A decision by the Victorian DPP to drop blackmail charges against the state’s CFMEU branch leaders does not alter the union’s history as one of the country’s most unlawful organisations.
"On this occasion the Victorian DPP decided not to proceed with the charges and this is of course a matter for them to determine. However, this can hardly be taken to be evidence that the CFMEU is a responsible union that plays by the rules,” Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy, said.
"The courts have fined the CFMEU and its officials over $14.9 million for breaching industrial law, with one judge recently calling it the “most recidivist corporate offender in Australian History”.
Just last month the CFMEU was fined over half a million dollars for illegal strikes and work stoppages across Brisbane work sites.
Late last year, the Federal Court fined the CFMEU and its officials over $2.4 million for an unlawful blockade, after they shut down one of Australia’s largest construction sites. The Court said it was "not possible to envisage worse union behaviour".
Mr Laundy said proceedings against other current and former union and employer officials named in the Trade Union Governance and Corruption Royal Commission were still on foot, with eight individuals currently before the courts.
To date, nine matters arising from the Royal Commission have resulted in criminal convictions. There have been three further civil convictions.
Importantly, the Royal Commission exposed deficiencies in existing laws which the Government is now addressing, including legislation to outlaw corrupt and illegitimate payments between employers and unions.
The Turnbull Government has acted on 29 recommendations made by the Royal Commission and 13 more are set to be implemented by legislation currently before Parliament including the Ensuring Integrity Bill.