A new ad on the TV has made claims that ice dealers have more rights than construction workers when prosecuted by the Coalition’s proposed watchdog, but legal experts are slamming the commercial, calling it “nonsense”.
The ad, commissioned by Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) national secretary Michael O’Connor, shows an actor depicting an ice dealer being interrogated.
He is told he has “the right to remain silent and you have the right to a lawyer of your choice”.
It then cuts to an older construction worker in the same position who doesn’t appear to have the same rights, instead being informed “you don’t have the right to remain silent and you don’t have the right to a lawyer of your choice”.
The ad ends with the statement: “If Malcolm Turnbull gets his way, a worker will have less rights than an ice dealer”.
But Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has hit back at the construction union behind the prime time ad, saying it uses “scaremongering” tactics, while legal experts said it was based on a “flawed” comparison.
The ad aired earlier this month when Parliament was mid-debate regarding the Coalition’s Bill to bring back the Australian, Building and Construction Commission watchdog.
Bond University Law School assistant professor Joel Butler told ABC’s Fact Check, “The difference is significant: even if a person giving evidence to the ABCC admits that they committed some wrongdoing, that ‘confession’, as far as the law is concerned, never happened.
“The person’s ‘right to silence’ is therefore preserved.’’
Senator Cash told The Australian it was “inexplicable how the union can justify spending so much of their member’s money on expensive advertising campaigns that have been found to be false and complete nonsense”.
But, as Fact Check pointed out, an ice dealer giving evidence to the Australian Crime Commission is also forced to answer questions.
“Compelling people to answer questions or provide documents is not new, and will continue to happen even if Mr Turnbull does not “get his way”,” the website added.