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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2778

Workplace Relations


Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (14:36): My question is to the Minister for Education and Training representing the Minister for Employment. Will the minister explain why the government is taking action to restore the rule of law on the construction sites? What challenges does this reform face?


Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Education and Training) (14:36): I thank the member for La Trobe for his question. He, like me and like all members on this side of the House, is very concerned, as a former policeman, about the breakdown of the rule of law on some construction sites around Australia because of the actions of the CFMEU. More revelations are emerging again today about action that Fair Work Building and Construction is needing to take against the CFMEU to ban seven more officials from building and construction sites.

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton is being warned. One more utterance and he will leave.

Mr PYNE: I see that the Labor Party, yet again, are standing up for the CFMEU. I cannot read the comments in the newspaper today, because they are so vile, used by officials of the CFMEU towards the inspectors of Fair Work Building and Construction because it would offend not only members in this chamber but, I think, everyone listening.

Ms Chesters interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Bendigo is warned.

Mr PYNE: The reality is that the CFMEU believes it is above the law. Do not just take my word for it. They are the words of the Federal Court, which has fined the CFMEU $125,000 yesterday, saying that the CFMEU is 'a recidivist'. The judgement read, in part:

The overwhelming inference is that the CFMEU, not for the first time, decided that its wishes should prevail over the interests of the companies and that this end justified the means.

The CFMEU is out of control on building sites in Australia, and that is why the government is trying to bring back the Australia building and construction commission, which the Labor Party continues to oppose. It is why we are trying to introduce the Registered Organisations Commission, which the Labor Party opposes. It is why we created a royal commission into thuggery and intimidation in the work site, which had tepid support from the Labor Party. It is why we want to put a tough, industrial cop on the beat of building sites.

The Labor Party's alternative is no ABCC, no Registered Organisations Commission, tepid support for the royal commission and they want to put the fashion police on the work site. The advice that the Labor Party want to give to the CFMEU—which goes a little with the Leader of the Opposition's general philosophy of life, which is that everybody is somebody, which he borrowed from the Traveling Wilburys—and the advice that the Leader of the Opposition wants to give to the CFMEU is that blue and green should never be seen. That is the advice that the Leader of the Opposition wants to give to the CFMEU. We want to say to the CFMEU: abide by the law. We want to restore the rule of law on building sites. The Labor Party says they should not wear their bikie colours when they turn up to construction sites.

Ms Chesters interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Bendigo will leave under standing order 94(a).

The member for Bendigo then left the chamber.

Mr PYNE: He brings these wonderful zingers to this debate, and this one will be 'blue and green should never be seen' or 'the darkest item you should be wearing should be your socks'. That would be the advice he gives to the CFMEU. He should get on board with the ABCC when he gets the chance in the Senate to do so.