Communities will be the beneficiaries if the Senate decides to vote to reestablish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) next week.

“The effect of the bill is to ask the building unions, particularly the CFMEU, to behave like normal people,” Wilhelm Harnisch CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“The damaging evidence of intimidation and coercion presented to the Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption shows that the building unions, particularly the CFMEU, are out of step with the community’s expectations about how union officials should behave,” he said.

“The CFMEU’s actions have been found to rob the community by making taxpayer funded projects more costly, resulting in less class-rooms, less hospital beds and less childcare places,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“The Senate must look beyond the industrial relations arguments being put by the building unions. The ABCC is about asking building unions to behave normally and in line with community expectations; it’s about improving workers’ rights and it’s about improving safety on building sites,” he said.

“The proper role of unions in advocating workers’ rights and safety is not contested, but building unions are not above the law and the community has a right to expect their elected representatives to act when building union behaviour causes the community to suffer,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“In no other industry are ordinary people, when going about their daily work, confronted by overt aggression, denigration and bullying that building union officials regard as legitimate tools of their trade,” he said.

“In no other industry are small business people routinely intimidated and coerced by the threatening behaviour of building union officials,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“In no other industry are women subjected to building union aggression and abuse. Behaviour that is not tolerated in the home or any other workplace,” he said.

“Voting to restore the ABCC would single out such behaviour as unacceptable, and not unfairly single out a union. “All that is being asked for is for building union officials to behave like normal people,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“What is unfair, is that communities miss out on more class rooms, more hospital beds, more childcare places because the CFMEU and its officials refuse to behave normally,” he said.

“Master Builders calls on the Senate to stand behind their communities and champion their interests by supporting the Government’s bills to reestablish the ABCC,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.