Militant unions such as the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union could be disbanded under new laws being proposed by the Morrison Government.

Attorney-General Christian Porter unveiled on Saturday the new bill, which it will introduce when parliament returns next week for the final sitting of the year.

Under the proposed laws, registered organisations that have been together for at least five years could apply to the Fair Work Commission for a ballot to de-merge from their joint organisation if it had a record of failing to meet standards, workplace and safety laws.

"It means that decent, hardworking parts of an amalgamated union that are dissatisfied with the state of their union will have an opportunity to leave, if that is their wish and this bill is passed by parliament," Mr Porter said.

"Whilst registered organisations cover both employer and employee organisations, the appalling behaviour of the CFMMEU has driven some divisions within that organisation to consider their options."

Attorney-General Christian Porter says the government will introduce new industrial relations bills next week. NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Attorney-General Christian Porter says the government will introduce new industrial relations bills next week. NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

This is the government's second attempt to seize on divisions the CFMMEU has had with construction union secretary John Setka.

In May shelved its union-busting Ensuring Integrity Bill - which would give the court the power to disqualify officials or cancel the registration of organisations that don't work in the interest of their members - in a move to appease the unions as they worked with government on emergency industrial relations changes during the pandemic.

Labor MP Linda Burney confirmed the opposition would look at the legislation.

"But I make the point … that this has been an ideological obsession of Christian Porter and the government for a long time in terms of breaking up the unions," she told ABC.

"The union movement is important to the Labor Party and obviously this legislation is important to the party as well."

The government will also introduce its industrial relations omnibus reforms, which it has spent several months working on with unions and business groups.

Originally published as Push to break up unions


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