PM kick-starts unofficial campaign

Hard hats: tick.


Media pack: tick. A late prime minister: tick.

Tuesday might not have been the official start of an election campaign but it sure felt like it.

Fresh from getting the trigger for a double-dissolution July 2 election from the Senate, Malcolm Turnbull headed out to a multi-storey construction site in Canberra.

Workers milled around the Geocon apartment complex in Belconnen with overhead cranes, some wearing their fluorescent CFMEU jumpers.

A sticker on a container behind Mr Turnbull as he addressed reporters read: “Australia works best when we say Union Yes”, with a big red tick.

But there was little love for the unions from the prime minister or Employment Minister Michaelia Cash when the pair finally arrived after a lengthy partyroom meeting at Parliament House.

Both were buoyant after parliament passed legislation abolishing the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, a body created by the Gillard government with the strong support of the Transport Workers Union.

And they were still upbeat about the government’s bid to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission at a joint sitting of the new parliament.

“If you have the rule of law in this industry then you you’ll have more construction, more construction jobs, better construction jobs,” Turnbull told reporters.

Cash went further, reminding the media throng and nearby workers there were more than 100 CFMEU officials facing the courts or the Fair Work Commission.

Turnbull was reluctant to fire the starting gun on the election campaign, out of respect for Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove who’s role it is to issue the writs for an election.

“I have a very strong expectation,” he said of the July 2 day.

You can bet it won’t be the last construction site sojourn we see in the next 10 weeks.