Unholy union in misogynist brain snap
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).