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April 18, 2016

The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s lame, ill-founded excuse for going to an early double-dissolution election has been defeated in the Senate yet again.

For the second time, Malcolm Turnbull failed to convince the Parliament of the necessity to pass the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 [No. 2] and because of his failure, he will now send Australians to an early double-dissolution election in the depth of winter.

The reason Mr Turnbull was unable to convince the Senate of the necessity for a return to the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is the multiple occasions he lied about the facts.

The Parliament knew he was lying and so do the Australian people.

Lie 1: Productivity

The Prime Minister claimed productivity was the biggest reason the ABCC needed to return saying, . Since it was abolished productivity has flatlined.”productivity in the sector grew by 20 per cent“When the Australian Building and Construction Commission was in force,

The truth on productivity, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, is there has been continuous improvement in productivity in the construction industry since records began in the late 1980s and the rate of improvement in the 7 years before the ABCC was introduced is better than the 7 years the ABCC was in place. It has continued to improve since the ABCC was abolished.

Lie 2: Powers

powers that are being given to the ABCC are the same powers that are currently exercised by the Fair Work Building and Construction Commission regulator.In the Minister for Employment’s press conference on 3 February 2016 she said, “…the

That’s a lie. Under the ABCC laws ordinary workers in the construction industry – up to one million workers and their families – will have less legal rights than a criminal suspected of dealing the drug ice.

Under these laws every construction worker and their family will lose the right to silence, will lose the right to legal representation from a lawyer of their choice, and will be able to be compelled to be interviewed and give evidence. 

Lie 3: Criminality

In the Prime Minister’s letter to the Governor General advising him to prorogue the Parliament and summon it to consider the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 [No2] and the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Bill 2014, Mr Turnbull stated, “The Government regards this legislation as of great importance for… taking strong measures to deal with widespread and systemic criminality in the building and construction industry.”  

This is a lie, as the ABCC has no power to investigate breaches of criminal law or corruption.

In addition to these lies, the reckless decisions of the government show that under the ABCC, safety is at risk.

Safe Work Australia shows that death and injuries were up under the ABCC. The Bill threatens workers with a $36,000 fine for acting on safety concerns at work. Last time this was the case we saw more workplace deaths and more serious workplace injuries.

The Prime Minister and his Liberal team thought they could bluff and bully the Parliament into passing the Bill, they were wrong.

The Prime Minister and his Liberal team will now try and bluff and bully the Australian public into believing their lies. It won’t work, Australians are much smarter than Mr Turnbull gives them credit for.

Malcolm Turnbull claims a double-dissolution is not a political tactic but his government’s lies about the ABCC Bills prove that it is.

Labor is ready for an election and will continue fight for workers and the conditions they rely on; Mr Turnbull and his Liberals will fight for big business and cuts to penalty rates.