CPA condemns ABCC, supports worker Ark
The ABCC possesses coercive powers akin to those used against terrorist organisations. If hauled in by the ABCC, workers have no right to silence, they must answer questions or risk a fine of up to $22,000 and a prison sentence of up to six months!
Adelaide rigger Ark Tribe is the first rank-and-file member of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) to be charged by the ABCC. Mr Tribe is now facing six months jail for allegedly not attending a "compulsory" interview with the ABCC.
Yesterday, Ark Tribe's case was adjourned until August 11 at the Elizabeth Magistrates Court. A large crowd of around 200 trade unionists and supporters rallied outside in support of the man who, perhaps unwittingly, has become the face of the campaign to shut down the ABCC. Ark has had the courage to stand up for his basic human rights in an industrial system that seems intent on taking them away and we commend him for it.
However, one so-called trade union leader is not quite as supportive. An article on the front page of today's Australian quotes SDA National Secretary Joe De Bruyn as saying the Rudd Government has no mandate to shut down the ABCC.
According to de Bruyn, the government "doesn't have a mandate for that in its current term of office because it didn't say that to the people of Australia when it went to the polls."
Such a comment is to be expected from the right-wing de Bruyn. The ALP-aligned Shop Distributors and Allied Employers Association is hardly representative of the working class movement in this country and is unlikely to be standing in the corner of the CFMEU when the going gets tough.
But nonetheless, it's a shame that de Bruyn finds it necessary to publicly support the ALP's so-called Fair Work Act while sticking the knife into one of Australia's most progressive unions. He should be ashamed of himself and resign - he has no right to call himself a trade unionist.
Follow Ark's case on the campaign website arkstribe.org.au.