You will be hearing a lot more about me. None of it will be about leading a union that is delivering premium wages and conditions for workers in the industry, about pioneering a progressive drugs policy, or about the money we raise on site for the Royal Children’s Hospital.
It’s no coincidence that Shaun Reardon and I were arrested in December just before our EBA campaign and during the Government’s long standing crusade to pass the ABCC bill.
If you are a CFMEU official these days, you can be picked up by the police in your car on your way to the market on a Sunday morning with your wife and two infants in the back. As if you are a fugitive on the run from the law. The police know where I work and they could have come and done their business at any time during work hours without causing trauma to my wife and two little children.
In their desperation to weaken the union, they’ll stoop as low as they can.
What purpose is served by this kind of behavior?
It’s designed to make me look like a criminal. That has been the intention of all the things that they have thrown at us over the last three years – to discredit us by every means possible - to punish us for being a tough union that never takes a step backward when it comes to sticking up for workers in a high risk industry.
The lies in the media, the banning of our officials on site, the huge fines for taking a stand, the smearing of the union by the Liberal Government, the FWBC hounding us on site – it’s all designed to destroy the union so that you have no power and the bosses have all the power. It’s what’s happening the world over. More power given to the wealthy few, while the rest of us fight over breadcrumbs.
Staying strong. Staying focused. For you. For all of us.
As long as I lead this union, I will do my best to create a better world for working people. I was born into the working class, my parents worked in the factories and building sites that are the fabric of this city. I will never desert my class and I will never stop fighting, for you and for everyone who believes in a fair go.
If all of this is designed to take our eyes of the main game – getting a landmark EBA for workers in the industry - it is a spectacular failure. Because no matter what happens, we will not be distracted from what we have been elected to do: delivering good pay and conditions and doing everything we can to ensure our members get home safely every day.