Friday, March 18, 2016
100 CFMEU militants in court over building site disruptions
The number of militant construction unionists facing prosecution for allegedly wreaking havoc on the nation’s building sites has soared to 100, as Malcolm Turnbull places industrial lawlessness at the heart of his election campaign.
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, its state branches and officials have also been fined a total of $7 million for industrial breaches which have been dealt with by the courts since 2002 after the Cole royal commission.
The Australian can reveal the Fair Work Building and Construction agency has launched action against 100 CFMEU officials and delegates who are before the courts, accused of more than 1000 industrial breaches.
The allegations include coercion, unlawful industrial action, intimidation and bullying and right-of-entry breaches.
Those before the courts include the CFMEU’s national secretary Michael O’Connor, whose brother Brendan O’Connor is Labor’s workplace relations spokesman, construction division head Dave Noonan, and NSW and Queensland secretaries Brian Parker and Michael Ravbar.
Mr O’Connor and Mr Noonan are alleged to have conducted unlawful blockades at disputes in Sydney and Perth. They intend to defend the charges.
The CFMEU has vigorously denied that Mr Ravbar broke industrial laws at a Queensland University of Technology site and the Enoggera army barracks in Brisbane and denied that Mr Parker broke industrial laws at a construction site in Sydney’s Harold Park.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash seized on the prosecutions, branding Bill Shorten “untrustworthy” and “beholden to unions who tolerate lawlessness, whose policy positions are reckless to the economy and whose influence is disastrous for job creation should always be challenged’’.
“Australia’s future simply cannot be trusted with someone who is so willing to continually align himself with the most militant trade unions in Australia,” she said. She called for the Opposition Leader to “support the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and turn his talk into action”.
The prosecutions against the CFMEU, one of the nation’s most powerful unions, with strong ties to the ALP, has reached a crescendo as the Senate impasse over the Turnbull government’s plans to reinstate the Howard-era ABCC threatens to end in a double-dissolution election.
The bill to reintroduce the construction industry watchdog, which was dumped by the Gillard government, is stalled in the Senate after being rejected once by Labor and the Greens.
The rejection of the ABCC bill a second time would provide a clear constitutional trigger for a double-dissolution election, which Mr Turnbull could call for July 2.
The Prime Minister would then use the prospect of introducing the ABCC at a joint sitting of parliament as a key election issue building on the disclosures of the Heydon royal commission into trade union corruption.
A spokesman for the Opposition Leader said: “The same laws should apply to everyone without exception.”
“The government should be supporting Labor’s plan to double the maximum penalties for all criminal offences under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act.”
Muscling up his attack, Mr Turnbull accused Labor of being “in denial about the conduct of the CFMEU and the problems in the construction sector, the lawlessness in the construction sector’’.
“This is not a contentious issue. Last night we saw on television Mr Shorten defending the CFMEU, in denial of all of the breaches of law, the catalogue of court cases.’’
Mr Turnbull said the Heydon royal commission into union behaviour reminded “us of how deep the problems of lawlessness in the construction sector are, but just in case people had overlooked the reality, there it was, laid out, facts’’.
He said the axing of the ABCC had seen industrial disputes and lawlessness increase.
Master Builders Australia chief executive Wilhelm Harnisch said the industrial unrest in the construction industry was increasing the cost of building hospitals, schools and other projects by an extra 10-30 per cent.
“Worse, these additional costs are imposed on the community because of systemic and in-ground culture of lawlessness exhibited by building unions,’’ he said.
Figures obtained by The Australian reveal the CFMEU and its officials have been slapped with $6.98m in fines since the Howard government’s first building industry regulator set up in 2002 in the wake of the Cole royal commission. Over the same period, the CFMEU has reportedly donated more than $10m to the ALP.
The list of prosecutions before the courts is topped by CFMEU delegate and organiser Duncan McAllister — formerly of the Queensland Builders Labourers Federation, which merged with the CFMEU — who is accused of 101 contraventions of industrial law over disputes in Brisbane in 2012 and 2013. Anthony Kong is also involved in the Brisbane disputes, allegedly committing 62 breaches.
Organisers Michael Powell, Gareth Stephenson and Joseph McDonald, Victoria branch president Ralph Edwards and Victoria branch assistant secretary Shaun Reardon have been fined more than $440,000 since 2002 when the Howard government set up the Building Industry Taskforce, which was followed by the first ABCC and ultimately the FWBC, officially known as the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate.
