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Stop standover tactics on small business people

Ensuring Integrity

COSBOA calls on the Federal Parliament to support the ‘ensuring integrity’ Bill which will give the Federal Court and Fair Work Commission appropriate powers to deal with the bullying and mistreatment of small business people in Australia.

Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, stated ‘There is no democracy on the planet without unions, they are an essential, but ours aren't trusted. The few bad unionists give the rest a worse name. Currently some unions, the biggest such as the TWU and those from the C part of the CFMEU, will threaten, bully and stand over law abiding small business people who are just doing their job. Some union members will unilaterally impose black bans on businesses whose owner has made some statement with which the particular union or individual does not agree. It does not matter that the statement is correct or that we live in a society with freedom of speech. This behaviour is akin to fascism and must be confronted.”

COSBOA supports the proposal to:

  • disqualify officers of registered organisations who breach their duties, have a history of breaking the law or are otherwise not fit and proper people to hold office; and

  • deregister an organisation or remove the rights or privileges of part of the organisation, where the organisation or its senior officers act corruptly, ignore court orders, or repeatedly break the law.

Mr Strong also commented ‘I spent the first 6 years in the role of CEO of COSBOA basically ignoring the unions and concentrating on the serious issues we had with big businesses and with policy associated with competition, contract law, late payments and red tape. We have achieved much in those areas. Interesdtingly COSBOA did not support the ‘Work Choices’ campaign when approached as the then council at the time said that we had greater issues. Now we find small business people are the targets of illegal and vicious actions from some unions and some of their members. This has to stop and is a major focus of COSBOA.

We note that this legislation will have the same impact on industry bodies who abuse their power and we support that approach as bad behaviour is not limited to unions. We know that it has happened in industry associations including for example a failed CEO who destroyed the Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers’ Association (QRTSA) and was eventually charged and found guilty of fraud and soliciting secret commissions. This illegal activity should have been dealt with much earlier before the association was damaged beyond repair. This proposed legislation would help better target wrong doing in unions and registered business associations.”

Mr Strong added “we urge the Parliament to get behind the Bill. It is essential for the wellbeing of small business people and their employees. We need the responsible unions, and there are plenty of them, to also support this legislation. Only unions or union members who act like criminals or who do not value democracy will oppose this worthy legislation.”

Also refer to this article in the AFR

Refer to this report on "Trust in Unions in the OECD".

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