Dud members such as Jackie Trad, according to CFMEU construction division secretary Michael Ravbar, who called a press conference to tell everyone that the Qld Labor Left faction was:
“merely an impotent and self-serving echo chamber for a cabal of Peel Street elite who have totally lost touch with their working-class roots”.
“The leadership vacuum in the left has seen a once-powerful voice for working Queenslanders atrophy to the point where today it is little more than a creche for party hacks,” Ravbar said.
“The left factional leadership have consistently devoted far more energy to internal intrigues and power plays than to driving a policy platform that reflects both socially and economically progressive values.”
“In the process, the faction has become little more a protection racket for dud members such as Jackie Trad, who as former Deputy Premier bears much of the blame for the failure to look after workers’ interests even on major public projects such as Cross River Rail.”
Zoot questioned the reference to the CMFEU, as raised by Jumpy. There are in fact separate websites for the CFMMEU (Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union) and (a CFMEU).
The former is more correct, but the latter is more commonly used, indeed by the union itself.
The Wikipedia entry gives a history which appears to trace the CFMEU to the desire in the early 1990s to form an industry union out of the craft unions in the construction industry. That may be an oversimplification but the main thing is that now there are four divisions:
- Construction and General Division
- Manufacturing Division (formally Forestry and Furnishing Products Division)
- Mining and Energy Division
- Maritime Union of Australia Division
The extra “M” came in 2018 when the Maritime Union of Australia and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia joined the CFMEU.
Now the CFMMEU according to Wikipedia has 144,000 members (1% of the Australian workforce), assets of $310 million and annual revenue of approximately $146 million.
It’s one of 46 unions in Australia affiliated with the ACTU, but arguably the one that most gives unions a bad name. ABC Factcheck found it’s not the most unlawful organisation in the history of Australia’s industrial laws, as Christian Porter said last year, but the CFMMEU tends to perpetuate the image of unions as aggressively male and ruthless.
Australia’s largest union is the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, which has just under 300,000 members.
- The number of union members in Australia has declined from around 2.5 million in 1976 to 1.5 million in 2016. During the same period the union member share of all employees (or union density) has fallen from 51 per cent to 14 per cent.
- Young workers are much less likely to be union members than older workers and casual and/or part-time employees are less likely to be union members than full-time workers and permanent employees.
- Industry union density is strongest in Education and training and Public administration and safety.
- The biggest increases in union membership over the last decade and a half were recorded by the Police Federation of Australia (PFA) (up 92 per cent), Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) (up 84 per cent), and Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) (up 35 per cent).
The union websites are not especially vibrant specimens of social media.
I’m sure where John D worked in mining the workers were treated fairly, but there do now seem to be legitimate concerns about casualisation and safety.
As far as I can make out Michael Ravbar is in Qld, on the Left and on the ALP National Executive as CFMEU National VP. I think there may be a union confab going on right earlier this week.
On local radio Rebecca Levingston talked to Stephen Smyth – District President, CFMEU M&E QLD, Mackay, from the CFMEU contact list.
Smyth sounds like a bog standard climate denier, certainly coal über alles and no questions asked.
Certainly too Labor has to shed these characters. Personally I would follow the Brits and sever the connection between the party and the unions, or at least drastically reconfigure it.
Levingston asked Smyth who they would support if not Labor. He said definitely not One Nation and definitely not the LNP.
She did not ask about Katter Australia.
From what I’ve read and heard so far, the proximal issues are as follows:
- There has been concern over the extension of the New Acland coal mine near Oakey, which has not been approved, and is currently under investigation for illegal mining. It has about 500 workers, but is chewing into prime farming land, is close to population, and may put aquifers at risk.
- There are some issues over the Cross River Rail Project, which is now overseen by Ros Kelly, not Jackie Trad. There have been issues over the contracting firm, the compliance structure and cost blow-outs associated with design issues over the Boggo Road railway station. However, it was and is a union site.
- There have been candidate selection issues, where in Burleigh former surfer, Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholemew has been picked over local branch favourite, and in Whitsunday, where the wife of a sitting member has been chosen over the former failed candidate, who wants to have another crack. In the latter case, the former candidate is said to be recommending people vote for Katter Australia.
- They claim Qld Labor has no plan for the economic recovery of provincial Queensland post-COVID. This is untrue, but I’ll leave that until Michael Birkman puts forward the Greens plans.
None of the above has much to do with Jackie Trad these days, who has chosen not to comment.
In today’s CM an article (can’t find it online) says the 2017 donation to the ALP in Qld for the election was over $500,000.
Former speaker, the respected John Mickel, has rubbished the claims that Labor has lost contact with blue collar workers, and says the “stamp-your-feet tantrum” was “white noise” which would not dramatically affect the election.
He does concede, however, that there may be an effect in those two seats. The Palaszczuk is only two seats clear of losing its outright majority.