A CFMEU PLOT to “own” the ALP and not “piss-fart” around in pursuit of its desired political outcomes is nothing new; with Labor “leader” Bill Shorten beholden to the lawless, militant union and its increasing threats to replace Labor MPs who stand in its way — replete with one-fingered salutes to Courts seeking to impose the law — the CFMEU is no better than the BLF, and equally counter to the national interest. It should be deregistered.
In news that will surprise nobody, The Australian is today reporting on a campaign by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union to take “ownership” of the Labor Party to impose its “will,” and to replace politicians who get in its way; this is nothing new, and merely signals the continuation of a process that has been underway for many years.
A glance at ALP state governments in Victoria and Queensland (where the supposedly pro-worker CFMEU is costing tens of thousands of jobs) offers ready proof of that.
But the CFMEU — whose objective, ostensibly, is the pursuit of power, not workers’ rights or (God forbid) safety — has been the subject of well in excess of 100 adverse Court judgements in recent years, with millions of dollars in fines imposed against it effectively ignored, and it is impossible to argue that this bastion of thuggery is even remotely interested in quaint notions such as the rule of law or even the advancement of workers’ rights as it claims.
Were the CFMEU bothered with such quaint ideas, it wouldn’t be donating money to every Tom, Dick and Harry who might be able to do its bidding — and deputise for its dirty work — in Houses of Parliaments across Australia; most recently, CFMEU money has flowed to literally anyone it might be able to induce to scuttle the restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, for which the federal Coalition has received two election mandates.
It may be indelicate to point out that the only individuals or entities with anything to fear from the restoration of the construction watchdog are those bent on thumbing their nose at the law and engaging in precisely the kind of lawless thuggery and militant recklessness the ABCC is contrived to stamp out.
Yet the CFMEU, with its long history of delivering a one-fingered salute to the Police, the judiciary, and to any elected government which seeks to curb its excesses, perfectly fits the template of a quasi-criminal lynch mob determined to elude (and even smash) any attempt to impose the rule of law upon it.
The unions do not run Australia. The CFMEU most certainly does not run Australia. Yet as we have seen and discussed time and again, this is exactly the belief that underpins its activities, and fuels the entitlement mentality obviated by the ranting edicts from the apologists for illegal behaviour who form its “leadership.”
So-called Labor “leader” Bill Shorten can bleat about his “zero tolerance” policy toward illegal behaviour by unions and union officials all he likes, but the simple reality — as The Australian notes today — is that Shorten is irretrievably compromised on this issue by undertakings he has given to the CFMEU to oppose the ABCC as a condition for its support of his “leadership,” and has failed to use whatever influence he continues to exert with the union to force its compliance with Court decisions and the (justified) penalties imposed upon it.
There is no “obsession,” as Shorten puts it, with “creating an ‘easy-to-hire, easy-to-fire’ society” on the part of the Liberal Party, although the union delusion that companies run into the ground on the end of union demands should nonetheless provide rock-solid employment to its members in perpetuity is based in a convenient fantasy, not reality, whatever he and they might otherwise think.
And Shorten and others who persist with the fatuous notion of a Liberal Party “anti-union” agenda might reflect that were rancid outposts like the CFMEU to behave as sober, rational and law-abiding entities, there would be no movement to crack down on them at all.
As for “fairness,” this ridiculous and frankly offensive excuse for Shorten’s slavering and pandering to a group that is little more than a criminal gang can and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.
There is a relatively recent precedent for the disbandment of a lawless union; in 1981, the then Thompson Liberal government in Victoria moved to have the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF) deregistered: an action taken up by the Fraser government federally, and later overseen to conclusion by the Hawke government — a far more responsible incarnation of the ALP than the abjectly pathetic assortment of union-compromised quislings sitting to the left of the Speaker in federal Parliament today.
The BLF continued the long tradition of militancy, violence and complete disregard for the rule of law that for too long has characterised the very worst excesses of the trade union movement in this country, and for too long has taken form in the most militant, lawless (and yes, violent) unions to whom hacks like Shorten solemnly pledge solidarity and fealty in preference to the national good and the benefit of all Australians.
The filthiest dregs from the BLF bucket — including some of those who spent time in gaol for their trouble — were eventually, and inevitably, recycled into the CFMEU bucket where, once again, they sit like a slime at the very bottom.
If Malcolm Turnbull has any spine at all — and if his rhetoric against the illegal conduct of this noxious showpiece of the union movement has any substance behind it at all — he will move to emulate the Thompson/Fraser/Hawke governments’ actions, and move to have the CFMEU deregistered.
Hundreds of officials charged and convicted. Millions of dollars in fines that have either been ignored or paid from vast war chests designed to shield individuals carrying out heavy-handed and anti-democratic activities. It isn’t as if there are no grounds to rid Australia of this blight on the industrial landscape.
And what it simply cannot be allowed to do is enact a root-and-branch takeover of one of Australia’s major parties — making de facto control of that party absolute, rather than virtual — and placing it in position to inflict God only knows what vandalism upon Australia’s institutions and system of laws in its own interests.
It remains to be seen whether legislation to restore the ABCC passes Parliament or not, but even if it doesn’t, there remains at least one avenue for recourse open to those who refuse to allow one section of the community to ride roughshod over the law, Australia’s economic welfare, and the national good.
Just deregister the CFMEU. It’s not as if it has been without opportunity to fix its act.
It has repeatedly, and malevolently, refused to do so. When it is gone, there are few who will miss it.