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Itís time to cut union influence over government in Queensland

By Deb Frecklington - posted Monday, 4 June 2018

Corruption and criminality have no place in our political system. You would think we could all agree on that, surely? Sadly, that's not the case in Queensland.

In this state, corruption and criminality are tolerated at the highest levels of government.

Not only does our Government turn a blind eye to corruption, it even accepts huge sums of money from an organisation that extorts cash from Queenslanders.


It's hard to believe this is happening in 2018, some 30 years after the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

But it is happening and it's been happening for a long, long time.

Perhaps that's why so many people just accept the way things are.

Whatever the reason, it's time we clean up Queensland politics. And the CFMEU's relationship with the Queensland Labor Party is the best place to start.

The media has repeatedly exposed the shocking extent of the CFMEU's criminality. In the past 18 months, the union's Queensland branch has been hit with fines totalling $2.4 million after losing 10 cases brought by the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with a CFMEU flag flying in the background. Picture: AAP/Darren England


The union uses intimidation to force individuals and firms to use CFMEU workers and its favoured contractors. Workers who don't fall in line are attacked as "gutless grubs, scabs and dogs weak as piss".

At the Oaky North coal mine, a CFMEU member is even alleged to have threatened to rape the child of a non-union worker.

The conduct of this union is disgraceful. Too many of its officials are nothing more than bullies and cowards. They even boast about breaking the law.

In any self-respecting democracy, the CFMEU would be treated as an outcast by politicians on all sides.

But not in Queensland. Here it
has unfettered access to the Palaszczuk Government, and its ministers go in to bat for the union whenever its appalling behaviour hits the headlines.

What does Labor get out of it?

Well, the CFMEU has given $598,000 to Queensland Labor since 2014. The union also lends the party a massive hand by running pro-Labor advertising campaigns, and even
puts the party's election candidates on its payroll.

This grubby deal has to stop, and I'm pleased that former Labor leaders such as Peter Beattie and Kevin Rudd have called for the party to distance itself from the CFMEU.

But in Brisbane, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) keeps cashing the cheques.

Labor argues that because it's been openly bought by the union, there is no problem. After all, it is the "workers' party" and workers support unions, right?

Wrong. Less than 10 per cent of people in the construction industry, which is routinely held to ransom by the CFMEU, belong to any union.

And how many of the CFMEU's members were pressured to join by its strongarm tactics in the first place?

I have no objection to responsible trade unions. They have won many rights for Australian workers and still have an important role to play in our society. They have a right to be heard – just as employers do.

But no union or employer has the right to bully others and break the law with impunity.

The CFMEU is a rogue organisation and it should be cut loose by Labor. Its ugly leadership will never mend its ways until
this happens.

Annastacia Palaszczuk has to
stop excusing criminality and intimidation, and stop accepting donations from this union.

It's time for Labor to stop selling its soul to the CFMEU – for its own sake and for the sake of Queensland.

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This article was first published in the Courier Mail.

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About the Author

Deb Frecklington is Opposition Leader and Leader of the LNP in Queensland.

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