The minister, who is also the attorney-general, has told the Australian Financial Review that deregistering the CFMMEU is the best way to grapple with its “unlawful behaviour”.
“The ultimate sanction that you have to have against an unlawful organisation is to fairly say that ‘your unlawfulness means that you can’t enjoy all of the rights and benefits of lawful registration’”, he said.
“So ultimately, here, the appropriate sanction is to deregister an organisation like the CFMEU.”
Porter says the Ensuring Integrity Bill would make deregistering such unions easier.
The bill was introduced to parliament in 2017 but suffered a blow last year when the coalition couldn’t rally enough support for it among the Senate crossbench.
In the new parliament, the Liberals will need to convince at least four crossbench Senators to support them to get laws through.
The minister’s comments come amid an ongoing controversy involving Victorian construction union boss John Setka.
Setka’s membership of the Labor Party has been suspended, pending a move to expel him at a national executive meeting on July 5, over accusations he told colleagues anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty’s advocacy has led to men having fewer rights.
The Victorian secretary of the CFMMEU rejects the allegations.
The ACTU and more than a dozen individual unions, including the three biggest in the country, have called on Setka to step aside.
He has the backing of the national tier of the CFMMEU, but his Victorian deputy Shaun Reardon quit the post on Thursday over the issue.
“Due to the irreconcilable differences between myself and … John Setka it is with a heavy heart I hereby give my resignation to the branch,” Reardon said in an email to colleagues.
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