Release type: Media Release


Workers to decide their own future


The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for the Arts

Workers in the Manufacturing Division of the Construction, Forestry and Maritime Employees Union (CFMEU) will be able to decide their own future under Albanese Labor Government legislation introduced today.

This Bill will give Manufacturing Division members a right to vote on whether to remain within the CFMEU – or leave it and go their own way.

It’s clear many Manufacturing Division members – including workers in heavily feminised industries like textiles – do not feel properly represented by the CFMEU.

The recent threatening and thuggish behaviour of John Setka has hardened the Government’s resolve to give members a choice. It’s not hard to see why those members might want to vote to leave.

This chance to vote was previously made available to the Mining and Energy Division of the CFMEU - which decided to split and form a separate union.

As well as giving union members this choice, this legislation will, if a ballot is supported:

  • provide guidance about the kinds of workers each union will cover
  • include safeguards to address any overlapping eligibility rules between the two resulting organisations
  • secure arrangements until 1 January 2034 by preventing the CFMEU from expanding its eligibility rules to overlap with the new organisation, unless the unions agree.

These reforms mean manufacturing members will have a genuine say in the organisation that represents them.

That means better outcomes for workers.