The Guardian 25 May, 2005

Budget hits workers

Money that doesn’t end up as personal tax cuts will be used to undermine the civil rights of building workers, with the Treasurer tripling the funding for the organisation set up to harass them.

More than $24 million will be spent on secretly taping workers, suspending their right to silence and taking away their rights to hold industrial or political meetings.

CFMEU Construction Division national secretary John Sutton said the Building Industry Taskforce budget has blown out from $9 million last year to $23 million for the 2005-2006 financial year.

And the government has allocated an additional $24.13 million to set up a new body, the Australian Building and Construction Commission, to deny building workers the civil rights enjoyed by other Australians.

Mr Sutton says the government is prepared to waste $40 million over the next year on these organisations to rob building workers of their rights — and warns it will become the model for anti-union workplace laws across the nation.

Already we have seen the Building Industry Taskforce run a series of discredited court cases, drawing judicial censure at their heavy handed tactics, including the secret taping of workers and employers.

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