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Issue #1760      December 7, 2016

CPA Statement

In defence of workers’ rights

The Communist Party of Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms the passing of the bill re-establishing the former Howard government’s Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) by members of Turnbull’s Coalition government and nine unprincipled Senators on the cross benches. The passing of [former prime minister] Tony Abbott’s bill leaves workers more vulnerable to dodgy workplace practices including those involving health and safety, criminalises legitimate trade union activity and for the first time ever outlaws pickets, including community pickets.

Photo: Anna Pha.

The Turnbull government bought off One Nation Senators, the Nick Xenophon team, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm and Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch in dirty backroom deals. Jacqui Lambie was the only cross-bencher to retain a principled position and oppose the bill. The Australian Greens and Labor Party remained solid in their opposition.

Already, one worker on average per week dies on Australian building sites. That figure will worsen as trade union organisation on the job becomes more difficult. The bill strips construction workers of rights taken for granted by other workers including the right to silence.

Companies seeking government contracts will be banned from including any provisions in their enterprise agreements that limit casualisation, promote the employment of apprentices, specify safe hours of work or limitations on excessive overtime. It removes the right for an equally qualified and experienced Australian worker to be retained in a redundancy situation over a temporary overseas worker. It also restricts the ability of a trade union to negotiate an agreement or to take action regarding job security on building sites.

The intention of the government is to destroy an effective trade union and then come after the others with further legislation early next year. The government wants “yellow”, compliant trade unions or no union representation at all. In this way they will do the bidding of the employers to boost profits out of the wages and conditions of workers.

The Communist Party of Australia is committed to defending trade unions and their right to take action in the defence of workers. It is opposed to opportunistic trade union “leadership” and the theft of basic democratic rights by treacherous politicians.

Next article – “Culture and Identity” – WA parliamentary report into Aboriginal youth suicide

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