May 17, 2010

When is a car bomb not worthy of condemnation? When the target is the CFMEU

The reason a terrorist-style attack on its NSW headquarters can be ignored is because the union represents a danger to the political and media elites, writes a former CFMEU insider.

So my old workplace was attacked with a car bomb last week. There are not many people in this country who can make that statement! The attack occurred in suburban Western Sydney, missing by less than an hour a community group meeting in the building. A group of people stole a car, loaded it with canisters of petrol, smashed it through a three-metre high wrought iron gate and crashed it into the front doors of a three-storey office block. I had a look at the damage myself less than 12 hours after the attack.  The picture to my eyes looked very Baghdad indeed.


Amazingly, since the attack, not one state or national political figure has come out and condemned the violence. The reason? The target was the NSW headquarters of the construction division of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union. Imagine for a moment, if such an attack had been perpetrated on any other part of civil society. A church. An RSL. A scout hall even. Our political leaders would have been racing each other to the scene of the crime. Jostling to inspect the damage, crunch over the broken glass, comfort the staff, condemn the violence. It would have been (mis)named as a terrorist attack. Bi-partisan condemnation would have come from all levels of government. The papers would be full of it for days. Instead we get this ... silence. The attack got good electronic media coverage Friday but major papers such as the so-called "paper of record" in my home town, the Sydney Morning Herald, literally ignored the attack. For the readers of the SMH and The Australian, the attack just simply never happened. Not worthy of being reported on it seems. Middle-class indolence at its most revealing. But I am mostly angry at Kevin Rudd and our political leaders. Rudd and IR minister Julia Gillard have shown their true colours here. They are fakes. Shallow fakes. A serious attempt to terrorise and intimidate a key plank of our civil society and they are mute. Too busy seeking reflected glory from Jessica Watson, in Rudd's case. For these people, including Kristina Keneally, the puppet in NSW, condemning outrages must clearly never be about principle. This incident has demonstrated how there must always be a cynical political calculation behind every expression of sympathy or outrage. Some hollowman down in Canberra must have just done the calcs on Rudd or Gillard coming out on this and decided it didn't fit the government's "narrative." Or something. Best ignored. Clearly our political leaders are happy to associate themselves with a disaster when politically expedient, but run a mile when its not. That's not what leadership is in my book. What a bunch of frauds. The hypocrisy revealed in this incident is sickening. A bit of blue language on a building site and there are screaming headlines, a politicised Royal Commission (which could not find any of the corruption and organised crime in the building industry because it was only looking for it among the unions) and an industrial police with powers and an agenda that would make the Gestapo proud.  But drive an improvised explosive device into a union office? Somewhere a cricket is audible in the silence. The shocking explanation is that what happened at Lidcombe simply does not fit with the anti-CFMEU agenda of the political and media elites in this country. The CFMEU has all sorts of problems, I should know I used to work there. But the reason a terrorist-style attack on its NSW headquarters can be ignored in this manner is because the union represents a danger to the political and media elites. Along with just a handful of other effective unions, it remains an example, an imperfect and flawed example, of ordinary people having a little bit of power in their working lives. That's why the CFMEU is fair game.

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29 thoughts on “When is a car bomb not worthy of condemnation? When the target is the CFMEU

  1. whatiris

    I’m completely perplexed by how little coverage this has gotten.

  2. daveliberts

    Great article. The inconsistency between reporting on the war on terror and an actual car bomb landing in an organisation which is involved in various political issues screams out loud.

  3. Keith is not my real name

    Honest question – How do you know it was a “group” of people?

  4. Pamela

    What a joke the media and politicians have shown themselves to be. If this had been Liberal party headquarters we would still be hearing about it.
    However selectivity as to what is newsworthy and important as ever depends on who is an acceptable victime.
    A family drowning at sea is a tragedy and it is-
    BUT so are 5 asylum seekers drowning at sea as they set out on a bunch of tyres seeking rescue for the men , women and children on their failing boat.

    Guess the CFMEU and the asylum seekers are in the same boat.

  5. New Cassandra

    What a load of self rightous twaddle. So the “Insider” considers the CFMEU to be in the same decent society as churches, scout halls and RSLs.

    Guess what – you are thought of by the great majority as no better than bikies, and no one really cares when those thugs turn on each other.

    At least the bikies try to improve there image by having toy runs.

  6. AbeSafron

    Firstly, all Australians should deplore acts of violence. We only have to look to Thailand to understand that our freedom of speech and expression is priceless.

    Having said that let me say this… How dare former CFMEU Insider (read – current CFMEU lackie) defend an organisation that has perpetrated so much violence on others over the decades in Australia.

