The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and NSW Police raids on CFMMEU union official homes and offices can only be seen as part an on-going attack on unions by the Liberal government. On the 18th of November the CFMMEU Pyrmont headquarters was raided and the cops spent eleven hours gathering who-knows-what for sifting through at their leisure. Raids were also carried out at the homes of union officials.
No arrests have been made and no further information has been forthcoming as the matter is an ongoing investigation related to the Fair Work Act.
At this point in time EBA negotiations have stalled at the ports and the Union is also negotiating this year’s construction EBA. The Australian Building and Construction Commission is “investigating” site-safety shutdowns by union officials in NSW. Union officials are slandered as fabricating or creating safety issues which are used to shut down sites, slapped with enormous fines, threats of jail-time and are subject to police raids of their homes.
The Liberal government is very happy to support the attacks on unions wherever it can. The use of the AFP in raiding homes and offices of officials is yet another example of politically motivated intimidation. How quick the AFP are to jump at the opportunity to steal files from the most militant union in Australia versus how slothful and considerate they are to investigate serious misconduct by government ministers displays a clear class-war character.
The message is clear: if you speak up or speak out you’re a target.
Whistleblowers, journalists, members of the opposition and media – even state media – personnel are targets. Witness K, Bernard Collaery, Annika Smethurst and Shaoquett Moselmane have all been subjected to a similar type of treatment by the law enforcement arm of the state.
Previous raids by the AFP on CFMMEU offices in Brisbane and Canberra have turned up nothing. Nor have any arrests been made. In the case of the Canberra raid, the ACT Supreme Court found that the AFP acted unlawfully.
The raids on the CFMMEU need to be understood in the context of continuing attacks on workers democratic rights during industrial bargaining. The use of state force against the democratic institutions of workers must be identified as dishonest and crass opportunism and denounced by all progressive voices.
Stop the attacks on unions!
We contacted the CFMMEU to fact check our article, and we were told that they unforunately could not comment, but were directed to their statement from general secretary Dave Noonan, which we have reproduced here:
The CFMEU confirms that AFP and NSW Police have served a search warrant at the NSW Branch Office in Pyrmont and at private premises.
The union is cooperating to the extend required by law.
The warrant relates to investigations under the Fair Work Act and related matters.
The AFP have been taking an increasingly active role in industrial relations matters, and have previously raided CFMEU Offices in Canberra and Brisbane.
Neither of those raids resulted in any charges being laid against any union official.
In the case of Canberra, the AFP actions were found to be unlawful by the ACT Supreme Court.
The AFP do not appear to have a similar level of urgency when investigating alleged malfeasance or corruption of Coalition Ministers as we have seen in the Angus Taylor and Michael Cash scandals.
At this stage the union is unable to comment further.