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Why CFMEU left the Left: 'Protection racket for duds like Jackie Trad'


The CFMEU will stick with Labor but has blasted the Palaszczuk Government ahead of the election.

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After a series of disputes on the Cross River Rail site, the CFMEU – both its mining and construction and general divisions – today quit the Left faction to become an unaligned Labor affiliate union.

In a statement, before calling a press conference, CFMEU construction division secretary Michael Ravbar described the Left faction as “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”.

“The leadership vacuum in the left has seen a once-powerful voice for working Queenslanders atrophy to the point where today it is little more than a creche for party hacks,” Ravbar said.

“The left factional leadership have consistently devoted far more energy to internal intrigues and power plays than to driving a policy platform that reflects both socially and economically progressive values.”

“In the process, the faction has become little more a protection racket for dud members such as Jackie Trad, who as former Deputy Premier bears much of the blame for the failure to look after workers’ interests even on major public projects such as Cross River Rail.”

The divisive comments will give the Liberal National Party a boost ahead of the October 31 election, potentially neutralising the issue of LNP in-fighting. It also comes amid preselection tensions caused by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk picking candidates herself.

Palaszczuk appeared unmoved by the CFMEU’s announcement – it is not the first time Ravbar has attacked the Government – and said unions were part of the labour movement.

“The CFMEU stands up for workers in this state just as the other unions do,” Palaszczuk said, adding that they would always do better under a Labor government.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles, who is also the leader of the Left faction, said the government would continue to work with unions through the pandemic and beyond.

“I think our entire team has proven this year how hard we’ll work together to protect the health and jobs of Queenslanders,” Miles said.

Trad declined to comment.

The CFMEU is one of the more aggressive unions and Ravbar has previously been pursued by authorities over his method of industrial relations.

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