The Royal Commission was recently shown a video of Victorian CFMEU Organiser John Perkovic standing over Fair Work Building Inspector Seamus Flynn and subjecting him to a torrent of abuse.
Warning: Contents of this video may offend some people.
It is clear from the video that Mr Perkovic is fully aware that Mr Flynn is a Fair Work Building Inspector and that his conduct was being recorded.
Most members of the community would regard Mr Perkovic’s conduct as offensive and thuggish. However it is worse than that. It may be conduct which the law regards as criminal under section 149(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
One can imagine the consequences for an employer that treated a Victorian WorkCover Authority or Fair Work Ombudsman Inspector in the same manner as Mr Perkovic has treated Mr Flynn.
Despite this, Mr Perkovic currently continues to be deemed a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold a federal right of entry permit under the Fair Work Act 2009. Nor has there been any public condemnation from the CFMEU Executive of Mr Perkovic’s disgraceful conduct.
The CFMEU’s highly paid spin-doctors may try to disingenuously defend such conduct on the grounds that it is somehow defending ‘worker rights’, ‘safety’, or is a victim of an ‘ideological witch-hunt’.
But Mr Flynn is a Commonwealth public official who works for a regulator created by the previous federal Labor government, to enforce compliance with the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (legislation enacted by the same Labor government) and compliance with Building Code 2013 (again, enacted by the last Labor Government).
The reality is that the CFMEU continues to act with contempt for the rule of law because it has proven to be effective in increasing its power and influence. There is no disincentive for it to change its business model until it has to.
It is time for regulators, law enforcement bodies and industry participants to hold the CFMEU to account. No one is above the law.