Labor defends position of union lawbreakers on government advisory councils

Labor Minister Suzanne Orr has defended the position of two union lawbreakers on ACT Government advisory councils despite the union heavyweights recently being found guilty of unlawful picketing by a Federal Court judge.

The Federal Court judgement handed down on Tuesday personally fined the union lawbreakers $12,600 each, saying they behaved “as if they were above the law”.

Justice Katzman said:

Neither of the men expressed contrition or gave any indication that he would not reoffend if the opportunity arose again.

The union lawbreakers currently advise the ACT Government on procurement decisions through the Secure Local Jobs Advisory Council and on work safety and compensation through the ACT Work Safety Council.

In Question Time today Minister Orr said Opposition questioning on the suitability of wilful lawbreakers to serve on government advisory councils was “inflammatory” and “unreasonable” and was “putting judgement on someone for the work they do and are being found capable of doing”.

But the Shadow Minister for Business and Employment Andrew Wall said Labor’s defence of union lawbreakers threatened the integrity of the ACT Government.

“It does not stand to reason that unremorseful union lawbreakers should advise the ACT Government on public procurement decisions,” Mr Wall said.

“These individuals clearly have no regard for the law and cannot be trusted to provide advice in the public interest.

“The Minister’s defence of the union lawbreakers is an insult to everyone in the industry who does the right thing.

“The ACT Government should send a clear message that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated by immediately terminating their appointment to government boards,” Mr Wall said.