MEDIA RELEASE: Demerger Disgrace

The Electrical Trades Union’s Divisional Executive condemns Tony Maher’s deal with Christian Porter that sets working Australians and unions back decades.

This arrangement was made to solve a political headache for a small group of union officials at the expense of the broader labour movement. What is most disappointing is there was no meaningful consultation or input. Self-interest took precedence over solidarity.

The Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Withdrawal from Amalgamations) Bill 2020 is nothing more than a tool for the Morrison government to split and weaken unions. Backroom deals with Christian Porter should not determine a union’s future.  

Today we are calling upon the ACTU leadership and all affiliates to take urgent action and campaign to have the demerger bill repealed immediately. 

We also call on the Australian Labor Party to explain why it supported the bill in December last year and reverse this decision. Allowing this bill to pass the Senate without opposition from the ALP was a mistake that needs to be fixed. 

The COVID crisis has shown us Australia needs strong unions with the ability to organise better conditions, job security and safety at work. Maher’s secret backroom deal undermines unions, and Australian workers deserve better than that.

The Union movement is bigger than one individual and now more than ever we need to collectively fight for every Australian worker. 

On behalf of all working Australians and their families, the ETU is determined to see the demerger bill repealed in addition to its campaign to stop Scott Morrison’s Wage cutting IR Omnibus.

Quotes attributable to ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks:

“This demerger bill will leave a cancerous legacy.  The union movement needs to stand up and call on the Government to repeal it.”

“These laws were poorly drafted, ill-conceived with no regard whatsoever for the impact on the broader union movement.”

“This shouldn’t have gone through without a fight, and it’s up to the ALP to fix their mistake. The future of the union movement must not be determined on whim in a deal with Christian Porter.

 “After the year from hell that was 2020 and eight years without wage growth, working Australians need stronger unions. These demerger laws are the exact opposite of that.”

This article was publised on 8 March 2021.