Turnbull’s anti-union Building Commission in bid to avoid scrutiny

Published: 4 Oct 2016

The Fair Work Building Commission is attempting to avoid scrutiny of its methods by cutting funding to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, according to the CFMEU.

CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said it’s interesting that the move by the FWBC to cut funds to the body that monitors its coercive powers (which includes no right to silence) comes after a report in which the Ombudsman was highly critical of the methods deployed by the FWBC.

“The Ombudsman recently made recommendations to Nigel Hadgkiss, the director of the FWBC, after finding the FWBC breached confidentiality and used questionable interviewing methods.

“This week, we learn that the FWBC has cut its funding to the Ombudsman.

“How is it possible that an organisation like the FWBC can operate without scrutiny?”

In its submission to the Senate inquiry into the ABCC bill, taking place in Melbourne today, the Commonwealth Ombudsman complained that payments from the FWBC – before they were stopped – were late, impeding the ability of the Ombudsman to do its job properly. 

The Ombudsman has continued to conduct reviews of the FWBC – fulfilling its statutory role – despite the lack of funding from the organisation.

Mr Noonan said the reason for the cuts were not financial.

“There is only one reason that Mr Hadgkiss is not honouring his obligation to pay the Ombudsman. It’s because he doesn’t want any oversight or scrutiny in the methods he deploys.

“It appears Mr Hadgkiss wants to be a law unto himself.”