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Two months after slamming Labor, CFMEU has a change of heart

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Just weeks after vowing not to support the ALP, a powerful union  has bought into the Queensland election campaign with cash donations.

 

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The apparent about-face by the CFMEU comes as Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk defends the right of unions to campaign.

Labor has sought to disclose a $14,000 donation from the CFMEU’s Queensland branch, the first contribution of its kind in over a year.

It comes little more than two months after the CFMEU issued an explosive statement saying it would no longer support the Left faction in the Palaszczuk government or donate to Queensland Labor.

The union was especially critical of Jackie Trad, the deputy premier-turned-backbencher, and the government’s handling of the Cross River Rail project.

“Quite simply, the so-called left faction is now merely an impotent and self-serving echo chamber for a cabal of Peel Street elite who have totally lost touch with their working-class roots,” said the union’s Michael Ravbar.

While the CFMEU remains a Labor-affiliated union, at the time it vowed to only offer election support to union candidates, not the party itself. Since then, the ACT branch of the union has seemingly donated $5000 to Labor, and it has supported candidate and former CFMEU lawyer Ash Borg.

Deputy Premier and Left faction leader Steven Miles had predicted the Queensland branch of the CFMEU would continue to support Labor because it offered more for workers than the Liberal National Party.

The Queensland branch has continued to criticise Labor, or promote other parties, in support of its members.

Labor has now disclosed a $14,000 gift it says the CFMEU’s Queensland branch made to the party on October 20. The donation has yet to be independently reported by the union so is classified by the Electoral Commission of Queensland as “unreconciled”.

It comes as union and party volunteers, and some candidates, push for the LNP to be put last on how-to-vote cards, in contrast with Labor and Palaszczuk’s edict that One Nation be put last.

Asked today if she had a message for the unions, Palaszczuk encouraged all voters to compare Labor’s record with that of the LNP.

“This is what I will say about the unions: the unions will stand up for working men and women across this state,” Palaszczuk said, having repeatedly warned that an LNP government would cut thousands of jobs.

Yesterday, Palaszczuk said that candidates with conflicting preference advice for voters would be “read the riot act”. While she left that task to party headquarters, some candidates, particularly in regional areas, have only committed to preference One Nation last on their official how-to-vote cards, not other campaign material.

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