CFMEU says Royal Commission paper 'a grab bag of anti-union nonsense'

THE Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has excoriated the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance’s discussion paper released last week.

Staff Reporter

The report called for tougher penalties for those taking payolas to keep the peace, with fines of up to $17 million proposed for those caught giving under-the-table payments to union officials.

Additionally, the paper called for harder enforcement of pickets and boycotts, as well as more insight and transparency in terms of union election funds.

CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan said the findings of the report were unnecessary at best, as the union already enforced its own anti-corruption measures.

“We’ll sack any official that accepts a bribe. It’s illegal now and it should be illegal,” he told The Australian.

“I thought the whole paper was a grab bag of right-wing anti-union nonsense.”

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary, Dave Oliver, was also less than impressed.

“The Abbott Royal Commission is a fundamentally political exercise,” he said.

“Every Liberal Prime Minister since Billy McMahon has had at least one Royal Commission into trade unions – it’s their attack of choice against their political enemies.

“Our consistent view is that this Royal Commission is about attacking the ability of unions to deliver outcomes for working people – jobs, wages, conditions and safety.

“The trade union movement is committed to strong, democratic and accountable unions and without effective unions, employment conditions in Australia would go backwards.”

Master Builders Australia CEO Wilhelm Harnisch was more circumspect, commenting that he felt the paper had put its finger on a clutch of issues that required further and careful thought.

He said the issues uncovered by the report highlighted a “substantial gap” in the powers of Fair Work Building and Construction.

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