Master Builders is disappointed

that on 17 August the Bill to re-establish the ABCC was defeated as a result of a tied Senate vote and the Bill relating to registered organisations was voted down on the same day.

“Master Builders is disappointed that the ABCC and RO Bills were voted down by Parliament but welcomes the support that the Bills received and is encouraged that the Abbott government has indicated its commitment to continue to press for these necessary reforms,” Master Builders Association of Victoria CEO, Radley de Silva said.

The cross-bench senators who voted in favour of the Bill were Bob Day, David Leyonhjelm, John Manigan and Nick Xenophon. The cross-bench senators who voted against the ABCC Bill were Glenn Lazarus, Ricky Muir and Jacqui Lambie. Senator Lambie’s vote against the ABCC Bill came despite her recent calls to de-register the CFMEU. Palmer United Senator Dio Wang abstained from voting.

After the vote, the Employment Minister, Eric Abetz, said the government would “re-engage with the crossbench to seek support for the reintroduction of the ABCC Bill.”

Speaking in support of the ABCC Bill, Senator Abetz said the courts had imposed more than $6.1 million in fines on construction unions since 2005 but this had not been enough to deter the CFMEU from repeated breaches of industrial laws.

“The current system is simply not strong enough to be effective,” Mr Abetz said.

The Senate also narrowly rejected (34-33) the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill2014 [No.2] (RO Bill), with senators Glenn Lazarus, Ricky Muir and Jacqui Lambie again voting against. The RO Bill would impose the same disclosure and transparency obligations on union officials as company directors.

Commenting on the RO Bill vote, Employment Minister Eric Abetz said:

“It is regrettable that the hundreds of thousands of union members who pay union dues will not have the peace of mind that their registered organisations are free of the kinds of rorts, rackets and rip-offs that have been shown to be systemic in some trade unions.”

Master Builders strongly supports efforts to bring the rule of law into the industry, and urges the Senators to support the bills at the next opportunity.

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