ABCC abolition bill should go further and abolish coercive powers
The Gillard Government should follow through on its mandate to abolish the ABCC by ensuring its coercive powers are not moved to another organisation, the CFMEU said today.
CFMEU Construction National Secretary Dave Noonan said the legislation introduced to the House of Representatives today was a good start but did not go far enough in ending the ABCC’s attack on workers’ rights.
“The Parliament will soon have the chance to end the ABCC and restore rights to workers,” Mr Noonan said.
“It is crucial the final legislation not only scraps the ABCC but does not transfer its coercive powers to another organisation.
“Coercive powers – which give the ABCC the right to secretly interrogate workers – have no place in a free society. The ABCC’s recent admission that it had stepped outside its powers and illegally interrogated 203 people up to November last year should be the final proof it has become a rogue organisation.
“Construction workers want to be treated the same as all other workers, not subject to the stress of arbitrary interrogations which can hang over their heads for months.
“Any replacement to the ABCC must focus on the issue of sham contracting in the construction industry, which costs the Federal Government billions each year in lost tax, and on working with unions and employers to improve safety in construction."
Mr Noonan said the impending end of the ABCC had provoked a flurry of misinformation and baseless allegations from the anti-union zealots who had been behind its formation.
“We have seen claims that the ABCC is needed to combat alleged thuggery and illegal behaviour on building sites,” Mr Noonan said.
“The fact is that the ABCC has only ever had the power to deal with breaches of industrial law; any criminal activity can and should be investigated by police.
“No industry has been as thoroughly investigated as the construction industry, and for so little result.
“No other workers have had important civil rights, including the right to silence removed by legislation.
“The ABCC is a failed ideological excess of the Howard Government, and this Parliament should scrap it."
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