Today’s backflip by Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott on his threatened inquiry into the building industry demonstrates the lack of substance in the report of the Office of the Employment Advocate.

Mr Abbott said on national radio this morning that he was considering a Royal Commission following a recommendation by Employment Advocate Jonathan Hamberger that there was a case for broader investigation.

“As soon as this flimsy collection of unsubstantiated gossip from Mr Hamberger was exposed in the media, Mr Abbott ran a mile,” ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said today.

“Today’s backdown is a vote of no-confidence in the Employment Advocate by his new minister. It demonstrates that Mr Abbott is out of his depth. If there were grounds for investigation, Mr Abbott would have acted today.

“Mr Hamberger has effectively accused the state police of failing to act on these allegations. These are serious charges – Mr Abbott and his servant Mr Hamberger should provide evidence to support these claims.

“This farce is another example of a Government on the run. John Howard should be acting on the demands of all Australians to find out the real cause of the HIH collapse, which has hurt so many Australians.

“This is a failed attempt by John Howard and Tony Abbott to distract attention from their real problems caused by the GST’s punishing impact on the building industry and Australians generally.”

Mr Combet said the ACTU fully supported the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and in its ongoing campaigns for a better deal for building workers.