Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Shadow Attorney-General

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Senator for Western Australia


29 FEBRUARY 2024


Minister Tony Burke and the weak Albanese Labor Government are refusing to stand up for vulnerable women workers who want the right to leave Australia’s most militant union, the CFMEU.

In the Senate today Labor said they would not support a private Senators’ Bill brought forward by Senator Jacqui Lambie. Senator Lambie’s bill will enable the manufacturing division of the CFMEU, which includes the Textile, Clothing & Footwear workers, timber workers and furniture workers, to hold a secret ballot to consider whether they wish to demerge from the CFMEU.

Senator Michaelia Cash said the Coalition strongly supported the Bill.

“We have seen numerous examples of intimidation, standover tactics and even violence from members of the CFMEU,’’ Senator Cash said.

“It is no wonder that textile workers, including a very large number of women, want to split off from the CFMEU and form their own organisation,’’ she said.

“Labor talks a big game about standing up for women but when it comes to a test like this they show their true colours,’’ Senator Cash said.

“We know Labor hates small businesses but it’s also obvious now that they hate small unions as well,’’ she said.

In 2020 the Coalition brought forward and passed important legislation allowing greater freedom for registered organisations, which the Labor Party actually supported at the time. Now Labor has removed those freedoms and refuses to back their re-instatement.

“This Government is hopelessly beholden to the big unions and in particular the CFMEU. We know its all about the millions of dollars those large unions give to Labor,’’ Senator Cash said.

“Minister Burke and the entire Labor side should bow their heads in shame,’’ she said.