ACTU’s response to the Prime Minister’s early recall of Parliament and potential double dissolution election:

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver:

“This is a Government completely out of touch with the concerns of ordinary working Australians.”

“Australians want an end to self-serving political agendas and they want to see their Government outline a good, positive policy agenda to invest in health, education, infrastructure and high quality, secure jobs.”

“Instead of focussing on the issues keeping Australians up at night, including job security and the health and education of their children, the Turnbull Government is investing all its time trying to ram through a politically motivated attack on unions and workers’ rights.”

“This smacks of arrogance - instead of laying out a good plan for health and education for the Parliament to consider, Mr Turnbull is holding a gun to the head of parliamentarians, demanding support for bad legislation.”

“It was for good reason the Senate managed to block the Government from ramming through legislation for a jacked-up Medicare co-payment,  $100,000 university degrees and the return of the ABCC - they are bad policies which the Australian people do not support.” 

ABCC MYTH

ABCC FACT

There has been an increase in workplace disputes since ABCC was abolished.

Figures released by ABS clearly show that since the ABCC was abolished in 2012, industrial disputes fell by 65% to December 2014. ABS figures for workdays lost to industrial disputes per 1,000 employees in the construction industry:

85.1 – 2012 (ABCC dissolved in May)

38 – 2013 

30.2 – 2014

23.3 – 2015 (to September)

Cutting the ABCC cost the Australian economy $6 billion

The $6 billion figure was released in a report commissioned by the ABCC itself and has since been discredited by both Griffith University and Justice Wilcox, as part of an extensive review of the ABCC. 


The figure is based on discredited modelling by a company called EconTech (now known as Independent Economics). Griffith University found the data had been “not accurately used” by EconTech.

The work was also called “deeply flawed” by Justice Wilcox in a report to the Federal Government – he said the report “ought to be totally disregarded”.

The report was later removed from the Government website. Politifact rated the figure of “mostly false”.

The ABCC boosted productivity.

The number of serious injuries in the construction industry has declined since the ABCC was abolished, according to the Australian Workers Compensation Statistics. More serious injuries mean more time off work, which means decreased productivity. 

ABCC will deal with corruption in the construction industry.

As a civil body, the ABCC does not investigate breaches under criminal law, it only deals with possible contraventions in industrial law, which are civil matters.

If the Government is really serious about investigating corruption, a national ICAC is the right policy tool for corruption, not ABCC.


Additionally, the ABCC got to exercise their security agency powers again people with no role or interest in the construction industry – even bystanders – so anyone is at risk.

The ABCC helps maintain quality control in the construction industry.

Workplace fatalities in the construction industry rose significantly under ABCC and then fell again once ABCC was abolished, according to Safe Work Australia data. In fact, 2013 recorded the lowest number of fatalities in a decade – the ABCC was abolished in 2012.

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