    Here is an organisation that allegedly kicked in the windows and physically threatened the greenies in Tasmania; who have been allegedly involved in a myriad of physical assaults over the decades; whose one time leader used to carry a shot gun in the boot of his car and whose violence to get their way has only possibly been ‘outgunned’ by the reign of the Painters & Dockers union on the Australian waterfront in the 9160s and 70s….

    Yes, we all deplore acts of terrorism, and the person who car bombed the CFMEU in Sydney should be jailed, but maybe Rudd and Gillard want to stay well clear on the CFMEU because of the union’s acidic nature over the decades.

    Violence begets violence.

    Uncle Abe

  7. angelamews

    It’s typical of a union like the CFMEU to cry foul when something like this happens to them! What about all their victims over the years?

  8. Liz45

    Abesafron – It’s ironic isn’t it? With a pen name like yours, you have the audacity to refer to another time and other people? No doubt you also justified and continue to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq, becuase Saddam Hussein was a bad man, and so all the people in the country are also bad by association – even after his death? The 1.6 million dead Iraqis, and the homeless, the unemployed and the babies being born with genetic deformities shouldn’t complain? Thank goodness you’re not on ‘the bench’?

    angelamews – As above! Provide proof. The fact is, that the Cole Commission didn’t bring up one example of corruption by the workers, who most belong to the CFMEU! Go and look at the findings.

    Coupled with this fact is the response of the Howard govt which introduced the Australian Building and construction Commission, which has more powers than either state or federal police. For example; there’s no presumption of innocence; no right to remain silent and a person does not have the right to a solicitor of their choice(this is the same as the component of the Anti-Terrorism Legislation).
    In plain terms this means, that if you have a conversation with a co-worker(or anyone else for that matter) at a barbeque out of work time you can be brought before the ABCC – you don’t have the right to remain silent(jail of 6 months) nor the presumption of innocence, and if you discuss the interview with your wife/husband/partner, you can be also jailed for 6 months.

    Tell me what part of living in a so-called democracy condones this type of behaviour, with no evidence let alone proof of breaking the law? How would you like to be hauled in for an interview after a social gathering at your home or workplace? If this is part of a fair go, it’s not for me! Evan Ivan Milat and the brutal murderers of Anita Cobby were entitled to the legal rights to which I referred! When we divvy up the legal rights of citizens depending on whether we agree with them or not, we’re no better than Saddam Hussein or any other despot! You either support the rule of law or you don’t!
    Jack Mundey was demonised too – now he’s a national treasure, of which he is!

  9. angelamews

    Oh dear Lizzie, you sound like CFMEU Insider (former that is) mum!

    You talk about another time and other people, but weren’t those CFMEU people down in Tassie kicking the Jesus out of the poor greenies car; and wasn’t that a CFMEU official in the video. And didn’t they threaten them physically?

    Deary me, Lizzy45, take off the blinkers realise that the CFMEU is ‘begetting’ what it has dished out over the years.

    It isn’t right that they were car bombed, but I agree with a previous reply… how do we know it wasn’t the CFMEU themselves seeking some some form of sympathy. hang on I shall get the violins out!

    And, right back at you tell me what sort of democracy allows thugs like the CFMEU to threaten fellow citizens. they are something of the past. politically and in every other way.

    Sorry Lizzy45 but thats the plain truth so swallow it!

  10. Liz45

    angelamews – You have not provided one shred of proof! I’ve met many members of the CFMEU, in fact I proudly walked with many during the May Day rally. These workers and their families have been striving for an increase in their wages for about 2 yrs now. They are family people, just like you and I. They mine the coal that provides your electricity! They provide the homes that ordinary people live in. I don’t judge people via a video that the media uses, nor do I judge the many members I’ve met by actions of the past. I’m also old enough to remember false videos and libellous so-called ‘evidence’ used over the years to blacken individuals and unions. The more militant and active the Union, the more money spent to blacken its name. This is an old trick that started in this country with the shearers strike of 1890. I also know, that the CFMEU like the MUA and many other unions have supported aboriginal people and others who are used and abused in this country!

    I don’t have to “swallow” your s**t at all! If it wasn’t for Union support, I’d never have been financially or physically able to sue my employer for negligence which 26 yrs later still causes disabling and acute pain. I took the action and they were found to be negligent! Take your anti union garbage and go to hell!

    Finally, I don’t want to live in a country, where the justice system only works for the ‘chosen’ but allows all sorts of crimes against those it doesn’t ‘choose’! Take a look at what “democracy” means? Not your version, thankfully! We should all be able to take comfort in a real justice system, not one designed by you and your mob!
    If CFMEU members were involved in crimes of violence, the relevant govts would be pushing for them to at least be charged, at best to be de-registered? I haven’t heard one word in this direction via the media, either on a state level or by AFP? Again, provide the proof or shut up! You don’t bother me one bit!

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