Prime Minister Scott Morrison has moved quickly to allay doubts among some sections of the ACTU about his commitment to respect unions in his new framework for workplace reform.
Mr Morrison used a National Press Club address yesterday to outline plans for a new approach to industrial relations in which all those involved — unions, employees, employers, business, and government — would respect one another and negotiate through working groups to achieve mutual benefits and generate new jobs.
Some unions believe Mr Morrison is not sincere and his plan is a marketing stunt designed to implement the discredited WorkChoices “reforms” “by the back door” while sidelining the Labor Party.
But in a bid to demonstrate his commitment, Mr Morrison and Industrial Relations Minister, Christian Porter, quickly left the Press Club in Canberra and flew directly to Melbourne where they joined a CFMEU street march that preceded a rally (main picture) led by the union’s controversial Victorian secretary John Setka.
The protest meeting followed a citywide strike by CFMEU members called by Mr Setka as part of his union’s new campaign seeking coverage over children under-16 who engage in construction activity using materials such as Lego or similar building block systems.
“These scabs shouldn’t continue bludging off the hard work and sacrifice of dedicated unionists like you,” Mr Setka said to the crowd which erupted in wild applause.
“It’s not just Lego users we’ll be targeting either, comrades. Right now there are hundreds, no thousands, of non-unionised arseholes engaged in substantial construction work using Minecraft and other online building systems.
“This has to stop, and the mighty CFMEU is the one to do just that,” Mr Setka said before the crowd — including Mr Morrison and Mr Porter — began a “death to scabs” chant.
They then adjourned to a nearby park where they broke into groups of 50 to allow them to drink heavily while complying with Victoria’s current COVID-19 restrictions covering outdoor funerals.
Mr Morrison said he was pleased to attend the rally to show his commitment to protecting the “valuable role” Australia’s trade unions played in our national economy.
“Christian and I are off now to have a few drinks with the boys and then I’m going to seek out John Setka to get CFMEU membership application forms for my two daughters,” he said.