In the News
Media Release 27.8.15 - ACTU
Statement from ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver regarding the Royal Commission into Trade Unions
Acting on behalf of a number of affiliated unions, the ACTU has today written to the Royal Commission into Trade Unions following an article published in The Australian newspaper by Michael Pelly which suggests:
1. A well-known journalist and lawyer Marcus Priest, telephoned Mr Chris Winslow, the publications manager for the NSW Bar Association at 5.30 on August 12 and inquired about a ‘bar association alert’ put out in April 2015.
2. In the conversation, Mr Priest expressed surprise that Commissioner Heydon had agreed to speak at the event because of its connection to the Liberal Party.
3. In response to the call, Mr Winslow sent an email to Mr Priest with the relevant invitation to the event attached, at 5.50pm.
4. Later that evening, Mr Winslow became concerned that a story about the matter might be about to appear in the media.
5. Mr Winslow felt an obligation to inform Counsel Assisting Mr Jeremy Stoljar of his fear to that effect.
6. Mr Winslow emailed Mr Stoljar shortly after 7.00pm with an email which included the following: “Re the Barwick lecture: Does Dyson know this is connected to the Liberal party?”
7. Counsel Assisting replied to Mr Winslow almost immediately with a statement which included the following: “I’ll raise that with him.”
This disclosure raises concerns for the union movement. In particular that:
1. The explanation contained in the media release of the Royal Commission on 13 August 2015, that the Commissioner had acted to withdraw from the event (“if it could possibly be described as a Liberal party event”) before it attracted any media attention, might be misleading.
2. We believe there has been inadequate disclosure of relevant documents made by the Commission as to this matter.
3. That on 17 August in the initial hearing of the ACTU’s application, Counsel Assisting Mr Jeremy Stoljar, criticised the ACTU’s application as ‘grand-standing’ when in fact he knew the events described in this correspondence and today’s Australian article had not been disclosed to the ACTU or to the public. Click here to read full story.
Media Release 19.8.15 - CFMEU National Office
Wasteful advertising will not change unfair and unpopular China Free Trade Agreement
Plans to undertake a taxpayer funded advertising campaign on the China Australia Free Trade Agreement highlight the failure of the Abbott Government to sell its own policies to the Australian people. The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said no amount of advertising spin would change the unpopular anti-worker provisions in the Agreement. “The crisis-ridden Abbott Government has failed to sell its own policies. It will now waste more taxpayers' money on an expensive advertising campaign to try and tell the Australian public that black is white,” CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor said “If the China Free Trade Agreement was good for Australian workers, the Abbott Government wouldhave had no problem in getting that message across.
“They've already wasted $80 million of taxpayers' money on a now-proven partisan Royal Commission. “Having failed to convince Australian workers that the China Free Trade Agreement is good for them, they want to spend even more on spin.“An ad campaign would almost certainly be a waste of public money - our polling shows that voters in key marginal seats hate the China Free Agreement. “No amount of advertising will change the anti-worker provisions in the Agreement - they need to remove them if they want to win the public back over.” Under the China Free Trade Agreement, Chinese companies will be able to bring in their own workers on projects worth as little as $150 million (down from $2 billion), a move that will lock qualified Australian workers out of many construction and mining projects." click here to read full story
Media Release 18.8.15 - QCU
Restaurant and cafe industry overcooking claims claims about penalty rates
A respected independent expert says the Federal Coalition is overcooking claims that businesses are closing because of Sunday penalty rates. An economist from the BankWest Curtin Economics Centre analysed claims made last Monday on the ABC’s Q & A program by the Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg that “a lot of cafes, restaurants are closing because of the high prohibitive costs on a Sunday”. Mr Frydenberg was quoting from a Restaurant and Catering Industry Association study in 2015 of around 1000 restaurant and café operators.Queensland Council of Unions President John Battams said the independent economic analysis showed that more than 90 per cent of cafes and restaurants surveyed were open on Sunday and/or public holidays.“Furthermore, the analysis shows the majority of these employers thought Sunday was a profitable trading day,” Mr Battams said.
“The analysis further says that less than a quarter of businesses said penalty rates were reducing profits for restaurant and café operators. click here to read full story
Media Release 17.8.15 - CFMEU National C&G
CFMEU welcomes decision of the Senate in rejecting ABCC bill
The CFMEU has welcomed the decision today of the Seante in the Federal Parliament to vote down the bill to re-establish the ABCC. National CFMEU Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said that the defeat of the bill is a vote for equal rights for workers in the constructio industry and a vote against discrimination. "The union has maintained that laws pertaining to the ABCC are undemocratic and unnecessary given that there are industrial laws that cover all workers in Australia – and construction workers should not be subject to different laws. “We welcome the decision and call on all parties in the industry to work with us in addressing the many challenges in the industry." click here to read full story
Media Release 01.08.15 - Hall Payne
CFMEU and CEPU quash Bechtel industrial action orders
Hall Payne Lawyers (HPL), acting for the CFMEU and CEPU, has successfully appealed a section 418 order of the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
In late June 2015 there had been some issues with the use of a hazardous substance known as perlite at Bechtel’s Curtis Island site. Our clients’ members were understandably concerned about this issue.
On the afternoon of 29 June 2015 our clients were served with a s.418 application on behalf of the relevant employer (Bechtel). The matter was listed for hearing at 2.30pm the following day (30 June 2015). At 1.50pm on 30 June 2015 our clients were served with the Applicant’s evidence in the matter. The matter was then called on before the FWC at 2.30pm before DP Lawrence. It was not in dispute that, at the time of the hearing, there was no industrial action happening. During the course of the hearing, our clients sought adjournment(s) to take instructions and to consider the filed material, however this was not granted. click here to read the full story
Building and Construction Impairment Policy
The CFMEU has announced its proposal for an impairment policy in the building and construction industry, which also includes testing for drugs and alcohol. We are currently in consultation with our members with regard to the policy. The policy - put together in conjunction with South Australia and Flinders University is about safety in the workplace.
The purpose of this policy is to minimise and recognise all kinds of impairment and related risk to work place health and safety. The policy will recognise that there is a range of factors that can contribute to impairment at work, including mental health, fatigue, chemicals, heat, noise, illness and injury, illegal drugs, alcohol and prescription drugs. click here to read full article.
Notices and FWC Orders
The Federal Circuit Court has made the following orders dated 23 June 2015 in relation to the Event Cinemas project within the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre at Broadbeach Queensland:
The Federal Circuit Court has made the following orders dated 10 June 2015 in relation to the Event Cinemas project within the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre at Broadbeach Queensland:
Bechtel Curtis Island
FWC has ordered CFMEU to put out the following message. Note that it does not, and cannot apply to protected industrial action. The Fair Work Commission Amended Interim Order requires all industrial action to cease. Members should immediately stop all industrial action and return to work. A copy of the Amended Interim Order is available at the CFMEU Construction and General Division internet site and the CFMEU Construction & General facebook page.