Royal Commission says CFMEU Should Face Criminal Charges

According to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, criminal charges should be brought against the CFMEU, the nation’s latest construction union.

Recently tabled into Federal Parliament, the Royal Commission’s interim report recommended the union face criminal charges. In the 1566 page report, the commission describes a “pervasive and unhealthy” culture that prevails in the CFMEU.

The commission recommended that the Director of Public Prosecution bring criminal charges against the union for its behaviour, including what it calls intimidation and coercion.

It also recommended that the Queensland CFMEU state secretary face charges for breaches of the Corporations Act. The commission’s report also recommended prosecution be considered against the Victorian CFMEU secretary and assistant secretary for claims of blackmail made against him.

In an article on you read some of the recommendations made by the commission in its interim report,

legal “The evidence in relation to the CFMEU case studies indicates that a number of CFMEU officials seek to conduct their affairs with a deliberate disregard for the rule of law,” the report says.

 “That evidence is suggestive of the existence of a pervasive and unhealthy culture within the CFMEU, under which:

(a) the law is to be deliberately evaded, or crashed through as an irrelevance, where it stands in the way of achieving the objectives of particular officials;

(b) officials prefer to lie rather than reveal the truth and betray the union;

(c) the reputations of those who speak out about union wrongdoing become the subject of baseless slurs and vilification.”

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The report also goes on to mention a number of cases in which the union’s representatives engaged in alleged illegal behaviour such as the banning of Boral from CFMEU controlled sites in Melbourne in what was described in an ongoing war with the construction giant Grocon. The union’s issues with Boral stemmed from its refusal to cease supplying cement to construction company Grocon.

In the post on another case covered by the Royal Commission was also mentioned:

In another case, it found the union engaged in a deliberate and protracted campaign against crane operator Smithbridge Group by applying pressure on its customers to remove the group’s cranes from their sites unless the group signed the union’s form of enterprise agreement and arranged for all of its employees to become union members.

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Employment Minister Senator Eric Abetz welcomed the Royal Commission’s findings. He also urged the opposition to back harsher sanctions for misconduct as a deterrent to illegal behaviour. He also called for the reintroduction of the Australian  Building and Construction Commission.

Mr Abetz went on to comment:

 “I would have thought that anybody that is committed to the trade union movement would want to see a clean trade union movement – one where there is not criminality, where there is not thuggery, where there is not funny-money dealings going on,” Abezt said.

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The Australian Council of Trade Unions, President Ged Kearney labelled the commission a political exercise and dismissed its findings. He also challenged the Abbott government to turn their attention to job creation rather than focussing on the investigations. Kearney went on to explain:

 “Every Liberal Prime Minister since Billy McMahon has had at least one Royal Commission into trade unions – it’s their attack of choice against their political enemies,” Kearney said.

“What we have seen today is a desperate Government trying to make this something that it isn’t.”

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Posted by Construction Safety News Admin
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