By Simon Stokes
The High Court has emphatically denied an ABCC challenge to a Federal Court decision which exonerated CFMEU officials over a dispute at a Melbourne building site that failed to provide separate toilet amenities for female construction workers.
The denial of the ABCC challenge has been welcomed by both Unions and social justice groups who uniformly applauded the stance of the CFMEU in insisting on basic toileting facilities for women in the construction industry.
CFMEU National Construction Secretary, Dave Noonan, was livid that taxpayer money had been spent funding both the original prosecution and the expensive high court challenge.
“The ABCC has flushed a ridiculous sum of cash down this toilet defending the right of grubby employers to save pennies by refusing to provide women’s amenities on a construction site,” said Dave Noonan.
“Women have the right to work in the construction industry and they absolutely have the right be treated decently in this industry. And fundamental to this right is the expectation that women will be provided with safe and sanitary washing and toilet facilities.”
“It’s bizarre and disturbing that in the 21st Century the construction industry regulator would try to deny this in the highest court in the land. And it’s shameful that the ABCC would go all the way to the High Court to try to defend unscrupulous bosses from providing even the simplest and most basic form of workplace dignity as having separate toilets for women.”
Thankfully, the High Court evidently has a greater sense of decency than the ABCC. But this result once again calls into question the use of huge sums of taxpayer money to fund politically motivated prosecutions by the ABCC.
This failed prosecution comes on the back of the ABCC trying to prosecute two Union Officials for having a cup of tea with a friend.
In that circumstance, the judge ruling on the case, Justice North, was scathing of the clear misuse of taxpayer money to mount ridiculous prosecutions of Unionists.
“I hold the clear view that this is a case where the ABCC should be publicly exposed as having wasted public money without a proper basis for doing so, in my view,” Justice North stated.
Dave Noonan believes that time and time again the ABCC has revealed itself to be grotesquely out of step with community standards and expectations of how an independent regulator should behave.
“The ABCC is a recidivist organisation when it comes to undermining workplace decency and dignity, repeatedly showing itself to be a failed and partisan regulator.”
“It’s nothing more than a taxpayer funded political cudgel to attack workers and it needs to go.”