Nick Xenophon to sue ‘desperate’ CFMEU over billboards
The Australian, 15 February 2017
Crossbench Senator Nick Xenophon has revealed he has commenced legal proceedings against the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union for their Adelaide billboards targeting him after he supported changes to toughen up the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Senator Xenophon said he always supported an earlier introduction to the new building code linked to the ABCC and slammed what he said was an “unprecedented personal attack” being run against him in newspaper, TV and billboard advertisements.
He argued the CFMEU was a “desperate organisation” that was “willing to say and do anything” and that its “lies need to be called out.”
Speaking outside parliament house in Canberra, Senator Xenophon said he rejected suggestions that he had been lobbied by “big developers” to support the government’s changes to reduce the transition period for compliance with the new building code from two years to only nine months.
“In fact, I have been lobbied by small and medium builders who are concerned about the bullying and intimidation on building sites,” Senator Xenophon said.
“What we’ve seen in South Australia in the last few days is an unprecedented personal attack on me,” he said.“This campaign against me is a pack of lies and I’ll address them very briefly, one by one.”
“Firstly, it says that I compromised workers’ safety when my record on workers safety (was) to push for industrial manslaughter laws (and) to insist that the (new building) code has clauses in respect of safety.”
“Second, to say I am against apprentices is disgusting.”
“Thirdly, to say that I somehow support Chinese steel is a monstrous lie given that I negotiated with the federal government the biggest changes in procurement laws in this nation’s history.”
“They are just some of the lies that are being peddled by the unions.”
Senator Xenophon said it was with a “heavy heart” that he instructed his lawyers yesterday to begin “legal proceedings against the CFMEU for billboards they put up in Adelaide.” He argued he had “no choice” but to take action.
“It is defamatory,” Senator Xenophon said. “It is something that I have to take action against.”