The Trade Union Royal Commission attack on CFMEU exposed as political security-police.
In conclusion, CFMEU Construction division national secretary, Dave Noonan, says Barangaroo is just one example of a long-running FWBC campaign against his organisation.
“Simply, they don’t recognise our right to exist as an active, member-based union,” Noonan says.
“There is no common sense with Abbott’s FWBC. They blow up minor disputes and pressure reasonable employers into taking militant, anti-union positions.
“Tony Abbott is up front about his desire to slash construction costs and he has chosen to do that by attacking wages, entitlements and job security. He has given the job of making that happen to Hadgkiss who is no more a policeman, in this situation, than I am.
”Hadgkiss is a partisan political activist. Knowingly or otherwise, this royal commission has bought into his anti-worker agenda.
“The royal commission has given us a glimpse of what the face of Australian construction will look like if Abbott and Hadgkiss get their way.
“That face looks a lot like George Alex and everyone should take a moment and think about that before it is too late.”
‘Who let the dogs out’ is essential reading.
Essential history by Jim Marr
ony Abbott’s special building industry police force failed to uncover enough evidence for a single criminal conviction in seven years of operation.
Officers from Victoria Police and the Federal Police lowered the boom on the Australian Building and Construction Commission at Senate Estimates Hearings, earlier this year.
Victorian Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said in March, the ABCC – the forerunner of today’s Fair Work Building Commission Inspectorate – provided it with “around” two leads a year but none of them had brought a criminal conviction.
A federal police spokesman thought they might have received a “couple of referrals” but could not point to a conviction.
They were talking about the period 2007 – 2012 when the ABCC swaggered across across the construction landscape, using sweeping coercive powers to force building workers to attend secret interrogations and produce documents.
Failure to answer questions, even informing family members they had been interrogated, was punishable by prison.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission, was given the powers of a standing royal commission to eliminate effective trade unions from the sector.
The excuse, from Coalition Workplace Relations Ministers Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews, was the need to tackle “thuggery, corruption” and “violence” in the industry.
But the facts show the ABCC, like the Cole Royal Commission – established by Abbott on the same grounds – never went near criminality. It used its powers to attack unions in a bid to drive down wages, conditions and job security.
The Cole Commission employed more than 100 investigators, and spent $60 million taxpayer dollars, on a two-year investigation of the sector.
It tapped phones, recorded meetings and seized bank records but didn’t get enough evidence to convict a single trade unionist.
The ABCC and the FWBC have been in existence for more than 10 years since, chewing their way through nearly $300 million.
While police evidence shows they have failed in their stated mission, they have been able to weaken campaigns against employers who rort the system.
See my earlier posts on the CFMEU and the return of the ABCC, worse than here reported under the FWA with Abbott’s political operative in charge.
Dave Noonan, CFMEU
Victorian police admit they were wrong about the CFMEU, but Murdoch headlines union and crime.
“I WAS WRONG,” EXPERT WITNESS RECANTS
BY JIM MARR
Victoria Police is backing the most extreme elements of Tony Abbott’s anti-union agenda, according to a top Melbourne cop.
In extraordinary evidence to Abbott’s trade union royal commission, Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana, outlined a legislative wish list that could have been lifted straight off a HR Nicholls Society propaganda leaflet.
His headline demands are for the anti-union Fair Work Building Commission to get back coercive powers removed by the Gillard Government, and a funding boost.
But Fontana didn’t stop there. He wants a number of other changes, including:
– extending the Protected Disclosures Act to cover union officials and their activities
– introducing a Fit and Proper Person Test for union officials
– giving police the right block people from union office, regardless of whether or not they have criminal convictions
– police able to keep secret their reasons for declining Fit and Proper Person applications
– stronger protections for trade union “whistleblowers”
– adoption of Cole Commission recommendations on union finances
– and, presumably, further tightening safety and right of entry restrictions
“It is the view of Victoria Police that the OHS Act is misused by union officials to gain access to a site for the purpose of engaging in criminal activity,” Fontana says.
“It is the view of Victoria Police that provisions allowing for entry to sites by union officials, under the OHS Act and the Fair Work Act, do not effectively prevent authorised entry where the entry is for an ulterior purpose.”
These views mimic lines being run by Abbott, Liberal Party hardliner Eric Abetz and FWBC chief, Nigel Hadgkiss, in their clamour for beefed-up anti-union laws.
Like them, Fontana felt no obligation to provide evidence for his claims.
The one solid claim he made, on behalf of police intelligence, resulted in a back down and apology.
Pressed for something to support his assertions that CFMEU officials were members of criminal motorcycle gangs, Fontana named Comancheros Sergeant at Arms, Norman Meyer.
It seemed this intelligence was drawn from a newspaper photo of Meyer, a building worker, at a union rally.
Informed Meyer was not and never had been a union official, and, in fact, was not even a financial union member, Fontana backed down.
“I got that wrong. I apologise,” he said.
He conceded no CFMEU official had ever been charged with blackmail, corruption or drug crimes, despite his claims they were involved in those activities.
Under cross examination, Fontana admitted he should have also called for employers, including labour hire operators, to face Fit and Proper person tests.
The Fontana statement was an odd mixture of middle management gibberish, inaccuracies and political talking points.
Fontana appeared to contradict previous Victoria Police statements on the Norm Meyer photograph while his legislative prescriptions, seemed at odds with evidence his chief commissioner gave to a recent Senate inquiry that, in seven years of full coercive powers, FWBC investigations had not led to a single criminal conviction.
He testified to Victoria Police’s commitment to “multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency interoperability”, its targeting of “serious crime thematic issues” and its strategy for “target hardening vulnerable markets”.
But, he didn’t appear to know that Australian union officials already face a Fit and Proper Person Test to get right of entry permits.
CFMEU construction division national secretary Dave Noonan said he was not prepared to jump to conclusions about the politicisation of the Victorian police.
And Chris Cain MUA WA on training