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Created Fri 24/07/2015, Last Updated Fri 24/07/2015

Arrest is nothing but politically motivated act: Media Release

The arrest of ACT CFMEU official John Lomax for trying to negotiate better pay and conditions for workers is an absolute disgrace, according to CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan.

“It is unprecedented and an absolute disgrace that the Abbott Government is using the police to intervene in what is purely an industrial matter,” he said.

“Mr Lomax was arrested this morning. He was denied the right to have a lawyer present during the time he was at the police station. He has not been provided with any written document setting out allegations against him.”

Mr Lomax was told by police that he was accused of forcing an employer to enter into an EBA and that as a result the employer suffered financial loss due to paying workers higher wages.

No allegation has been made that Mr Lomax obtained any personal financial benefit.

Mr Noonan said that the government was criminalising the work of unions.

“Anyone watching the Royal Commission this week will have seen a number of union officials being questioned about going on sites over safety issues and their desire to build memberships, the inference being that this is not a legitimate activity.

“With all the important issues that the police are required to deal with, I expect – as would most of the community – their resources are better utilised dealing with Ice related crimes, violence against women or indeed, terror related activity.”

“The criminal jurisdiction is not the domain of industrial matters and this is nothing but another  vicious political attack on unions and the right to defend and improve pay and conditions for working people.”