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Committee recommends crucial industrial relations bills should be passed

Media Release

The Morrison Government has today welcomed a Senate Committee report which recommended two key industrial relations (IR) bills be passed by Parliament.

The Ensuring Integrity and Proper Use of Worker Benefits bills will help to curb lawlessness by militant unions and provide much-needed transparency and accountability to the way members' funds are managed.

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations Christian Porter said that in the three months that the committee spent reviewing the bills, the CFMMEU racked up a further $276,500 in court-ordered penalties after being convicted of another 26 contraventions of workplace laws.

"That is on top of the more than $16 million in penalties the CFMMEU has been hit with in recent years for over 2160 contraventions of the law, including conduct involving coercion, intimidation and harassment," Mr Porter said.

"This repeated lawbreaking hurts us all by inflating the cost of vital infrastructure projects like roads, schools and hospitals. In fact, as Master Builders Australia has said, projects are costing up to 30 per cent more as a direct result of union militancy and unlawful industrial action.

"The Ensuring Integrity Bill will reign-in that behaviour by ensuring those who run registered organisations – be it a union or an employer group – are fit and proper people to do so. The Bill also gives more power and greater flexibility to the Federal Courts to de-register organisations that persistently and wilfully break the law.

"The Worker Entitlements Bill complements those reforms by ensuring better financial governance and accountability of registered organisations and associated entities, and increasing transparency around the management of the hundreds of millions held in worker entitlement funds (WEFs)."

Labor remains opposed to these bills because of the massive amount of money they receive from the CFMMEU, even though the CFMMEU has been described as the most prolific "recidivist corporate offender in Australian history" by the Federal Court.

"I have been engaging with Senator Rex Patrick and, on the face of it, his suggested changes appear largely workable and a resolution is now much closer," Mr Porter said.

"The Government will closely examine these suggestions and looks forward to engaging with the Centre Alliance and other crossbench Senators over the coming weeks."