Mr Noonan branded FWBC “highly politicised” and accused Nigel Hadgkiss, director of the Fair Work Building and Construction Inspectorate, of “conducting an overt political campaign for increased powers”.
“Mr Hadgkiss has still not explained why he has failed to prosecute one employer for underpayments, sham contracting or the theft of workers entitlements, despite having a statutory obligation to do so,’’ Mr Noonan said.
“The fact that FWBC continues to engage in inflammatory public comment points to the fact that they are integrally involved in the current parliamentary controversies around the ABCC bill.”
“Mr Hadgkiss and the Liberal Party are presiding over a serious corruption of public policy.”
But Mr Hadgkiss said the “senior leadership of the CFMEU” had “not done anything to indicate that law breaking … is of concern’’.
George Christensen labels academic a 'pedophilia advocate' over controversial Safe Schools anti-bullying program
Conservative Nationals MP George Christensen has accused an academic he's labelled a 'pedophilia advocate' of being linked to the controversial Safe Schools program.
The backbencher, a staunch opponent of the controversial anti-bullying schools program, is among a group of coalition MPs who have written to the prime minister calling on him to suspend its federal funding.
He used parliamentary privilege on Wednesday to name Gary Dowsett, the deputy director of La Trobe University's Sex, Health and Society section, of being behind the anti-bullying program.
'I think it would shock many parents to know that a pedophilia advocate is overseeing the organisation that came up with the Safe Schools program,' he told parliament.
When contacted Prof Dowsett said: 'I really don't want to comment about him.'
Mr Christensen referred to an article written by Prof Dowsett from the journal Gay Information to accuse him of being 'a long-time advocate of intergenerational sex, otherwise known as pedophilia'.
'He says 'how different then is the gentle, tentative sexuality between parent and child from the love of a pedophile and his or her lover. That kind of love, warmth and nurture is an important part of the pedophilic relationship',' the backbencher said.
It is understood the article, entitled 'Boiled lollies and bandaids: gay men and kids', was written 35 years ago.
La Trobe University said it stood by the work of Professor Dowsett and his team. 'We are appalled that a respected academic has been attacked using parliamentary privilege,' a spokesman said in a statement. 'This is a blatant attempt to distract attention from the independent endorsement of the highly effective Safe Schools program.'
Mr Christensen wants funding for the schools program axed or suspended until a 'full blown' parliamentary inquiry is held.
He's unhappy about the process of an independent review in the hands of Education Minister Simon Birmingham, and believes 'gravely-concerned' parents and teachers should be allowed to air their concerns to a broader inquiry.
The Nationals MP says he's got the backing of a majority of his backbench colleagues, in the letter sent to Malcolm Turnbull.
MPs were briefed on the findings of the review on Tuesday night, but left the confidential meeting unimpressed. Senator Birmingham said he would carefully consider what the reviewers found in terms of the appropriateness of the program's resources.
Another Climate Scientist Indicted for Financial Fraud
Here we go again. Daniel Alongi, a researcher/racketeer with the Australian Institute of Marine Science — though he’s no longer listed on its website — is facing trial for using a scheme to erroneously pocket half a million dollars in taxpayer money that was supposedly being used on climate change research. According to The Heartland Institute, “Alongi has been indicted by the Australian government on charges of defrauding taxpayers out of $556,000 in false expenses since 2008. Alongi has already admitted to creating false invoices, credit card statements, and e-mails to cover his misappropriation of funds.” As you might expect, “Alongi’s indictment raises serious questions concerning the credibility of his research,” Heartland adds. Meteorologist Anthony Watts says, “If Alongi falsely claimed to have spent half a million dollars on radioisotope testing, it would look pretty strange if he didn’t produce any false test results, to justify the expenditure of all that money.”
Any of this sound familiar? It should. Last October, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology chairman Lamar Smith opened a probe into Institute of Global Environment and Society president Jagadish Shukla. Mr. Shukla, you may remember, implored the White House to prosecute climate dissenters. Not only was it an attack on free speech, it also violated laws on government-funded institutions. As Rep. Smith pointed out, “IGES appears to be almost fully funded by taxpayer money while simultaneously participating in partisan political activity by requesting a [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] investigation of companies and organizations that disagree with the Obama Administration on climate change. In fact, IGES has reportedly received $63 million from taxpayers since 2001, comprising over 98% of its total revenue during that time.” The climate lobby is all about taking care of the earth — after they’ve taken care of their wallets.
