Mr Turnbull must show as much courage as Mr Hawke: de-register the CFMEU to solve the building and construction crisis

Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie, in response to the Royal Commission legal actions against CFMEU and the resulting obvious national crisis in our building and construction industries, has again called on Australia’s new Prime Minister to show the same kind of political courage as former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke and deregister the CFMEU.

“Prime Minister Turnbull cannot use the excuse that we have to wait for the result of the current legal action against CFMEU officials, before introducing to Parliament legislation that deregisters the CFMEU,” Senator Lambie said.

“Australia is wasting time. Our building and construction businesses are losing money, jobs, efficiency and productivity. The time for bipartisan political action against the CFMEU in the Senate is now here. I believe that because we have a new leadership team in the Senate under Attorney-General Brandis, the government’s opposition to my proposal to deregister the CFMEU has been dropped. Quite obviously from Senator Abetz’s slippery and disappointing reply to my request to deregister the rogue union - the Liberal Party thought there was considerable political advantage by allowing the CFMEU to remain in business,” Senator Lambie said.

“Former Liberal leaders, Tony Abbott and Eric Abetz, were caught out by my Senate questioning - allowing Australia’s economy and job creation prospects to suffer – while milking the crisis in our building and construction industry for maximum political advantage.

"Any Prime Minister with genuine concern for Australia’s national interest will know that the legal action against any official of the CFMEU will always look good politically, but won’t deal quickly and decisively with the core issue of the crisis of confidence in our national building and construction industry.

"The crisis in confidence in our construction and building industry will only be addressed by quickly de-registering the CFMEU. I believe that the Turnbull government should act like the Hawke / Keating governments did in the mid-1980’s - in response to the crisis in confidence caused by the fore-runner of the CFMEU (BLF) – and introduce de-registering legislation to the Parliament – will have the numbers.” said Senator Lambie.

“I can’t think of a cross-bench Senator who wouldn’t support legislation to deregister the CFMEU. The government will easily have the numbers to pass this legislation and given the significant body of public evidence uncovered over decades, I honestly believe that even though the Greens and Labor parties in the past have taken millions of dollars of political funding from the CFMEU under their new leadership teams they would also support legislation to de-register the CFMEU as well.

"There is a possibility that the Labor party in the short term would oppose legislation that deregisters the CFMEU, but I expect that when Anthony Albanese takes over as its new leader next year, before the Senate sits in February – there’s a high possibility that the Turnbull government will have unanimous Senate support to pass legislation which would once and for all bring this unnecessary crisis to an end.

"The Liberals and Nationals - if they could bring themselves to stop milking the building and construction crisis for political gain – has the legislative solution at hand and political support to bring stability, efficiencies and harmony to this vital industry for the next 30 years,'' Senator Lambie said.