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Issue #1714      December 9, 2015

Dingo

The CFMEU has called for an end to the politicisation of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) following a victory for the union in the ACT Supreme Court. A Supreme Court judge has ruled that the AFP breached legal requirements during its raid on the ACT CFMEU union office in August 2015. The AFP was ordered to pay the CFMEU’s legal costs. ACT CFMEU secretary Dean Hall hailed the decision as a win for workers, the union and civil liberties. “We value the work done by the Australian Federal Police, but they have to act within the law. The officers attached to the Trade Union Royal Commission taskforce have clearly broken the law,” Mr Hall said. He added that the CFMEU had complied with every request to produce documents for the Royal Commission. National CFMEU Construction secretary Dave Noonan welcomed the judgement, but expressed concern with the way the Federal Police was being used by the federal government. “I think the community should be concerned that the police are being tied up to further the anti-union agenda that is the legacy of Tony Abbott, when there are more pressing, serious crimes that need their attention,” said Mr Noonan.

And talking of Tony Abbott’s legacy – even losing his position does not deter the ex-prime minister from making a fool of himself. Abbott was delighted to receive a Freedom Award from the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations. Leaving aside the dubious decision to accept an award for supporting a coup in a foreign country, Abbott again distinguished himself by praising his contribution to Australia and the wider world. “In particular”, Abbott said, it had been an honour “to assert the universal decency of mankind against their violators, whether that be a terrorist caliphate or a Russian president that needed shirt-fronting”. He still does not get what an embarrassment he has been to the country.

Coal, oil and gas investments are under the spotlight. Some local councils are considering selling their investments in coal, oil and gas shares. Most councils in Australia cannot invest in shares but have exposure to fossil fuels through term deposits with the big four Australian banks, which lend to resource companies. So far 15 councils are divesting. At the end of last year there were only two councils committed to divest. We are not talking about a huge shift in policies here. After all, there are 565 local councils which are not divesting. But there is a certain trend which will grow with time. It is worth noting that about 495 institutions globally have committed to divest, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Allianz, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, and the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund. Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson is sure that investors will continue to support the industry as independent forecasters project that Australian coal exports will grow by 37 per cent by 2040. Well, it remains to be seen how things will change and develop.

Next article – Region Briefs

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