Men are victims of sexism too
This International Woman’s Day I had a light bulb moment about sexism.
The sexism I speak of is not sexism against women; it is the type of sexism that places expectations on men: The very sexism that allowed me to “conveniently ignore” the replacement of a blown out (and extraordinarily hard to reach) light bulb in my home.
Innocuous, perhaps — but suffice it to say, when a light bulb moment involves an actual light bulb, you know the universe it trying to tell you something.
You see, I expected my partner to change the bulb because... errr... he’s a man. And men fix stuff.
There was absolutely nothing stopping me from changing this freakishly awkward light bulb myself. Nothing stopping me at all. Except a buy-in to harmful gender stereotypes, and a fear of ladders placed precariously on a set of stairs, that is.
Stereotypes give us conscious, subconscious, and unconscious expectations about how men and women “should” behave; and these stereotypes lie at the root of inequality. Stereotypes have a lot to answer for indeed.
While both my partner and I do lots of tasks around the home that are gender-bending, my decision to ignore this particular light bulb taught me a lesson: I have to fight subconscious sexism more consciously.
Like everyone — I am still learning what personal responsibility toward the principles of genuine equality requires. If I expect my partner to change a hard to reach light bulb, how is that any different from him expecting me to vacuum the house?
It is not.
And here is the twist: HE doesn’t expect me to vacuum; I expect ME to vacuum — and this is part of the same problem. I have bought into the gender stereotype that it “should” be my job to do so, when it “should” not.
It would be foolhardy of me to suggest the thoughts behind of who “should” change the hard to reach light bulbs or vacuum the house in a male-female domestic partnership can sum up the multitude of challenges we face on the road to equality. This is not the case at all. The systemic and institutionalised issues that surround sexism are deeply, breathtakingly complex.
But it is up to all of us to question the stereotypes that play out right under our noses, and in our homes.
I have since realised that saying “Hey honey, have you noticed the air conditioner is stuffed?” is an uncool thing to say. It implies I expect my partner to fix it, and that I expect him to be able to.
I have also realised that half expecting a medal for fixing it myself makes me no different to the man who proudly declares, “I change nappies!” In both cases, no more than a whoop-de-doo is in order.
Simply put, there are things to be done, and our sex should not determine who does what. The reluctance to embrace non-traditional gender roles (or the idea that we should be rewarded when we do) hurts everyone.
It can be said that road to equality demands us ALL to admit when our thinking could be better.
It can also be said that she who fixes her own airconditioner is twice cooled.
Liberal Party's youngest-ever senator gives a good speech
The Liberal Party’s youngest-ever senator, James Paterson, wants to scrap the “unbalanced and skewed” national curriculum, move Australia’s Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and reintroduce the commonwealth debt ceiling to crack down on intergenerational debt.
The 28-year-old, sworn into parliament on Tuesday after being selected by the Liberal Party to fill the vacancy left by retiring Victorian senator Michael Ronaldson, made several controversial declarations in his maiden speech last night as he championed the need for free speech.
Senator Paterson urged Australia to “do more” to show its solidarity with Israel, which he said was “not just a beacon of liberal democracy in a seat of despotism in its own region” but a “prosperous, tolerant, harmonious and creative country in the toughest of circumstances”.
“The Israeli government have demonstrated time and time again they are the best custodians for the religious and historical sites that are of significance to people of many faiths,” he said.
“It would be a symbolic, but important, step for Australia to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and to move our embassy there.”
The former deputy executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs conceded he was not a fan of Australia’s national curriculum, “on many grounds”, and was concerned its cross-curriculum priorities were more aligned with progressive views than Liberal or conservative ones.
The self-described “classical liberal” said the government should license multiple competing private curricula and set basic minimum standards. “This will not only allow schools and parents to select a curriculum which reflects their values, but would also open up the school system to much more diversity, specialisation and choice.”
Senator Paterson acknowledged that he would be seen by many as a representative of younger generations and called for the reinstatement of the debt ceiling, introduced by Labor treasurer Wayne Swan and axed by the Abbott government in 2013 with the help of the Greens.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here