FoI docs reveal ABCC colluded with MBA on election campaign

Published: 17 Jun 2022

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information have revealed ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney attended a secret meeting in February with the Master Builders to discuss the upcoming election and share campaign research materials and strategy, in clear breach of his statutory role as head of a supposedly independent regulator.

“McBurney must immediately resign and the ABCC must be abolished. He has compromised himself and his role as the head of a statutory body by positioning himself as a player on the political stage and the ABCC has been captured by the very builders it is supposed to regulate,” said Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Construction Secretary.

“These FoI documents also reveal meetings between the Master Builders and ABCC representatives in other states and territories where election strategy was discussed, along with multiple instances of the MBA referring union campaign materials and media releases to the ABCC.”

“These meetings and communications confirm the Union's long-held suspicion that the ABCC and MBA were colluding on political and media strategy in service to the former Coalition Government.”

“McBurney's meeting with the MBA on 17 February this year is more than just a stunning lapse of judgement on his part, it is further evidence of how deeply corrupted the ABCC became in its pursuit of the political objectives of the Morrison Government.”

“It is astonishing that the head of a statutory body would meet with lobbyists for the builders he is supposed to regulate to discuss partisan political strategy and to share campaign research and materials on the eve of a Federal Election.”

“The fact that similar meetings were held with ABCC representatives and MBA branches in other states and territories shows how comprehensively the ABCC has been captured by the very people whose behaviour it is supposed to police.”

“The Master Builders ran an aggressive media campaign against Labor's policy during the election using the same research materials shared with Commissioner McBurney to push media attack lines on Labor's policy to abolish the ABCC.”

“The ABCC's pattern of bias is clear. It aggressively targets workers and their unions while ignoring the illegal activities of builders who rip those workers off and put their lives at risk.”

“Its role has never been about making the industry better and safer. Its purpose has always been to deliver a political return for the Liberal Party.”

“The ABCC is shameless and nakedly partisan. It must be abolished.”