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Builders call on cross bench senators to stand up to thugs and bullies

16 March, 2015

Peak building and construction industry body Master Builders Australia has issued a challenge to the Senate crossbench to re-establish the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

The challenge was delivered in an open letter to the crossbench Senators published in newspapers in every state and territory on Monday (16 March).

"Master Builders is challenging the crossbench Senators to live up the trust placed in them by their electors and not deny the community more and affordable community infrastructure and jobs," Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia, said.  

"A vote for the ABCC is a vote for more and affordable schools, hospitals, childcare centres, aged care facilities and roads. Voting against will give the construction union free rein to continue their industrial thuggery to the cost of all Australians," he said.  

"All the industry is asking for is that the Senate crossbench stand up for the rights of the community and not give in to the union thugs and bullies," Harnisch said.

"The Gyles and Cole Royal Commissions and the Productivity Commission each concluded that there is an undeniable link between the industrial thuggery of the CFMEU and increased costs of public infrastructure," he said.

"Master Builders' decision to write this open letter was not taken lightly. Master Builders has been advocating the return of the ABCC's strong powers to the cross bench Senators over the past year," Harnisch said.

"Unions have rights but they also have responsibilities, particularly to the community they live in. They have a responsibility to comply with the standards of behaviour the community expects," he said.  

"It is the community that pays the price of increased construction costs due to union industrial thuggery," Harnisch said.  

"As representatives of the people, the crossbench Senators have a higher duty to ensure the overall wellbeing of their community. They must live up to the trust and responsibility granted to them and vote to re-establish the ABCC," Harnisch said.

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