The CFMEU has set such low stan­dards, it is hav­ing dif­fi­culty main­tain­ing them

Re­cidi­vism: re­peat­ing an un­de­sir­able be­hav­iour af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing its neg­a­tive con­se­quences

The Weekend Australian - - COMMENTARY -

Work­place editor Ewin Han­nan re­ports on the lat­est find­ings against the Con­struc­tion Forestry Min­ing and En­ergy Union in The Aus­tralian on Thurs­day: The na­tion’s most mil­i­tant union, the CFMEU, and its of­fi­cials have been hit with record fines of $2.4 mil­lion over an un­law­ful block­ade af­ter the Fed­eral Court found it was “not pos­si­ble to en­vis­age worse union be­hav­iour”. What could be worse? The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, July 1, last year: Fed­eral Court Jus­tice Christo­pher Jes­sup slammed the CFMEU’s ex­ten- sive his­tory of vi­o­lat­ing work­place law. “The CFMEU’s record of non­com­pli­ance with leg­is­la­tion of this kind has now be­come no­to­ri­ous. That record ought to be an em­bar­rass­ment to the trade union move­ment.” Merely an “em­bar­rass­ment”, so let’s try “de­plorable”. Han­nan again in The Aus­tralian, May 30 this year: A Fed­eral Cir­cuit Court judge has crit­i­cised the con­struc­tion union’s “de­plorable his­tory” of law break­ing, pe­nal­is­ing the union and one of its of­fi­cials $86,000 for un­law­ful con­duct. Judge Michael Jar­rett said to­day Con­struc­tion Forestry Min­ing and En­ergy Union of­fi­cials needed to be “sent a mes­sage” that their first duty was to obey the law rather than fol­low in­struc­tions given by union su­pe­ri­ors. That seems a bit tame, so let’s try Vic­to­rian state sec­re­tary John Setka on ABC’s 7.30, De­cem­ber 7, 2015: My mum used to use a say­ing. I’ve said it once be­fore. She used to say, “The more you touch shit, the more it smells.” Well that’s (Vic­to­ria Po­lice): they are shit. They’re the shit that they are. Re­porter Hay­den Cooper later in the same 7.30 show: Yes­ter­day Setka was ar­rested and charged with black­mail along with his deputy Shaun Rear­don. The charges re­late to the dis­pute with Gro­con, in par­tic­u­lar the claim that CFMEU of­fi­cials tried to black­mail the con­crete sup­plier Bo­ral to stop de­liv­er­ing ce­ment to Gro­con sites. Last year the trade union royal com­mis­sion was told of a meet­ing be­tween John Setka and Bo­ral (where) the is­sue was dis­cussed. Bill Shorten, later in the ABC re­port: The truth of the mat­ter is you didn’t need a royal com­mis­sion to work this out. You didn’t need to spend $80 mil­lion, you didn’t need to en­gage in the po­lit­i­cal smears which has been a clear fea­ture of the royal com­mis­sion’s con­duct. So no, this is just sen­si­ble. We ac­cept that there needs to be con­stant and con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment in the gover­nance of trade unions and em­ployer as­so­ci­a­tions, and that’s what we’re of­fer­ing to­day. Daniel Meers in The Daily Tele­graph, March 3 last year: More than 80 of­fi­cials from the mil­i­tant CFMEU are in­volved in mat­ters be­fore fed­eral courts as part of 60 cases brought on by the Fair Work Com­mis­sion. Fig­ures ob­tained by The Daily Tele­graph have lifted the lid on wide­spread allegations of crim­i­nal ac- tiv­ity and thug­gery on Aus­tralian work sites. Mul­ti­ple cases be­fore the court al­leged that con­struc­tion con­trac­tors are break­ing work­place laws to buy in­dus­trial peace on sites al­legedly be­ing tar­geted by union thug­gery. Lessons not learned, it seems. The Her­ald, June 21 this year: In the speech to an es­ti­mated 20,000 protesters, Mr Setka said Aus­tralian Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Com­mis­sion in­spec­tors should tread care­fully, and threat­ened to ex­pose and shame “the f..kers” by lob­by­ing their neigh­bours, shopping cen­tres and foot­ball clubs. “They will not be able to show their faces any­where. Their kids will be ashamed of who their par­ents are.” Shorten re­sponds: I and fed­eral La­bor dis­as­so­ci­ate our­selves from the re­marks which were made yes­ter­day. That is not the way to ad­vance your cause.

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