Andrews Labor government goes weak on militant unions

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    Andrews Labor government goes weak on militant unions

    THE Andrews government has again caved in to union pressure, watering down laws designed to curb militant behaviour and enable construction companies to do their jobs unhindered.
    Business yesterday warned the government that companies had the right to execute their work without union interference after Labor flagged that Coalition-era “move-on’’ legislation would be repealed.
    Victoria’s Attorney-General Martin Pakula said the government would repeal Coalition laws that placed tighter provisions around when, where and how unions and other protesters could operate. Dismissing the laws as “draconian”, Mr Pakula said they were excessive because they created five new grounds for the use of move-on powers.
    He claimed there already were sufficient laws to respond to illegal protests when any demonstration breached the peace, endangered the safety of others, damaged property or was a risk to safety.
    “Victoria doesn’t need Bjelke-Petersen-style laws designed to silence dissent and outlaw peaceful protests,’’ he said. “The Liberals tried to punish nurses who stood up for their patients, and they tried to silence farmers who were concerned about coal-seam gas. The Liberal move-on laws were an extraordinary attack on the right of Victorians to have their say.’’
    Business yesterday called for the government to be careful when overhauling the legislative framework. This comes after the government abolished the former Napthine government’s construction code, designed to make unions more accountable.
    Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Mark Stone said to ensure business competitiveness and certainty over major projects, there needed to be a legislative framework that protected business from illegal protests.
    “Laws must provide Victoria Police with adequate powers to keep the peace, protect the safety of individuals and their property and allow employers and employees to enter worksites and operate their businesses without risk or unnecessary disruption,’’ Mr Stone said.
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