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Public and Greens rally behind Ark Tribe case

The Australian Greens have put their support behind rallies being held around Australia today in support of construction worker Ark Tribe who is facing 6 months in gaol for not attending an interview with the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

"It continues to be a disgrace that working people like Ark Tribe can be facing gaol for attending a workplace safety meeting," said Australian Greens Industrial Relations spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Ark Tribe would not be in this position if the ABCC had been abolished two years ago when the Howard Government was voted out by the Australian people, in large part because of its draconian workplace laws."

"It is unacceptable to have workplace relations laws that take away the right to silence, deny people their choice of lawyer, provide powers to compel evidence with the possibility of gaol for non-compliance, and impose severe restrictions on the rights of workers to organise and bargain collectively."

"The changes proposed by the ALP Government to the Building and Construction Industry legislation will keep the unfair coercive powers and the potential for building workers to be gaoled for refusing to attend interviews about such matters as safety meetings in one of the most dangerous industries in the nation," said Senator Siewert.

"The Australian Greens opposed the creation of the ABCC and its coercive powers and will continue to call for its immediate abolition. We introduced a Bill in August last year to repeal the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act and thereby abolish the ABCC."

"My colleague Mark Parnell has raised the treatment of Ark Tribe in the South Australian Parliament, and the Greens will continue the fight to ensure that hard-working Australians are not subjected to the punitive, unfair powers of the ABCC."

"The ABCC is an affront to our democracy, and we must ensure that the building industry is regulated just like any other industry - in a fair and just manner that balances the needs of productivity and the economy with the health, safety and democratic rights of workers," she concluded.

For more information or media inquiries, please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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