A construction worker builds scaffolding at a building site in central Sydney May 27, 2010. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

The Australian Building and Construction Commission bill has passed the Upper House with support from the Nick Xenophon team, One Nation senators, Victorian senator Derryn Hinch and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm.

The amended industrial relations bill, which was a trigger for double dissolution election in July, passed the Senate this morning with 36-33 votes. “This is a great day for Australian families -- this is not union busting, this is economy boosting,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

The government secured the Bill after frenzied horse-trading and deal-making in the parliament. It compromised with crossbench Senator Derryn Hinch to remove retrospectivity from the new bill code. Furthermore, it compromised with Nick Xenophon to give preference to Australian companies while bidding for $60 billion in taxpayer-funded projects annually.

Now, the construction watchdog will monitor all the illegal activities that take place in the construction sector and will also introduce tougher penalties for any breach. Coercive powers will also be increased.

Business Council chief Jennifer Westacott has applauded the government’s move. “Four royal commissions over 40 years have provided unassailable evidence that the building and construction industry needs its own regulator. We are pleased the Senate recognised the inadequacy of current arrangements and took action to fix this problem,” she said.

“The ABCC will be empowered to deal with the systemic corruption and unlawful conduct identified in the industry. It will be an impetus for cultural change and ensure workers, unions and employers are all responsible for ensuring their workplaces operate lawfully.”

The ABCC was originally set up in 2005 during the Howard era and was abolished in 2012 by Australian Labor Party under Julia Gillard. In 2014, the Abbott government also made an attempt to reinforce the ABCC but they were defeated by just one vote.