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Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Page: 4261

Mr BRIGGS (7:50 PM) —Over the last couple of days in this place we have seen this desperate Rudd Labor government try any tactic possible to divert the Australian people’s attention from their disastrous decision to impose a great big new tax on the Australian mining industry.

So desperate have the Prime Minister and his senior ministers become, they are now trying to damage the opposition’s campaign against this great big new tax on the Australian mining industry by turning to a very old and tried Labor tactic of calling into question the opposition’s motives.

Over the last couple of days there have been several examples of the most senior Labor ministers, including the Prime Minister, suggesting that the opposition’s campaign against this tax is simply a way to get donations—and the minister at the table nods her head. For example, yesterday in this place the Minister for Resources and Energy said:

The only people arguing against higher taxation for the resources sector in Australia are Tony Abbott and the opposition, because all they are interested in are grubby donations from certain sectors of the Australian community.

On the same day the Treasurer said:

We know what disrespect they have for themselves (the opposition) because they have sold out to the mining industry on this very question.

And finally the Prime Minister himself described the federal opposition as a ‘puppet’ of the Minerals Council of Australia.

But, as always with the Australian Labor Party, you need to look hard beyond their base, political purposes to the truthfulness of their claims. Tonight I can reveal to the parliament that the Australian Electoral Commission returns for the last financial year show that the federal Australian Labor Party has received $80,500 from the mining industry in Australia, and the federal Liberal Party has received nothing. That is right: the Australian Labor Party has received over $80,000 and the federal Liberal Party nothing.

This revelation shows just how morally bankrupt this government has become. Not only has it completely lost the public argument on the great big new tax on mining; this information shows that this grubby government is attempting to put up a straw man by questioning the Liberal Party’s motives for opposing this great big new tax. We do not need donations to tell us this great big new tax is going to damage the Australian economy. We do not need donations to tell us this great big new tax will kill jobs. We stand against this great big new tax because it is the right thing to do.

The only party in this country that is owned by one section of the community is the Australian Labor Party. Australian Labor Party is an owned and operated entity of the trade union movement in this country. In the last three years, the Australian Labor Party has received some $20 million in donations from the trade union movement. On top of this amount is the $56.7 million spent by the trade union movement campaigning themselves. The Liberal Party of Australia, of course, has received nothing.

Today we saw some of the benefits that the trade union movement gets from these donations, when the head of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, Mr John Lloyd, was given his marching orders by the Deputy Prime Minister. This is the agency that brought the worst excesses of the Australian union movement into line, and the head of the agency gets the sack—a fair return for the $20 million investment by the unions. And of course there was a $10 million sweetener in the budget a fortnight ago for Labor’s trade union masters—a revolving slush fund if ever there was one.

But donations are something that the Labor Party in this country specialises in. Today in the Australian newspaper an article by Imre Salusinszky reports:

Labor’s disarray in NSW has not led to any discount in the prices the party is demanding of businesses for access to senior state government ministers.

It goes on to say:

Brochures sent out from Labor’s Sussex Street headquarters last week for the party’s annual Business Dialogue program reveal an unchanged asking price of $110,000 for the most expensive package, Foundation Partner.

It appears that for a mere $110,000 you can get access to New South Wales ministers, including ‘a private boardroom lunch with one senior minister and four places at Premier Kristina Keneally’s end-of-year drinks’.

Never has the Australian parliament seen a bigger bunch of hypocrites than the modern Australian Labor Party. Because this Prime Minister has failed to make the case for his great big new tax on mining, he has turned to desperate political smears.

The SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Mr BRIGGS —I seek leave to table the donation records from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Leave not granted.