Bill Shorten should listen carefully - here's Martin Ferguson in The Australian today.
FORMER ACTU president Martin Ferguson has backed the reinstatement of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, likening the actions of elements of the CFMEU to the outlawed Builders Labourers Federation and declaring the union must be “brought to heel’’.
Mr Ferguson, the resources minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments, said that for the sake of the building industry, there had to be a “policeman on the beat’’.
He saidthe labour movement should never forget it was the Hawke Labor government, strongly supported by the Cain Labor government in Victoria, that had backed the deregistration of the BLF.
“And, unfortunately, the manner in which the BLF conducted themselves is now rife within branches of the CFMEU,’’ he said. “And in my opinion the CFMEU should be brought to heel and required to conduct themselves in a fair and reasonable way.’’
Mr Ferguson said the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, “especially the Victorian, Queensland and WA branches of the construction union, have brought this on themselves”.
“It is the manner in which they conduct themselves. And I think for the sake of the industry and the need to attract investment in Australia, especially in this very challenging economic time, we need a policeman on the beat to bring a sense of stability and decency to the building industry,’’ he said.
He believed the construction commission offered another way of trying to clean up rogue elements of the CFMEU as an alternative approach to deregi-stration.
“My position is one of consistency as a cabinet minister and, prior to that, as a shadow minister. I supported the Australian Building and Construction Commission.’’
Mr Ferguson’s comments come after Fair Work Building and Construction director Nigel Hadgkiss warned last week about increasing lawlessness in the industry, saying 75 CFMEU officials were before the courts, facing 403 alleged breaches of workplace laws.
With parliament weighing up a crucial vote on the reinstatement of the ABCC to replace the Fair Work Building and Construction agency, Mr Hadgkiss said the contentious compulsory powers of the watchdog, due to expire at the end of May, were critical to ensuring order on building sites.
There's more at The Australian.