Taskforce Setup to Address Corruption in Construction

Corruption in the construction industry has become a major issue recently, one that affects many in the industry whether they are aware of it or not. That is why the federal government and the Victorian state government have combined forces to target criminality, organised crime and corruption in the industry.

Prime Minister Abbott recently announced that a joint police taskforce has been formed to investigate evidence of criminal conduct which was unearthed during the recent Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

According to Prime Minister Abbott the task force will address corruption, organised crime and even violence in the construction industry taking firm, decisive and swift action against these illegal actions.

Prime Minister Abbott expressed his concern about the quantity of evidence that emerged which showed evidence of criminal conduct in a letter written to him by the Royal Commissioner following the hearings.

An article on Sbs.com.au carried the following quote from the letter:

(Source: AAP)

(Source: AAP)

“Where he said, and I quote. “The inquiry has thus far revealed evidence of criminal conduct which includes widespread instances of physical and verbal violence, cartel conduct, secondary boycotts, contempt of court and the encouragement of others to commit these contempts.” The commissioner went on, “Some officials appear to regard their unions as having immunity not only from the norms and sanctions of the Australian legal system but also from any social or community standards shared by other Australians.”

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/31/taskforce-address-construction-corruption

Health and safety in the construction industry should be of primary concern and any criminal activities not only hamper safety efforts but also draw attention away from it, which can be dangerous. Any attempt to rid the industry of this type of criminal activity should be welcomed by all in the construction sector.

However the The Australian Council of Trade Unions says the announcement pre-empts the results of the Royal Commission and according to its assistant secretary Tim Lyons, serious corruption allegations should have been handled by the police first. He believes that this is a particular attack on the unions by the government because of their support of the Labor party.

Lyons was quoted as saying:

“Any time you see politicians, announcing what the police are going to do, it’s deeply political, particularly when the police aren’t there. I think it was telling that you had the Prime Minister and the Premier saying, “This is what the police are going to do,” and no police. In the end, the entire public needs to have confidence that the police investigate any crime no matter who the allegation is against, and it’s not used as some sort of partisan instrument to try to make a political point in the middle of an election campaign.”

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/31/taskforce-address-construction-corruption

While Bill Shorten, the Opposition leader said that corruption must be addressed however he did question whether the announcement of the taskforce was appropriately timed. He went on to state:

“I suspect this announcement and the timing of it is more to do with Victorian electoral politics because of the chaos he has created for the Napthine Government by Premier Napthine’s Liberal political party leader in Canberra Tony Abbott introducing new petrol taxes for all Victorian motorists. In terms of the actual announcement of corruption in the building sector, Labor firmly believes, fundamentally believes that the workplace and industrial relations is no place for criminal activity.”

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/31/taskforce-address-construction-corruption

 

Posted by Construction Safety News Admin
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