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Defeat plan to revive and strengthen the ABCC

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Nick G.

The Master Builders Australia (MBA) today launched a campaign of intimidation and bullying against independent Senators.  The MBA has taken out ads in the mass media bluntly directing the Senators to support a revived Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) with stronger draconian powers.

The MBA makes ridiculous assertions that a vote against the ABCC threatens the community, schools and hospitals, and lawlessness.

Not one of the four dot points used by the MBA has any credibility.  Instead they are emotive, dishonest and unsubstantiated and constitute public intimidation and bullying of independent senators - the very thing the MBA claims to be against.

It is an attempt to revive and strengthen the sorts of bullying and coercion that led to charges against CFMEU member Ark Tribe. Mr Tribe was persecuted for standing up over an onsite safety issue.  If found guilty, he faced a mandatory 6-month jail sentence.  Workers absolutely reject the un-Australian application of one set of rules for workers in construction, and another for every other worker.

The proposal to revive the ABCC includes an increase in penalties against individual construction workers from $10,200 to $34,000 for breaches of the FairWork Act, and from $51,000 to $170,000 for unions.

Australian workers live under some of the most restrictive and unjust definitions of “protected industrial action” in the developed world.  To increase the penalties applicable under this system simply shows the slave-driver mentality of the ruling class.

The federal government’s determination to throw the book at construction workers stands in marked contrast to their refusal to make giant corporations and high wealth individuals open their books to the scrutiny of the ATO.

In contrast to the massive penalties for even minor unprotected interruption to work, companies with liability for the deaths of construction workers are let off by the courts with only minimal penalty.  In February of this year, a Queensland company which pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 24&30 of the former WHS Act 1995 (failing to ensure the health and safety of workers) was fined a paltry $25,000 for the death of two workers. 

The attacks being lined up against construction workers are a test run for widespread attacks against the working class as a whole.

The MBA and Coalition government plan to revive and strengthen the ABCC must be defeated.


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