Labor is now calling for the resignation of the employment minister Michaelia Cash
Nigel Hadgkiss, the head of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, has resigned after admitting to breaching section 503 of the Fair Work Act over a two year period by misrepresenting the rights of union officials.
Hadgkiss breached the law by publishing website material that misrepresented the rights of union officials during entry to premises to meet workers. He also failed to correct the material despite concerns being raised by his employees.
The employment minister Michaelia Cash said she had known about the matter since October 2016.
Labor Senator Doug Cameron said not only should Hadgkiss have resigned, “but the Minister (Cash) should resign as well, she is responsible for him”.
"She should take responsibility for appointing someone who breached the law he was supposed to make sure was complied with,” said Cameron.
The ACTU secretary Sally McManus added that Hadgkiss was Minister Cash’s “champion in her fight against working people”.
“As head of the ABCC, he oversaw a draconian and authoritarian body that breached Australia’s international obligations, persecuted workers and stripped away the right of silence from ordinary hard working Australians,” McManus said.
In a statement, Cash said Hadgkiss played a pivotal role in restoring the rule of law to Australia’s building and construction industry, despite relentless opposition and appalling intimidation from lawless construction unions and their political supporters.
“The Government thanks Mr Hadgkiss for his service and wishes him well in his future endeavours,” said the statement.
Moreover, Master Builders Australia said Hadgkiss made a valuable contribution to restoring the rule of law in the construction industry.
“Mr Hadgkiss has played a crucial role over many years in combatting the thuggery and unlawful conduct of the building unions, particularly the CFMEU, including in his previous roles as Director of Building Industry Taskforce and Director of Fair Work Building and Construction,” said Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia.
“Today’s record penalties imposed on the CFMEU over its conduct and that of its officials including its New South Wales State Secretary highlight both the substance of Mr Hadgkiss’s work as Commissioner of the ABCC and the need for it to continue under his successor,” she said.
Hagdkiss will serve a two week transition period to facilitate a handover of his responsibilities to an acting Commissioner