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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 3500

Member for Dobell


Mr PYNE ( Sturt Manager of Opposition Business ) ( 14:59 ): My question is to the minister for workplace r elations. I remind the minister of his statement yesterday in question time that he was in the process of going through the Fair Work Australia report into HSU branch No. 1. How does he reconcile that spin with the fact that he told Sky News at four o'clock that he had read the entire report, or is he expecting people to believe that he read the 146-page report in the 15 minutes between leaving the House and his media appearance?


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongMinister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (14:59): I thank the member for Sturt for his question and I note that in the combined electorates of the party he represents four million people will benefit from an increase in superannuation from the legislation passed last night. Furthermore, I refer the member for Sturt to yesterday's answer. It is a public report. It is available to all. The Senate committee released it on Friday. We all understand in this place that there has been a process underway to investigate allegations into the HSU or certain branches of it. We also understand in this place that that process is independent. We also understand in this place—

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: he was not asked a question about the HSU investigation or Fair Work Australia. He was asked a question peculiar in his gift to answer, which is how he read a report that is 146 pages in 15 minutes, or didn't he tell the truth yesterday?

The SPEAKER: Some people read speedily. The minister has the call. He is aware of the standing orders and will be directly relevant.

Mr SHORTEN: I refer the member for Sturt to my answer yesterday. I also refer the members of this House to the process which has been underway. The report has been concluded into one part of the union. That matter has now been referred, at the discretion of the General Manager of Fair Work Australia, to the Australian Government Solicitor's office. We are a government who, despite the calls from those opposite, will not interfere politically with this investigation. I understand why this question has been asked. I understand perfectly well—

The SPEAKER: The minister will be directly relevant.

Mr SHORTEN: The opposition do not want to talk about the benefits of the mining tax and they will do anything—

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat. The call is withdrawn from the minister.