Terror raid on building site
The Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) has demanded to know why Federal Police conducted a dawn armed raid on a building site in Port Melbourne last week, threatening the safety of more than 160 workers. Workers on the site were confronted by armed police who singled out all those of Asian appearance and herded them into a shed like cattle. The Federal Police were looking for allegedly illegal workers. The VTHC described the raid as "an inflammatory and brutal attack on workers in the building industry" and asked how the Federal Government could condemn dictatorial regimes in other countries for violating democratic rights when it ordered its police to violate the democratic rights of workers and victimise them based on their race. Further, the raid also contravened workplace health and safety regulations. "You do not send armed police into any workplace to conduct a raid without any protocols for ensuring workers safety. It is no exaggeration to say someone could have been killed in this raid. During the Federal Government's kangaroo court — the Cole Royal Commission into the Building industry — the union movement warned that Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott's obsession with destroying the building unions completely overrode and ignored serious workplace health and safety problems. "This raid takes his disregard for the safety of building workers to new heights," Mr Hubbard said. "Mr Hubbard said the manner in which the raid was conducted contravened workplace health and safety regulations. He said the fact that building sites were dangerous places should be apparent to anyone with common sense. He also noted that there are glaring discrepancies by authorities when targeting sites for people working illegally. "Why do our authorities turn a blind eye to the thousands of backpackers from the United States, United Kingdom and other European countries who are illegally working in call centres and offices around Australia?"