In this case the Federal Court found that when a CFMEU shop steward directed workers on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel to not commence work due to inadequate first aid facilities and inadequate lighting, he breached the law. We can cop that – but the ABCC’s prosecution of the case really showed up their ideological agenda. Describing some aspects of the way the ABCC ran the case as “bordering on the improper” the Judge said:
“The Court accepts that the ABCC and the Union are old foes and that litigation as between them will always be hard fought but the Court is entitled to expect that proceedings will not be conducted as a blood sport….
…Like a battleship in full steam, the ABCC thus appears to have had had difficulty turning. Having commenced its proceedings on the premise that Mr Parker’s conduct was motivated by something beyond that established on the admitted facts…it had continued to press its submissions based on unavailable premises without having substantially reviewed its position…
The Court…was entitled to expect assistance from counsel representing the ABCC in identifying a sound factual basis for the imposition of penalties. I regret that little or nothing in the nature of such assistance was forthcoming in this case.”
The ABCC likes to kid itself and the public that it is just an “impartial umpire.” As can be seen from the way it ran this case though, it’s pretty clear that it is out to get the union and its active members come hell or high water.