Statement by John Setka

Published: 23 Jun 2017

My speech at Tuesday’s rally has been deliberately taken out of context and exploited by the Liberals who only want to attack workers’ rights.

The only thing that is actually under threat is construction workers’ lives which are under threat every day, yet ABCC inspectors continue to show systematic disregard for the value of workers’ lives.

We recently had a tragic fatality on site. The well-respected father and lifelong construction worker died in the arms of one of our organisers. When the ABCC arrived, they did nothing to address site safety or show concern for the workers and friends of the deceased. All they did was interrogate the traumatised workers about why the CFMEU was on site. This pattern has been repeated across the country.

We’ve never gone to people’s homes or involved their families and we never would. The thought of anyone going to someone’s home is reprehensible.

My speech reflected the depth of anger construction workers feel about the persecution they face from the ABCC. It’s the families of construction workers who are harassed. It’s the children of construction workers who are fearful when their dads are being threatened with jail and massive fines for standing up for their rights or fighting for better safety on the job.

The speech was made in the heat of the moment and reflects what’s really going on across the country under this anti-worker Government. But as a family man and father of three beautiful children, if my comments were taken out of context or if they came across in a manner that was threatening, then I truly apologise.