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Construction corruption a betrayal: union boss

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CFMEU deny corruption allegations

The CFMEU says any members caught doing the wrong thing will be forced out following allegations of corruption and bribery.

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The conduct of union officials in NSW and Victoria was a “betrayal of everything unions stand for”, says Queensland Council of Unions boss John Battams.

The QCU held a meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss the revelations from a joint Fairfax and ABC investigation into the construction industry, which found key officials, organisers and shop stewards from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union had been involved in corrupt deals.

The investigation found some union members had been given bribes and inducements by building companies, particularly those linked to organised crime and bikie gangs, in return for the union’s backing to help win big contracts.

A Queensland union boss has welcomed a probe into corruption in the construction industry.

A Queensland union boss has welcomed a probe into corruption in the construction industry. Photo: Brendon O'Hagan

Mr Battams said he was “not aware” of any similar cases or evidence of similar activities in Queensland.

But he said he supported it being rooted out and exposed.

“I think the union has made it clear that any matter that involves this type of conduct or corruption should be reported to police,” he said.

“This sort of conduct needs to be stamped out. Such conduct is a betrayal of everything unions stand for, that being a fair go for workers, honesty and integrity.

“My personal view is corruption can exist in any part of society, from clubs to unions to politics, and now that we have these reports coming out of NSW and Victoria, it needs to be dealt with.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said he was “disturbed by the reports” but “not surprised”.

“This is exactly why the government implemented the reforms, in terms of licences [for the construction industry], that we did some months ago,” he said.

“It is because we want to make sure that industries in Queensland, [such as the] electrical industries, are free from criminal gangs.”

The Electrical Trades Union has been talking to other Queensland unions to gather support for a High Court challenge to the government’s laws, which could see electricians, plumbers and other tradies lose their work licences, if they were found to have links to any gang listed as proscribed in the government’s anti-association laws.

20 comments so far

  • About time someone had a close look at the CFMEU and its bikie-gang associates as well as their associated construction companies that act as fronts for money-laundering of drug money for some "Eastern Suburbs identities." Hope that the Royal Commission will be as thorough as the ACIC inquiry into Obeid and Co. Hope the press will keep on digging....what has been mentioned to-day is only the tip of the iceberg, plenty of buried treasure still to be found.

    Commenter
    Stan
    Date and time
    January 28, 2014, 3:36PM
    • We have been lulled into a false sense of security for years. Labor governments and Unions alike have made out that all they stand for is fairness, support for the disenfranchised and forgotten and protection of the working man and woman from rapacious bosses who don't care about their families, welfare or future. It's a lie. The only thing that many Unions stand for is greed, deception, nepotism, cronyism and abuse of power. And Labor will always cover up for their mates no matter how much damage they cause. The corruption runs deep and is ingrained in the fabric of many Unions. This just reminds us of that fact.

      Commenter
      Seamus O'Connor
      Location
      Potts Point
      Date and time
      January 28, 2014, 3:37PM
      • spot on

        Commenter
        nick
        Location
        nick.k54@live.com.au
        Date and time
        January 28, 2014, 4:49PM
    • The Cole Commission spent billions investigating the construction industry. Cole - Liberal fellow traveller and handpick of Howard - rejected any and all evidence against employers, from tax evasion to numerous other illegal practices. Not one union official was charged after years of investigationand billions of dollars. A few bosses named at teh Cole Commissionfaced court well after the commission wound up however, and were prosecuted.

      Investigate away if there is new evidence - but this time to do not exempt employers.

      Commenter
      Des
      Date and time
      January 28, 2014, 3:38PM
      • +1

        Commenter
        Gary S
        Date and time
        January 28, 2014, 5:09PM
      • You realise that the commission was over a decade ago Des. "The Commission found no evidence of organised criminal activity, it did articulate a case that the industry was characterised by lawlessness in the conduct of industrial relations. It recommended sweeping changes to industrial relations laws applicable to the industry."

        Commenter
        Oscar
        Date and time
        January 28, 2014, 5:29PM
      • +1

        Commenter
        Gary S
        Date and time
        January 28, 2014, 5:09PM
      • You realise that the commission was over a decade ago Des. "The Commission found no evidence of organised criminal activity, it did articulate a case that the industry was characterised by lawlessness in the conduct of industrial relations. It recommended sweeping changes to industrial relations laws applicable to the industry."

        Commenter
        Oscar
        Date and time
        January 28, 2014, 5:29PM
    • So how is this any different to "legitimate" corporations and their lobbyist firms lining the pockets of government ministers and filling the coffers of political parties, while also offering them cushy jobs post political career? The almighty alcohol industry comes to mind, but there's other examples such as the Downer/Timor-Leste oil/gas field spying "incident" and Mr Downer's cushy post political job with Woodside to consider. Or for that matter, Tony Abbott giving the IPA the keys to the nation and allowing them to impose their will upon us all.

      Commenter
      PaxUs
      Location
      Austerelia
      Date and time
      January 28, 2014, 4:03PM
      • how can anybody reply to this.
        wake up mate

        Commenter
        nick
        Location
        nick.k54@live.com.au
        Date and time
        January 28, 2014, 5:11PM

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