JOINT POLICE TASKFORCE TO CRACKDOWN ON CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY UNIONS

October 30 2014

– A police taskforce will be unleashed on rogue unions including the CFMEU in an unprecedented strike against criminality in the construction industry.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Premier Denis Napthine will today reveal the establishment of a joint police taskforce to focus on union officials and others engaged in blackmail, cartel behaviour, extortion, boycotts, kickbacks and intimidation.

The Herald Sun can reveal the taskforce of about 30 Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police officers will pursue criminal activities uncovered by the royal commission into trade union corruption.

EDITORIAL: Taking a bite at the unions

It will focus on unions but will also pursue corrupt employers, debt collectors and mediators.

People who work as “mediators” in the building industry, such as underworld figure Mick Gatto, an associate of CFMEU state secretary John Setka, are likely to be pursued.

“There is no place for standover tactics, violence or intimidation in Australian workplaces,’’ Mr Abbott told the Herald Sun last night.

“To generate jobs and grow businesses, workplaces must be safe, productive and law-abiding.’’

The taskforce is being established in response to a direct request from Justice Dyson Heydon, who is overseeing the royal commission into five trade unions: the CFMEU, the Health Services Union, the Australian Workers’ Union, the Transport Workers’ Union and the Plumbers’ Union.

The Herald Sun understands Mr Heydon wrote to the Government at the start of the month urging that a police taskforce be set up to pursue evidence of corruption and criminality uncovered by the royal commission.

The taskforce will look solely at criminal conduct and will not examine union governance issues, such as misuse of credit cards or slush funds.

The taskforce, beginning in Victoria, will be extended nationally. There are discussions about police from the New South Wales and Queensland forces joining the group.

The Joint Police Taskforce into Industrial Criminality and Corruption will set up a headquarters, probably in Melbourne, which is considered to be the epicentre of union corruption within the building and construction industry.

Dr Napthine said: “The evidence of corrupt behaviour, unlawful kickbacks and standover tactics in the construction industry has made it clear that there is a need for a joint police taskforce to fully investigate this corrupt activity.

“The taskforce will have all the powers currently available to the AFP and participating state police officers.’’

The officers involved will investigate crimes against Victorian laws, such as assault. They will also look at criminal acts such as extortion and at boycotting of building sites, which are dealt with under federal industrial law.

The timing of the announcement — just four weeks out from the November 29 state election — is likely to be damaging to Labor Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews.

Mr Andrews has factional allies within the CFMEU and has faced criticism over his refusal to sever links with the rogue union.

The Federal Government would also be hoping to wedge federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

The Labor leader, who is a former head of the Australian Workers’ Union, has previously called for the establishment of an AFP-led taskforce.

– Ellen Whinnett

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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