WITH Bill Shorten vowing to block a restored Australian Building and Construction Commission and “any special inspectorate” to win the ALP leadership, it’s fair to suggest the CFMEU will run Australia if he wins on Saturday; ominously, unions also fund a range of “Independents” in what can only be seen as an attempt to rig the election. Unions are entitled to want Labor to win, but not to derail democracy by working to create a one-party state.
When those of my fellow Liberal Party members look askance at me for criticising the party (and particularly at this time, its insipid election campaign), the issue I want to touch on today should serve as a clarion call as to the reasons why.
For once I am going to say something nice about Jacqui Lambie — and more on that later — but for all the trenchant criticism this column has levelled at the regrettable Tasmanian Senator and the deserved charge we have levelled at her of being the stupidest individual ever elected to any Australian Parliament, Lambie at least had the good grace to provide a straight answer to a straight question, which is more than can be said for most of the rest of the scum seeking to leach up to $1.2m out of the taxpayer for the six years on Easy Street that a Senate berth offers.
But The Australian today carries revelations of undertakings given by Bill Shorten back in 2013 — apparently in return for the backing of militant construction sector unions, including the CFMEU, for the ALP leadership — that Labor under his stewardship would oppose any restored incarnation of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the Fair Work Building and Construction inspectorate, or “any separate industrial inspectorate for the construction industry” (and disband these if they existed upon election to government) on the breathtakingly hypocritical grounds that he did not “believe in laws that unfairly discriminate against workers in different industries, including providing different powers for regulatory agencies.”
It sits in stark contrast to Shorten’s gung-ho, string-the-bastards-up approach to a Royal Commission into the banking sector, which in turn we suspect is nothing more than a diversion from the entrenched violence and lawlessness that is endemic in the union movement, and in the construction sector in particular: as we noted yesterday, dozens of Shorten’s old union buddies are facing prosecution on charges arising from a Royal Commission into Trades Hall; as The Australian notes, quoting FWBC chief Nigel Hadgkiss, 948 breaches of federal workplace laws were committed mostly by the CFMEU last year in what Hadgkiss characterised as an “alarming rate of lawlessness.”
The notion of the CFMEU forming the muscle and direction behind current-day Labor governments is not new; state Labor outfits in Queensland and Victoria are beholden to the thuggish junta, having accepted manpower, vast sums of cash and other support to help achieve their return to the treasury benches in those states, and the CFMEU — on one level, unsurprisingly — wants its pound of flesh and its share of the spoils once the power and patronage of government have been secured and can be carved up.
Yet unlike the unions — and especially under the kind of regime apparently proposed in acquiescence by Shorten — the banking sector is well-regulated and is subject to regulatory oversight by corporate watchdog ASIC that, whilst imperfect, has weeded out more than its fair share of rotten eggs from the depths of Australia’s financial services industry.
On the kind of regime that might apply to unions if promises of abolishing specific oversight of a perennially troublesome sector are kept, the militant unions would face the Police — always under-resourced when it comes to investigating the kind of industrial breaches to which Hadgkiss alludes, which are for the most part not the jurisdiction of the states anyway — and little else to keep them in check.
Which, of course, is precisely what these lawless monsters want: they believe, wrongly, that they run this country, and that the only law that counts is the one they decree; this is a situation that cannot and must not ever be allowed to eventuate, let alone be tolerated, and the assurances of just that to help win his party’s leadership merely reinforce the reasons why Bill Shorten is an utterly inappropriate candidate for the Prime Ministership, or any other responsible public office in Australia.
I wanted to raise this issue today because it dovetails with a little research exercise I conducted during a break last week: or at least, I tried to conduct it, for the co-operation factor was virtually nil when it came to asking questions of candidates purporting to stand on accountable platforms for public office.
But it has been widely discussed in recent months that unions (and not just the most militant ones) have been pouring money not just into the
Communist Party Greens — who are happy to take the wages of sin that the ALP shuns on “principle” whenever its union chums disgrace themselves — but also into the coffers of virtually every non-Coalition candidate who might stand a plausible chance of being elected at Saturday’s election.
First, I sent a note to Jacqui Lambie on Twitter, who directed me to a page of “recent donators” (sic) and, curiously, explained that she had turned down approaches from the MUA and the CFMEU.
It took all of a mouse click to find out why she was anxious to tell me she had turned the MUA and the CFMEU down: this apparent aversion to dealing with the worst of the worst was clearly not a unilateral one, for the page of “recent donators” included $25,000, in two chunks, from the notoriously militant ETU.
