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News Media Releases The madness must stop for Ark Tribe
The madness must stop for Ark Tribe
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 11:17

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk has called for an end to the two year nightmare brought by the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission) against South Australian construction worker Ark Tribe. A verdict is due in Tribe’s case on Wednesday.

Tribe has made more than seven trips to court over the past two years and Ms McGurk says Magistrate David Whittle must bring the saga to an end.

“While we all hope that Ark is found innocent, the case should never have been brought to trial in the first place. Magistrate Whittle needs to throw it out of court and end the madness,” Ms McGurk said.

“The situation is absurd. Australia is supposedly a country which treats everyone equally before the law, yet here is an example whereby someone working in a particular industry is treated differently to everyone else.

Ms McGurk said the case sent a worrying message to any worker who was concerned about workplace safety.

“Ark Tribe is not a terrorist, he wasn’t planning to blow up a government building. What he was trying to do is ensure that neither he nor any of his workmates were injured or killed as a result of unsafe conditions on their unsafe worksite in Adelaide.

“Even his employer has said subsequently that his complaints were justified and yet we have the perverse situation where he is facing a prison sentence for raising a legitimate safety concern. It is a dangerous industry where workers need to feel comfortable acting on safety concerns. The actions of the ABCC, especially around this case, will make the industry more unsafe as people are understandably scared to speak out.

The UnionsWA Secretary believes the Federal ALP must act immediately to abolish the ABCC and give construction workers back their rights.

“The Commission and the laws it polices are completely unnecessary. The rule of law functions perfectly well for the rest of Australian society so there should be no reason why it can’t adequately function within the construction industry.

“The Ark tribe case and the ABCC itself have been a complete waste of tax payer’s money. The Commission operates with a budget of more than $50 million per year and the cost of pursuing Ark Tribe is likely to run into the millions of dollars. For what? To hound a man who’s employer agrees he was in the right?

“There is also the considerable strain on Ark and his family who have had to go through the whole ordeal with him, not knowing if he will end up being jailed.

Ms McGurk said the positives to come from Ark’s ideal were the admirable strength of character shown by Ark himself and the impressive support from his union and from union members across the country.

“The construction unions and union members should be applauded for the support they have shown Ark throughout this ordeal, as should the thousands of members of the general public across the country who have sent messages of support and attended numerous rallies.

“The vast majority of Australians recognise the inherent double standards and ridiculousness of this court case. Hopefully on Wednesday we will see the end of this sad chapter in Australia’s history and Ark and his family can finally be allowed to get on with their lives.


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