The defeat of the Morrison government’s grotesquely named “ensuring integrity” bill is a victory for union members and a humiliation for the government.
The Morrison government’s union-busting bill – backed by employer groups – was voted down in the senate late last year when crossbenchers joined Labor in opposing the bill.
The bill would have given the government new powers to deregister unions and disqualify their officials.
Chris Brodsky, an official with the Queensland branch of the CFMMEU, is credited with persuading the One Nation senators to oppose the bill.
He said they were persuaded after “taking the time to understand what the bill would do to unions”. He said the accusation Westpac had breached anti-money laundering provisions 23 million times highlighted the hypocrisy of the government’s bill.
The ACTU also conducted intensive lobbying of the crossbenchers bringing union members to Canberra to explain how unions were at risk of deregistration for campaigns such as advocating nurse-to-patient ratios or fighting asbestos company James Hardie.
The crossbench senators received 45,000 emails from workers asking them to block the bills in the days before the vote.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus said members from unions all over the country campaigned to stop the law.
“Without the efforts of hundreds of thousands of working people across Australia a law designed to hurt the rights of working people would now be law,” she said.
“Working people have stood up against an attack on democratic rights and won”.