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


18 JUNE 2024


In a humiliating backdown, the Albanese Government has today been forced to announce its support for a Coalition policy of allowing the CFMEU manufacturing division a vote on whether it wants to de-merge from the militant union.

Workplace Relation’s Minister Tony Burke’s backdown came despite the Albanese Government voting against similar legislation in February to the benefit of John Setka.

Mr Burke’s backdown came as Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Senator Michaelia Cash announced the Coalition will introduce the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Standing Up Against Bullying, Thuggery and Intimidation) Bill 2024 when Parliament resumes next week.

The key mechanism of the Bill will enable a secret ballot to occur on the de-merger question. This has been requested by manufacturing workers to protect them from intimidation and retaliation.

Senator Cash said the Coalition will introduce the Bill in the wake of the intimidation, bullying and thuggery of CFMEU Victorian boss John Setka who last week made outrageous demands of the AFL to sack their umpire boss Steve McBurney

Mr Setka threatened disruptions on AFL-linked infrastructure worksites across the country because of Mr McBurney’s former role as head of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Senator Cash said the outrageous recent behaviour of Mr Setka highlighted the need to protect vulnerable workers from the CFMEU.

“These members of the manufacturing division are mostly women and they have wanted out of the CFMEU for a long time,’’ Senator Cash said.

“I’ve met with them in the past and they were very clear. They said that they were sick and tired of being associated with the actions of the militant members of the construction division of the CFMEU and in particular John Setka,’’ she said.