CFMEU Tells MUA It Will Continue To Fight The Turnbull Government

CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor has given a spirited update to the Maritime Union of Australia Bluewater Seafarers Commission in Melbourne. 

With the winding down of the vehicle building industry with a stroke of the Abbott/Turnbull Government’s pen and the recent passing of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, O’Connor said the union movement is facing tough times.

 

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CFMEU National Secretary Michael O'Connor

Shipping also faces uncertain times with the Government yet to make clear its plans on cabotage laws. 

"The Turnbull Government is out to destroy your union, your family and your community,” he said.

"We’ve never seen a government before that wants to destroy jobs just for being in a union.

"We’ve got to fight them at every opportunity and make sure it’s them and not us."

O’Connor said despite some small wins Malcolm Turnbull remains on the back foot.

The lack of a legislative program, a divided party and difficult Senate all make things more difficult for an unpopular prime minister.

"They’re had a few glitches along the way,” he said.

"We have been able to out lobby them because we represent real Australia."

O’Connor paid tribute to the MUA’s campaign on the MV Portland, where the union and its members not only protested locally but lobbied politicians and community leaders in addition to setting up the Jobs Embassy outside Parliament House in Canberra.

“Many others would have let that slide but you didn’t,” O’Connor said.

"You didn’t limit it to Portland, there wasn’t a politician in this country or community leader in this country who didn’t know about Portland, so the entire community knew."

O’Connor said in referring to the recent federal election, where Turnbull squandered a 23 seat majority to win by a single seat, that he was always confident a bad government could be toppled.

"We don’t go into a blue expecting to lose; we go into blues expecting to win,” he said.

On the prospect of a merger between the CFMEU, MUA, and TCFUA, O’Connor said his union had existed for the past 23 years.

"We have a divisional structure and workers elect and sort out their own affairs in their own industry,” he said.

"We don’t want to erode the history and culture of anyone.

"If the amalgamation goes ahead - and the members will determine that - it will go ahead with the history and culture of the unions intact."