I said I would say something nice about Lambie, and I will; she deserves acknowledgement for answering a direct question, even if the answer was less than desirable. She didn’t try to hide behind a wall of obfuscation and for that at least, readers should pay credit — even though it seems her backers are just as unfit for purpose as she is a worthy candidate to sit in the Senate.
But whatever you think of Lambie — a nice girl I’m sure, if limited — there is no praise forthcoming for other, more credible candidates who perhaps forgot the answer to the same question when asked.
I’m sure it won’t surprise readers that not one of the six — Nick Xenophon, Bob Katter, Cathy McGowan, Glenn Lazarus, Andrew Wilkie or Tony Windsor — even bothered to acknowledge the contact, let alone respond.
I just wanted to hear it from the horses’ mouths, with plenty of media coverage in recent times having suggested most or all of these candidates had taken union donations. Pauline Hanson wasn’t asked (I don’t know if she has an official Twitter presence and, if she does, whether it is manned). Derryn Hinch, I understand, has not accepted union donations, although I am happy to be corrected if evidence materialises that he did.
But whilst I am prepared to publish, fulsomely, an acknowledgement on behalf of any of these candidates who can substantiate that no union monies have been received by themselves and/or their campaign funds, the insidious flow of union cash into the coffers of any of these individuals at all places a very large question mark over just how “independent” any or all of them are.
And this, in turn, brings me back to the central point: the determination to evade any official oversight on the part of the union movement — using the ALP as an accomplice and an accessory before the fact — but also an apparent attempt by Trades Hall to rig the election altogether, by purchasing the allegiance of those it believes stand a good chance of being in a position to block any Coalition legislation that seeks to bring them to account.
What do these candidates — Lambie included — think they are expected to do: hold a tea and scones morning to show their gratitude? Whether explicitly articulated, or implied on a wink and a nod, these donations serve no other purpose than to oblige parliamentary votes on relevant legislation if and when the time comes, and to provide the unions with mechanisms for leverage (read: thuggery and standover tactics) if whomever the gullible unfortunate, who merely though he or she was taking a token of generosity at face value, refuses to play ball.
It raises a chilling prospect: no longer content merely to treat the ALP as its plaything, and to use it as a vessel for carrying out the legislative work required to shield itself from any accountability whatsoever, the union movement (or at least, the most undesirable elements of it) now appears determined to rig an election altogether, by donating funds to multiple parties and individuals beyond the confines of the ALP, in what can only be interpreted as an attempt to begin to drive Coalition candidates out of electoral contention altogether on as widespread a basis as possible.
For all the talk of campaign finance reform at the ALP and the Greens (which, conveniently, always excludes union money from any consideration of the matter), an obvious first step would be to ban any donor — corporate, union or private citizen — from giving money to any more than one political party (or independent campaign) at any given election: and in fact, such a restriction would go some way to cleaning up the regime of political donations at a stroke.
Of course, no such step will be championed by the Left now; its newest strategy is to spread the dosh around as widely as possible, and this is just another manifestation of behaviour that might be technically legal, but can hardly be construed as democratic.
And of course, no union can be accused of criminal misconduct if there is nobody or nothing to investigate and prosecute the misdemeanour in the first place; state Police forces are stretched enough as it is without having this kind of responsibility lobbed at them, and in any case — as I said earlier — most of the breaches that would be involved are not state matters at all.
Which is pretty much everything the unions, and their sock puppets at the ALP, are trying to engineer.
For now. I mean, who knows what might come next if this latest outrage isn’t jumped on and stamped out?
Yet having secured a double dissolution on union misconduct and the need to restore the ABCC — a promise for which a mandate was obtained in 2013, and which was more than validated by the findings of the Heydon Royal Commission — the Coalition, in round terms, has said nothing about the unions, the ABCC, or anything else to do with the lawless and evasive nature of these entities that really are the absolute filth of Australian society nowadays for the duration of this election campaign.
At some point in the future, the volume of money spent at elections will see the Coalition outgunned, overall, by multiples: and a majority of that money, the longer this practice is permitted to continue, will eventually emanate from the militant unions who think they own and control Australia.
It’s about time the government started talking about these matters while there remains time before the election to do so. After all, the recipients of the union monies are — Lambie excluded — obviously too ashamed or sensitive to admit the donations, and if the Coalition is serious about cleaning up union behaviour at all, this would be a reasonable place for it to begin a conversation.
But it won’t. You know it won’t.