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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3264


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (15:10): Thank you, Mr Speaker—

The SPEAKER: and, before she gets the call, I will ask the member for Sturt to return to the dispatch box to withdraw the reflection on the honourable member for Dobell.

Mr Pyne: I withdraw, Mr Speaker.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: Mr Speaker; I second the motion. It is vital that standing orders be suspended to provide the Prime Minister with the opportunity to explain her ongoing solidarity with the member for Dobell and her confidence in him, given the findings of a report that was handed down last Friday and the findings of a report from BDO Kendalls which she has in her possession, and whether she supports the decision of Fair Work Australia to refuse to cooperate with the New South Wales and Victorian fraud squads' investigations into the member for Dobell. And, as was apparent from the minister for employment, aka the minister for union bosses, extraordinary answers in question time, it is necessary for the Prime Minister to explain how it is that the minister for employment can say, 'We are certainly going through that report,' and 'We are certainly drawing it to the attention of the regulatory authorities to which we can,' and then, when he was asked in a later question, 'To which regulatory authorities?' he denied he had even said it. The Prime Minister must come into this House and explain how it is that the Prime Minister can still be so unconcerned with the members of the Health Services Union, particularly given the findings of the HSU No. 1 branch investigation handed down this week.

It was not always the case that the Prime Minister was unconcerned about such matters. In fact, the Prime Minister gave a speech in this House some years ago warning about the evils of credit cards. This demands an explanation from the Prime Minister. With a degree of prescience, the Prime Minister said in that speech:

… we really need to look at what causes people to have credit cards …

Well, the members of the HSU would want to know what caused the member for Dobell to have seven credit cards funded by their union dues which were allegedly spent on escort services. And that is why standing orders must be suspended.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will recall that she is supposed to be talking to a suspension motion.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: Yes, Mr Speaker. And that is why standing orders must be suspended—so that the Prime Minister can explain why she is not interested in these allegations of credit card abuse when in fact, years ago, it was the subject of a very detailed speech in this House, and I am sure the members of the HSU would be very keen to know why the Prime Minister was once concerned about the abuse of credit cards but, when it comes to their union dues, she is no longer interested. Standing orders must be suspended so that the Prime Minister can reacquaint herself with the concerns that she once had about credit card abuse.

The Prime Minister should also explain how it is that Fair Work Australia can pride itself on its 'efficiency'. In fact, in its latest annual report Fair Work Australia boasted of the quick turnaround in the processing of enterprise agreements. Apparently they take just 22 days from lodgement to finalisation, 15 days for a greenfields agreement and 27 days for more complex agreements, and that is why standing orders must be suspended: because the Fair Work Australia organisation has claimed that, in the case of lodgement of details of loans, grants and donations, there is 100 per cent reporting finalised within 28 days. Well, congratulations, Fair Work Australia, because you have taken 1,000 days to investigate the member for Dobell's credit card misuse! And that is why standing orders must be suspended, so that the—

The SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member referred to 'the member for Dobell's credit card misuse' which is a reflection—

Ms JULIE BISHOP: Alleged—alleged misuse. I have said that before, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: The honourable member will withdraw any reflection on the member for Dobell.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: I withdraw. And Fair Work Australia was created by the Prime Minister. Many of its senior officers were personally appointed by the Prime Minister.

The SPEAKER: Order! The honourable deputy leader will resume her seat.

Mr Fitzgibbon: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition now is not only abusing process but also abusing a statutory authority—in my mind an even greater crime than the reflections on the member for Dobell. If she wants to make such accusations she should do so by way of—

The SPEAKER: The honourable Chief Government Whip will remove himself from the chamber under the provisions of standing order 94(a).

The member for Hunter then left the chamber.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: The Prime Minister must come into the House and explain how it is that she can hide behind the independence of Fair Work Australia yet has hand-picked from the union movement virtually all the recent appointments. The Fair Work Australia-Labor union family tree, quite frankly, rivals the organisational chart of the five mob families in New York—which can be found at www.mafiafamilytree.com. This family tree of Fair Work Australia requires explanation from the Prime Minister. (Time expired)