June 15, 2010 - Thousands rallied and marched around Australia in support of Ark Tribe, a construction worker possibly facing jail for simply failing to attend an interrogation by the construction industry police “Star Chamber” - the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
Workers held an overnight vigil outside the ABCC offices in Melbourne, 500 rallied and marched in Sydney and up to 1,500 rallied outside the Adelaide Magistrate's court. Trade unionists from other parts of the country have gone to Adelaide to show their solidarity.
Inside the court, lawyers began their defence of Tribe. According to CFMEU National Secretary Dave Noonan, Tribe's lawyers “argued that the ABCC had not correctly begun the prosecution - because the person authorising the prosecution did not have the power to do so. As a result they said the charges should be thrown out.”
“Lawyers for the Commonwealth DPP contested the argument and the magistrate moved for an adjournment.”
Both sides are making written submissions on the matter, with the court reconvening on Friday June 18, 10am. It is expected that the magistrate will then make a determination on this particular issue.
Supporters are asked to be outside the Adelaide Magistrate's court at 9am on Friday.
If the arguments of Tribe's lawyers are upheld, the case will end. If not, it will continue with both sides making arguments on substantive issues.
Workers, members of the broader community and unionists, were out in force outside and inside the court in support of Ark and against the ABCC, which was introduced by the former Howard Liberal-National government but is still kept in place under Rudd Labor.
“If Ark goes in, construction workers across the country will go out', said Noonan in an email to supporters.
Above: Unionists from other cities join Adelaide protests, June 15 & 16, 2010. Photos by Tim Gooden.
Above: Adelaide rally, June 15, 2010. Photos by Gemma Weedall.
Above: Sydney rally, June 15, 2010. Photos by Pip Hinman.
Above: Adelaide rally, June 16, 2010. Photos by Gemma Weedall.