It has come to this – secondary boycott

“The Federal Court may cancel the registration of an organisation” upon application by anyone with a sufficient interest. – s28C Fair Work (Ensuring Integrity) Bill.

“The unlawful behaviour by the CFMMEU and their members … all the fines they’ve accumulated since 2004 … (are) $16.4 million” – David GILLESPIE Liberal M.P. (Lyne) speaking in federal house of representatives Wednesday, July 31 2019, quoting Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) statistics.

An Australian Prime Minister has declared he is banning Secondary Boycotts. Governments have done this in the past. They have used laws like this against unions. This time, there’s a twist. Anti-secondary boycotts laws are to be used against environmentalists as well as unions.

“October also saw yet more illegal protests disrupting people’s lives in Brisbane CBD. While it’s been happening all over the country, none have been quite so chaotic as Brisbane. I was among the first to call for these illegal protesters to pick up the bill for the Emergency Services call-out, deterring them from acting unlawfully, and making sure Queenslanders weren’t footing the bill for their behaviour. My speech in Parliament exposed Labor’s ‘weak on crime’ attitude, and called on the Government to ‘Make the Protestor Pay!'”

Climate Change
When I hear a school principal stand up at school assembly and say, ‘If this government doesn’t do anything about climate change, the world will end in 2030,’ I get angry, because we should not indoctrinate our kids with fearmongeringOur voters don’t glue themselves to city streets. Instead, we go about our business quietly and efficiently. I love that we don’t talk about getting things done; we just get things done. – Terry Young, Liberal, Longman, Queensland.

Secondary boycotts
normally occur when one group of trade unions, not directly involved in a dispute, take industrial action in support of other trade unionists. This action can take the form of strikes, go slows, picketing, bans etc.

Fraser banned secondary boycotts under s45D & E of the Trade Practices Act 1976 to prevent solidarity between wharfies and meatworkers stopping live trade in cattle and sheep.

The laws against secondary boycotts, so effective against the meatworkers and the MUA, were retained on the statute books under successive Labor governments.

Howard/Costello tried to bring in stronger anti-secondary boycott laws through Workplace Relations Act amendments of 2005.

The Gillard government included a ban on secondary boycotts in the Fairwork Act despite strong opposition from unions at the ACTU conference.

Tasmania – location of some of the world’s greatest forests

Live cattle exports
In Queensland the state government placed 600 police on Brisbane’s Hamilton wharf to remove meatworkers and their supporters picketing against live export of cattle. Under orders from the then Premier of Queensland, Bjelke-Petersen, police aided by the special branch arrested 45 picketing meatworkers while truckloads of cattle were driven onto the wharves. Pickets were arrested while farmers stood ready to load cattle on that grey, wet day in 1978. In that case meatworkers and their union took direct action against the loading of the live cattle. One meatworker had his head broken open when he was batoned by Senior Constable John Watt.

It has come to this.

Officers who deliberately flout the law who are found not to be fit and proper will risk losing the privilege of representing their members. The schedule also makes it an offence for anyone who has been disqualified to continue to act and interfere in the industrial scene. Even influencing the organisation that you’ve been dismissed from is captured by that amendment.” – Dr Gillespie, Member for Lyne.

“If John Setka (CFMMEU) doesn’t resign then those laws will pass.” – Jacqui Lambie, Senator from Tasmania.

Ian Curr
1 Nov 2019

2 responses to “It has come to this – secondary boycott

  1. List of anti-protest laws

    List of laws against protest:

    Federal laws criminalise association with a terrorist organisation and give the attorney-general the power to ban a terrorist organisation.

    NSW passes laws giving the police the ability to conduct raids or searches without a warrant.

    Federal counter-terrorism laws include preventative detention orders and new police ‘stop and search’ powers.

    Howard/Costello government tried to bring in stronger anti-secondary boycott laws through Workplace Relations Act amendments of 2005.

    The Gillard government includes ban on secondary boycotts in the Fairwork Act despite strong opposition from unions at the ACTU conference.

    Victoria passes laws against climate change protests: up to one year’s jail for standing in the grounds of a coal-fired power plant and two years for anyone painting a slogan on a smokestack.

    Tasmania introduces laws penalising interruptions to business. Several years later a High Court judgment rules the laws unconstitutional.

    Western Australia proposes laws making it an offence to physically prevent a lawful activity and to possess a “thing” with the intention of physically preventing a lawful activity. The McGowan Labor government scrapped the proposal.

    NSW expands police powers and enhances penalties for people protesting mining and fracking, including up to seven years’ jail for interfering with a mine or coal seam gas site.

    NSW passes laws aiming to “cripple” organised crime groups by restricting members’ movements, associations and business dealings. Police will be able to ban people from public places and events without a judge’s approval.

    Federal laws passed to counter foreign influence that would effectively muzzle human rights advocates who discuss their cause with representatives of foreign governments or the United Nations. In June 2018, amendments were announced providing more “public interest” protections for journalists and whistleblowers.

    NSW passes a crown land regulation giving public officials broad power to “direct a person” to stop “taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly”.

    NSW passes laws preventing protesters “harassing” outside abortion clinics, following similar laws in other states. In 2019, the High Court maintains a 150-metre safe access zone in Tasmania and Victoria, rejecting the argument of anti-abortion campaigners that it infringed their right to free speech and political protest.

    The NSW Right to Farm Bill 2019 increases the penalty for “aggravated unlawful entry on inclosed lands” from $5500 to $22,000 and adds a three-year prison term for people who “hinder” a business while trespassing.

    Qld government passes Summary Offences and Other Legislation Amendment Bill which limits the right to protest by banning Climate Change activists from blocking city streets in Brisbane CBD and from locking-on at mines and ports.


    • Michael Clifford QCU

      WBT includes here the Queensland Council of Unions appeal to members and supporters to write to the cross-bench in the parliament not to pass the legislation.

      Scott Morrison’s union-busting Bill is extreme, unnecessary, and will make it harder for Queensland workers to win pay rises and protect their jobs.

      This week could see the Coalition’s union-busting laws pass the federal Senate but they can still be stopped with your help.

      These laws, dressed up with the title of “Ensuring Integrity”, would not apply to business, banks or politicians, despite regular exposure of their serious unethical conduct.

      These laws are fundamentally unfair. Unions face deregistration for taking a ten-minute protest action or submitting paperwork late.

      If unions are shut down or silenced, who will stand up to the powerful, make sure workers get their rights and fight to improve workers’ rights?

      Even if you’re not a member of a union, you benefit from the work of unions – whether that’s better nurse-patient ratios, better paid teachers or better safety standards for firefighters.

      Crossbench Senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts will decide whether these laws will pass. You can email them through our action page and ask them to stand up for workers and block these laws.

      Visit their Facebook pages and ask if they will stand up for working people:

      Pauline Hanson

      Malcolm Roberts

      These laws are so extreme they threaten basic democratic freedoms. Only authoritarian governments interfere with the running of unions or working people’s basic rights to be represented.

      Tell these Queensland Senators that they need to stand up for working people and vote to block these laws.

      Michael Clifford
      Acting General Secretary
      Queensland Council of Unions

      Queensland Unions


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