Un­holy union in misog­y­nist brain snap

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - The Everest - SHARRI MARKSON

A PA­RADE of some of Aus­tralia’s most mil­i­tant union of­fi­cials have been caught out in a sex­ist at­tack on a se­nior Turn­bull gov­ern­ment min­is­ter, with the scan­dal sur­fac­ing dur­ing a storm over thug­gery in the CFMEU.

A pho­to­graph taken this week shows the CFMEU’s na­tional sec­re­tary Dave Noo­nan, Vic­to­rian sec­re­tary John Setka, deputy sec­re­tary Shaun Rear­don and or­gan­is­ers Joe Mcdon­ald and Cam McCul­lough sur­round­ing a fig­ure who is im­per­son­at­ing one of the most se­nior women in the Turn­bull gov­ern­ment, Em­ploy­ment Min­is­ter Michaelia Cash and hold­ing a sign that says: “A Big Cash Cow.”

The of­fen­sive at­tack comes as a sorry his­tory of sex­ism can be ex­posed in the union move­ment. The ma­le­ori­ented cul­ture has re­sulted in the num­ber of women work­ing in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try fall­ing over the past 30 years while fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion in other in­dus­tries is on the rise.

Ms Cash blasted the CFMEU for its treat­ment of women.

“The CFMEU has cul­tural prob­lems across the board, sex­ism and abu­sive con­duct to­wards women by its of­fi­cials is just one el­e­ment of them,” she said.

But the CFMEU ex­traor­di­nar­ily de­nied call­ing Ms Cash a “cow” was sex­ist.

“‘Big Cash Cow’ ob­vi­ously refers to the ABCC (Aus­tralian Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Com­mis­sion) and the mas­sive amount of tax­payer money wasted on that dis­cred­ited or­gan­i­sa­tion,” a spokes­woman said.

“Any other in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the sign is ridicu­lous.”

Some of the sex­ist in­ci­dents recorded in the files of the union watch­dog in­clude a CFMEU of­fi­cial threat­en­ing to gang rape a woman af­ter she had in­spected their site.

One of the union’s of­fi­cial also spat at a fe­male work­place in­spec­tor dur­ing one visit.

In another visit, this same fe­male in­spec­tor was called a “f...ing slut” and a “dog” by union of­fi­cials while she was do­ing her job.

The woman said she “felt quite in­tim­i­dated”. Nei­ther of­fi­cial is named here.

Mr Rear­don, who is pic­tured in the Cash-im­per­son­ation pho­to­graph, was ac­cused dur­ing the Union Royal Com­mis­sion of in­tim­i­da­tion to­wards women who work for the in­dus­try watch­dog by mak­ing late-night threat­en­ing phone calls.

He was sus­pended of his role as a White Rib­bon am­bas­sador against do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in 2015, as a re­sult of the ac­cu­sa­tions.

The num­ber of women work­ing in the con­struc­tion sec­tor has fallen from 13 per cent 30 years ago to 11 per cent to­day, ABS data shows.

Yet women work­ing in trans­port, min­ing and util­i­ties has in­creased over the same time pe­riod.

Union of­fi­cials with a woman be­lieved to be im­per­son­at­ing Michaelia Cash (below).

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