“Ai Group urges all members of the Federal Parliament’s crossbench to support the Ensuring Integrity Bill now that it has been returned to the Parliament,” Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.
“The only unions to have any reason to fear this Bill are those who engage in serious unlawful acts on a systematic basis, like the CFMMEU. The crossbench should be assured that it is not some sort of ‘anti-union’ Bill, but rather it is a pro-workplace Bill that will help ensure that the worst of the worst among a small group of unions think twice before law breaking. Union thuggery cannot be allowed to continue.
“The Bill is not retrospective, as some Senators appear to believe, and the bar is very high for enabling action to be taken against a union or its officials.
“There have been suggestions that the Bill should exclude all industrial action, including unlawful industrial action. However, protected industrial action is already excluded and, of course, the Bill should include unlawful industrial action within its scope if the action is serious and repeated.
“It has been argued that union officials are being unfairly treated by this Bill while corporates get away with poor behaviour. This is a furphy. As recent corporate history demonstrates, major incidents have seen CEOs and Chairs resign and face heavy penalties.
“Under the Corporations Act, ASIC can pursue criminal and civil penalties against executives and disqualify directors. At the same time, unions and union officials can rack up millions of dollars in fines for multiple serious offences and stay on the job. The Ensuring Integrity Bill would give the small number of lawbreaking unions and union officials the chance to obey the law like everyone else, but if they do not, the Bill will ensure that the community’s interests can be protected,” Mr Willox said.