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Monday, 4 December 2017
Page: 9505


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:46): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answers given by the Attorney-General (Senator Brandis) and the Minister for Employment (Senator Cash) to questions without notice asked by Senators McAllister and Cameron today relating to remarks made by the Deputy Premier of New South Wales and to evidence given at supplementary Budget estimates hearings of the Education and Employment Legislation Committee.

Well, if ever there was a cover-up, the cover-up is on by Senator Cash and the Liberal Party to try and hide the involvement of the Liberal Party, the involvement of Senator Cash, the involvement of the Fair Work Ombudsman staff and the involvement of ROC staff in the media, with the media turning up to a raid on a union office. It's an absolute disgrace. What Senator Cash has done over a number of estimates hearings is to hide behind sub judice, to hide behind an argument that there's an investigation being taken up by the Federal Police—an investigation that Senator Cash herself was forced to implement arising from the leaks that came out of her office after she misled the Senate on five occasions.

This is a minister with no credibility. This is a minister that stands up here day in, day out when parliament's sitting, attacking the trade union movement, attacking workers' rights to belong to a union, attacking collective bargaining, attacking workers' rights to have a decent superannuation outcome. This minister is an absolute disgrace and should resign. If she doesn't resign, then the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, should sack her. But we know how weak the Prime Minister is. We know he's a Prime Minister who has got no capacity to do the right thing.

The Registered Organisations Commission is supposedly an independent commission set up to oversee the registered organisations in this country. Mr Enright, the 2IC in the commission, has a lot of form. When this public servant was with the Australian Crime Commission, they had an internal dossier on his minister. He spoke about the nationality of his wife—what that's got to do with anything, I don't know. His wife's an Asian woman—a beautiful woman, a fabulous woman; I've met her on many occasions. That had to be in the dossier. He actually spoke about the alcohol consumption of the minister. He spoke about the minister's past and what the minister had done in the past. He spoke about the minister's personal life. And he spoke about the minister's views on police corruption and the views the minister had on his political colleagues. This is Mr Enright, who is supposedly there to be an independent administrator in this organisation—an absolute disgrace. The Fair Work Ombudsman was there, and there was a report about what was said between Mr Bielecki, the ROC commissioner; Mr Enright, his 2IC; and the Fair Work Ombudsman, Ms Natalie James.

This demonstrates that these organisations are not independent. These organisations are set up with a web of Liberal Party apparatchiks, Liberal Party sympathisers, to make sure that the Liberal Party's agenda to attack the trade union movement, to attack their political opponents, is alive and well. That's what's happened with this government—a rabble of a government. And the Fair Work Ombudsman, Ms Natalie James, denied that she had participated in this conversation. Mr Bielecki and Mr Enright conceded what they had said. But Ms Natalie James has questions to answer. The Fair Work Ombudsman should not be behaving in a partisan political manner. The Registered Organisations Commission should not be behaving in a partisan political manner. This is now the sixth time that Minister Cash has misled this Senate. (Time expired)