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Union-busting bill torpedoed

Lambie

It's back to the drawing board for the Morrison government after a shock defeat for its Ensuring Integrity bill.

The legislation, to further regulate unions, was rejected by Labor and the Greens, with the help of One Nation and Jacqui Lambie.

One Nation had initially backed the legislation, before a last-minute change of heart.

The construction industry is demanding answers following the surprise outcome. 

“The thousands of small builders and tradies that are victims of construction union bullying will be gutted by this. They deserve an explanation from those senators that rejected the Bill about why they voted to let the bullies win,” said Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn.

In a typically colourful media statement, Senator Lambie says she rejected it because it went too easy on repeat offenders like CFMEU figure John Setka, while throwing well-behaved unions "under the bus". 

"If the Government really wanted to get rid of Setka they wouldn’t have drafted the bill like this. They would have backed amendments that would have lined him up and taken him down," she said. 

"They would have supported my amendments. They had the chance to. But they didn’t because they were too cocky that they’d get their win without me. Well, guess what. Look where that gets you."