Xenophon and One Nation protect ‘killer’ building code

The Australian, August 10, 2017

The Labor Party last night failed to kill off the Turnbull government’s building code after Nick Xenophon and One Nation joined the Coalition to defeat the ALP’s Senate disallowance motion.

During debate on the motion, defeated 37-32, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash renewed her claim the code was needed to ­address “cartel-like behaviour” between head contractors and the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.

Labor senator Doug Cameron said the code banned clauses in ­enterprise agreements requiring union consultation over excessive overtime. “So no wonder workers are being killed in the building and construction industry directly because of this code,’’ he said.

Senator Xenophon said he could not support the motion given his ongoing concern about the union’s conduct and the culture of the industry.

He said he expected to be subjected to retribution by the CFMEU.

“I have been told that after today there will be, in effect, Armageddon unleashed against me, that it will be a massive campaign the likes of which I’ve never seen,’’ he told the Senate.

“I want the best outcome for Australian workers on building sites. If commonwealth money is involved on these sites then it is reasonable to expect a reasonable standard of behaviour.”

The CFMEU said Senator Xenophon and One Nation had betrayed working people by aligning themselves with the Liberal Party’s “war on workers”.

“They’ve sided with big corporations, property developers and building companies,’’ the union’s national construction secretary, Dave Noonan, said.