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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2272

Trade Unions


Mr VASTA (Bonner) (14:39): My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry representing the Minister for Jobs and Innovation. Will the minister outline to the House why it is important that the leaders of unions and employer organisations always act in the best interests of their members? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?


Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry) (14:40): I thank the member for Bonner for his question. It's a very serious question because employees around Australia should be able to feel safe when they go to work and go about their business every day, expecting to be able to do so free of abuse and free of being intimidated.

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston is warned.

Mr PYNE: All of us should be shocked, including the member for Kingston, who I'm surprised is standing up for this kind of behaviour of the CFMEU.

The SPEAKER: The minister will pause for the second. I am going to give the member for Kingston the benefit of the doubt because the member for McMahon is in my line of sight. I've warned the member for Kingston twice. If she interjects again she'll be out. The member for McMahon needs to find a seat, otherwise he can keep walking.

Mr PYNE: We would all be shocked in this House at the treatment of the workers at the Oaky site, who were going to work and being attacked by members of the CFMEU, being shouted at and verbally abused with phrases like, 'I'll effing rape your kids, you C'—many of us have children—or, 'I'll rip out your spine,' or, 'I'll hit you with a crowbar.' What kind of people say things like that in this country? People at a CFMEU protest shouting at workers going about their everyday business, going to work to be able to feed their wives or their husbands and their children.

This is the CFMEU where 77 of their officials are currently facing charges in court; with $13½ million worth of fines, record fines delivered against the CFMEU; and that have given $2.5 million in donations to the ALP just in the last three years. Yet this Leader of the Opposition turns up to their rallies and says he'll rip up the IR laws that the Labor Party introduced and that we have added to. He welcomes them into the factional deals in the ALP fora in Victoria. He allows them to help preselect candidates. He allows them to help set policy. This is the CFMEU that Bob Hawke says he would throw out of the Labor Party if he were the Labor leader.

Yesterday, the member for Isaacs attempted a pathetic conflict of interest connection with the Prime Minister. The member for Isaacs, as the shadow Attorney-General, should be ashamed, as should the shadow minister for justice—talk about conflict of interest!—of being in a party that's accepted $2.4 million worth of donations from the CFMEU. Yet the shadow Attorney-General and the shadow minister for justice are supposed to oversight that union if they should ever grace these benches again. It is disgraceful. If we're talking about conflicts of interest, the member for Isaacs and the shadow minister for justice should be demanding the CFMEU get thrown out of the forums of the Labor Party, not doing grubby factional deals with them.