Page 2357 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015
I make reference to the saying “birds of a feather stick together”. Those opposite seem as though they are going to stick together with their union mates. To defend them in the light of the allegations that we have heard recently in the ACT relating to the ACT construction industry would make them ostriches. They have had their heads in the sand and it is naive to think that just because they are the beneficiaries of this union’s largesse they should defend them every step of the way whilst there are substantial claims about the impropriety that these people are acting with on ACT construction sites.
But really the crux of it is that it is the businesses that have risked all and stood up, taken a stand and explained in detail the experiences that they have had, the intimidation they have faced, the harassment they have faced. Even an ACT public servant—and I will mention that in light of Mr Gentleman’s answer in question time today that he was not aware of any issue between the CFMEU and WorkSafe—knows about this. I point to evidence on the royal commission website, a witness statement from Joseph David Bartlett, who I believe is still a WorkSafe inspector with the JACS Directorate. He spoke of his experience on 25 February where he had a call from Claxton Construction on the after-hours WorkSafe phone. Mr Rossi had called him and said that there were union officials at a construction site in Mitchell wanting to stop a concrete pour.
Mr Bartlett’s statement goes on to detail the processes, step by step, that he took. He says that he became quite intimidated. This is at point 19 in Mr Bartlett’s statement:
I then had a conversation with Mr Hall and told him words—
Sorry, I have got the wrong point there. I have skipped a page. Needless to say, Mr Bartlett outlines point by point the steps that he went through in his job, diligently, to carry out his role as an inspector, albeit a new inspector. He does make reference to the fact that at that time he had only been in the job for some nine months and that he also called for backup to ensure that the decisions that he was making on the site were in fact correct. I am just trying to find the wonderful point—
Mr Gentleman: Where he shut the site down.
MR WALL: That is right—where the union movement was demanding that he shut the site down. He said that a certain union organiser, Mr Hall from the CFMEU, did not seem happy with his decision to not close the site as the engineer had already signed off on the formwork. He said of Mr Hall:
He got up close into my personal space and shouted aggressively at me, yelling at me words to the effect of ‘if you don’t—
and I am going to omit the “f” word there—
close the site and someone dies, you’ll go to jail!