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Thursday, 12 February 2015
Page: 686


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (18:09): The report from the Defence Materiel Organisation, as usual, is a good one. It does highlight some issues. I was trying to get Senator Cameron to refer to the page in the report that he was speaking about. Of course, he did not, because, even though he has been here for a while now, he never seems to bother following the rules of the Senate, which are there for a reason and which should be followed.

One of the difficulties that the Defence Materiel Organisation have experienced, which they refer to, is the cost of doing business in Australia. The carbon tax imposed by the Labor government, which Senator Cameron and the Greens were part of, simply made manufacturing in Australia uncompetitive, and that included defence manufacturing. It is so sad that a party like the Labor Party, which is supposed to be looking after the workers, did so much to destroy workers' jobs and send jobs overseas. That is one of the problems for the defence industry and the Defence Materiel Organisation: procuring manufacturing activity in Australia was made so difficult because of the additional costs of doing anything because of the Labor Party's carbon tax.

Under the Labor Party's carbon tax and under the watch of Senator Kim Carr as industry minister, we know that the Australian car industry was shut down. It became entirely uncompetitive. Through evidence given to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, we know that the unions are jobs' worst enemy in Australia. The corruption in the trade union movement, of which Senator Cameron and the senator from Far North Queensland are a part of—they are all ex-union people—

Senator Urquhart: What about me?

Senator IAN MACDONALD: And you too—you are part of the union movement. If you are in the Labor Party, you do not get into this chamber unless you have been able to heavy some union into supporting you in getting a job in this place. You never would have got a decent job anywhere else. But the unions put you in here, and you are here to look after the union movement.

The PRESIDENT: Through the Chair, Senator Macdonald.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I should be saying this through you, Mr President. But I am diverting from the Defence Materiel report, to which I am speaking. I again make the point that the corruption you see in the trade union movement impacts upon the costs of doing business in manufacturing in Australia. And that is why, as the Defence Materiel Organisation points out, there have been some difficulties in giving defence industries the support that we would have hoped for.

I do not want to prolong the Senate today, but I simply say that Senator Cameron's interpretation of the report—which I know he has not read and which he is speaking to today without any indication of what is actually in the report—makes my argument. The reason it is so difficult for any defence industry activity in Australia is that the Labor Party imposed a carbon tax that sent Australian jobs overseas. That was quite obvious in the defence area, and, in fact, in any area, because our competitors overseas did not have those sorts of imposed costs and they do not have a corrupt trade union movement, as we do—which the royal commission has clearly evidenced. Those sorts of things make it very difficult for Australia to have a manufacturing industry, make it very difficult for Australia to do what we want to do in the defence materiel area. So I would just urge Senator Cameron, when he speaks on these things, to understand what the real problem is with industry support in this country. It is the Labor Party. (Time expired)