How Derryn Hinch got scammed

The Australian, November 30, 2016

Shame on you, Senator Derryn Hinch. Shame shame shame. Hinch has been scammed by construction firm Lend Lease. He insisted on amending the ABCC bill to advantage the company. Now, corruption will continue, savings will not materialise, building companies that did the right thing all along will be penalised, and the work they were hoping to receive, will not come their way. Lend Lease will be laughing all the way to the bank, laughing at Hinch and laughing at us. For this folly, we will all suffer.

Shame on you too, Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull caved to Hinch when he didn’t have to. He could have put clause 7.3 of the Lend Lease EBA under Hinch’s nose and stood firm. This outcome is worse than no outcome. It gives the appearance of doing something good, whilst doing something bad. It rewards the bad guys, and keeps in place the construction cartel. When Labor is elected, the ABCC will be abolished. Nothing will have been achieved. And next time, no one in the construction sector will back the Liberals, because they don’t back those who back them.

When Lend Lease sat down to negotiate its last, controversial EBA with the CFMEU, it knew what was coming. It knew it would miss out on government work with the EBA. For this reason Lend Lease inserted the following clause, which allows it to terminate the EBA seven days from today. Now, thanks to a gullible Hinch and a weak Prime Minister, it doesn’t need to use it.

7.3 Compliance for government funded building work

(a) It is recognised by the Parties that whilst this Agreement is in operation, Commonwealth, State or Territory Governments may impose particular requirements on the content of enterprise agreements in order for the Company to be eligible for future government funded building work. It is essential that the Agreement is compliant with any such requirements in order for the Company to remain eligible to tender for future government funded building work. If any new requirements are promulgated during the life of this Agreement, which impact on the content of this Agreement, this clause will be applied.

(b)       In this event, the Parties agree to apply to the FWC to terminate this Agreement in accordance with the Fair Work Act (within seven days of any such requirement being promulgated) and the Company and Employees will commit to negotiating a replacement Agreement which is compliant with any such requirements.