CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth. Picture: Daryl Wright
CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth. Picture: Daryl Wright

‘Silly stunt’: CFMEU’s scathing response to LNP alliance

THE CFMEU has issued a blistering response to a proposed plan by Federal LNP MPs to join forces for the October 31 state election.

A provocative email sent directly to CFMEU's Queensland mining president Stephen Smyth proposed the alliance after the union split from the Labor Party's left faction last month.

The letter asked the CFMEU to use its resources to back in the LNP at the state election.

It was penned by Senator Matt Canavan and signed by Susan McDonald, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd and Dawson's George Christensen.

In a statement, Mr Smyth described it as a "silly stunt".

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"I wish to place on the record the position of the CFMEU," Mr Smyth wrote back to the Federal MPs.

"We disagree with the assertion that the LNP supports coal mining jobs in Queensland.

"In the time you have been trusted with representing the interests of Queensland mining communities in federal parliament, you have overseen mass casualisation of permanent coal mining jobs.

"Right now, your Government is intervening in a High Court challenge against rights for casual coal miners."

He said workplace rights was non-negotiable when it came to the union's decision to support any candidate or party.

Mr Canavan responded to Mr Smyth, defending the LNP's stance on permanent work rights.

"We support the right of coal  miners to convert to permanent work after working a period of regular hours as a casual," he said.

"In fact, the LNP introduced legislation last year called the Fair Work Amendment (Right to Request Casual Conversion) Bill 2019.

"Unfortunately, the Labor party has opposed that bill so it has not been able to progress through the Parliament. 

"I will continue to fight for local jobs before anything else as I have done time and again throughout my career."

While in Mackay today, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington was asked whether she would accept the union's support, if it was given.

LNP Whitsunday candidate Amanda Camm, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Mackay candidate Chris Bonanno. Picture: Melanie Whiting
LNP Whitsunday candidate Amanda Camm, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Mackay candidate Chris Bonanno. Picture: Melanie Whiting

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"I'm pretty sure the CFMEU aren't going to be supporting us openly in the next state election," Ms Frecklington said.

"That's a matter for Matt Canavan and the people who wrote to the CFMEU."

It is understood the intention behind the email was to further inflame tensions between factions within Labor, while drawing attention to the internal battles over coal.



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