The following media statement was released on November 25 by Tim Gooden, Secretary of Geelong Trades Hall Council.
“The decision of Adelaide magistrate David Whittle that Ark Tribe is innocent is a tremendous victory for Ark, his family and for working people across Australia”, Geelong Trades Hall Council Secretary, Tim Gooden said today.
Geelong Trades Hall congratulates Ark Tribe for his brave stand against unjust laws. The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (Ark’s union) has done a great job in the courts and ensuring Ark received all the legal help he needed.
“But Ark should never have been put through 18 months of torture simply for standing up for his workmates’ right to health and safety on the job.
“Until the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is scrapped the threat of future Ark Tribe cases will always be with us.”
Gooden called on the Federal government to immediately abolish the ABCC. “As Ark said after being found innocent, Julia Gillard must make clear which side she is on. Does she stand for equal rights for building workers or not?
“State governments should also stand up and be counted on this vital issue.”
Gooden, who is also a building worker, added that the magistrate’s grounds for dismissing the charges against Ark amounted to an explanation to the ABCC about how to win a conviction against a building worker who acts in the same way as Ark Tribe in the future.
“Whittle’s decision in effect says that, so long as a formal ABCC investigation is under way and the summons to appear before the ABCC is properly served, then a refusal to appear before the ABCC would bring a guilty verdict and the possibility of six months jail.” Gooden said.
Gooden concluded: “The whole union movement should be inspired by Ark’s courage to immediately crank up the campaign to force the Gillard government to ditch John Howard’s unjust laws against building workers and their unions.”
For further comment: Tim Gooden 0438 088 112