Posted on: 04 September 2023
The Opposition is calling on Peter Malinauskas to stand up and support Liberal Party legislation to protect construction workers as the militant CFMEU - and other groups - convert South Australia into a union run-and-owned town.
The legislation has sat on the Parliamentary notice paper for almost a year because of Peter Malinauskas’ refusal to tackle the serious issue head on as John Setka now moves to introduce the Victorian-controlled redundancy fund Incolink into South Australia, risking even higher costs for the local construction industry.
Today, the Opposition held an urgent meeting with the state’s top construction industry groups to strategise against the CFMEU's influence before the situation worsens.
The Bill will boost South Australia’s defence against CFMEU cronies by creating an industry watchdog to protect builders on worksites.
The legislation will act as a mechanism like that of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), which was abolished by Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The SA watchdog will have the power to target and report on those who are using tactics of intimidation, threatening behaviour, and forcefully disrupting worksites to gain control.
So fierce is the reputation of John Setka’s CFMEU, workers and builders have refused to speak publicly about their ordeals in fear of reprisals. Industry insiders have told the Opposition workers and builders who refuse to join the CFMEU are being told they will be iced out of future work for being “union traitors”.
Leader of the Opposition David Speirs said Peter Malinauskas must draw a line in the sand.
“Peter Malinauskas is playing the role of a toothless tiger serving his union masters like John Setka and the CFMEU ahead of South Australians,” Mr Speirs said.
“It’s time for Peter Malinauskas to do the right thing by backing our Bill - anything less than his full support is effectively condoning bad behaviour on South Australian construction sites.
“Peter Malinauskas said he’d stand up and act if he was made aware of bullying and intimidation, but when it comes to the CFMEU, the Premier has rolled out the red carpet for John Setka and our building industry and small businesses have been suffering since.”
Shadow Treasurer Matt Cowdrey said the Liberal Party will once again try to bring the Bill to a vote in Parliament on Wednesday.
“Each sitting week for the past year we have tried to bring this crucial Bill to a vote in Parliament and every time Labor has voted that down,” Mr Cowdrey said.
“We just cannot understand why Peter Malinauskas and Labor are running a protection racket for John Setka and CFMEU instead of defending SA businesses from thug-like behaviour on construction sites.
“With Peter Malinauskas sitting on his hands, the CFMEU is taking full advantage with the latest moves to introduce the Victorian-based redundancy fund IncoLink into South Australia a clear sign John Setka is running the show.
“Peter Malinauskas must support our construction industry watchdog Bill - if he fails to do so the threat of increased costs forced by the CFMEU could see local businesses go under.”