Union thug John Setka and his CFMEU cronies are the beneficiaries, but are not the cause of our fractured industrial relations system.

It's a sham system that not only fails to block corrupt unions like the CFMEU, but seems to support them.

How else could regular workplace thuggery be tolerated? Why else could the intimidation flourish?

How else could taxpayers be gouged billions extra for vital public works?

Could it be because of a cosy relationship with the top-tier building firms who win all the lucrative jobs, the industry groups like the Master Builders' Association, and the unions?

Collectively, this group must share responsibility for adding billions to the cost of vital infrastructure like schools, universities, hospitals and freeways.

We can safely call the CFMEU "corrupt" because that is the way it has been described in federal and state parliaments, and in just about every other tribunal in the land.

Setka is not alone, with Queensland home to its fair share of CFMEU bullyboys.

The Courier-Mail recently reported that assistant secretary Jade Ingham, who has a history of industrial unlawfulness, civil disobedience and appalling verbal abuse, was appointed by the State Labor Government to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission,

the alleged construction watchdog.

Jade Ingham CFMEU assistant state secretary addressing a union rally. Picture: Liam Kidston
Jade Ingham CFMEU assistant state secretary addressing a union rally. Picture: Liam Kidston

It's a disgrace that Annastacia Palaszczuk approved the appointment.

More recently a court heard another CFMEU organiser subjected a female health and safety officer to "obscene and derogatory abuse" on a Gold Coast site, calling her a "f..king dog c..t" three times and "made a sound like a dog barking".

So why do we continue to allow the CFMEU, in all its iterations, to thrive and expand?

In his Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill, known as the Omnibus IR bill, the Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, has set the stage for the creation of not one but two CFMEUs.

Attonrey-General and Minister for Industrial Relations Christian Porter during a press conference in Parliament House Canberra.
Attonrey-General and Minister for Industrial Relations Christian Porter during a press conference in Parliament House Canberra.

So construction industry chiefs, and police and the workplace regulators, will now have a two-headed monster to deal with.

I am being picky here, and acknowledge there is much more in the Omnibus bill.

However the lawlessness and union monopoly in the construction industry remains a stain on the nation's soul.

How can we sing "we are one and free" while unionists are given more power than police?

It's time political parties of all persuasions admitted the "gravy train" arrangement between top-tier construction firms and powerful industry groups that help shape the laws that seem to me to protect wrongdoing.

The cosy arrangements enshrined in Enterprise Bargaining Agreements add 30-35 per cent to the cost of public projects.

It means taxpayers have been slugged billions of dollars extra for work.

Stoppages on construction sites like hospitals and universities and other private developments adds tens of millions more.

Later, many of these stoppages are determined by the courts to be unlawful.

So why haven't governments or big contractors attempted to recoup costs in the civil courts?

With billions earmarked for post-COVID infrastructure, taxpayers are going to be hit again and again and again.

For all his good intentions in stamping out union thuggery, the government seems to have put the problem in the too-hard basket.

It is no secret that Labor governments stack the bureaucracies in the respective works and IR departments, with Socialist fellow travellers who underpin the monopoly mechanism which supports the "gravy train".

Labor is duly rewarded with electoral funding from unions.

The LNP gets nothing from the union "gravy train" but seems to tolerate the top-tier monopoly for the sake of industrial peace.

Perhaps it's time for the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, to start a fresh Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption.

And while they are at it the government should again introduce legislation for a good character test for union officials.

How can we sing our national anthem with any pride before the corrupt pool is drained?







Originally published as Revealed: Corrupt union's cosy deal with builders

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