Statement on CFMEU contempt of court

Media Release
  • Leader of the Government in the Senate
  • Minister for Employment
  • Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
  • Liberal Senator for Tasmania

"Today the Victorian Branch of the CFMEU was penalised $1.25 million plus costs by the Supreme Court of Victoria for contempt of court for its actions in organising the violent unlawful blockades of Grocon construction sites in Melbourne in August 2012.

The penalty is unprecedented in size and reflects the ongoing actions of a union’s disregard for the rule of law and standards of behaviour that apply to everyone else.

Today’s decision sends a clear message that the sort of behaviour engaged in by the CFMEU is unacceptable.

It is unacceptable to blockade a building site, intimidate staff, threaten and vilify employees and engage in battles with police in CBD streets. It is equally unacceptable to deliberately defy orders of the highest court in Victoria.

It is deeply concerning that the Labor Party sought to condone and excuse this conduct.

Instead of condemning the violence and contempt for the law, then-Minister Bill Shorten claimed that ‘something’s clearly gone wrong between the union and company’, when the company’s employees (themselves CFMEU members) had never even been in dispute with Grocon.

Today’s penalty is yet one more reason why Bill Shorten and Labor must stop running a protection racket for union bosses engaged in illegal and unlawful behaviour.

Bill Shorten and Labor, together with the Australian Greens, are blocking the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the creation of a Registered Organisations Commission.”

For more information

Media line: (02) 6240 8667, media@employment.gov.au