link between the ABCC and undemocratic government. Labor is well aware that the legislation which established the ABCC was passed by Australia’s democratic Parliament, including senators representing minor parties on the crossbench,” Denita Wawn said.

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