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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1855

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Education) (11:25): I am pleased to speak briefly on this Qantas Sale Amendment Bill 2014, which before the House. I am delighted that the Labor Party facilitated this debate by moving a suspension of standing orders to bring it on. The government was very pleased to support it. It was an unusual move, that is certain, but it does mean that the government can pass this bill today. The pressure will then be on the opposition to determine their position in the Senate—and the rest of the Senate, of course, the Greens and the crossbenchers. The pressure will be on Labor to decide whether they want to put Qantas on the same playing field as Virgin or whether they want to continue to allow Virgin to have an advantage over Qantas. I hope that they will come to a sensible position and I intend to give them the opportunity to consider that over the next week's break from the parliament.

I have listened to the Leader of the Opposition's speech, which was obviously designed to hang on to his leadership—it was directed to the people behind him rather than to the people outside this building. As I have said many times, Labor should stop standing up for the unions and start standing up for the workers. Start standing up for the workers. Unfortunately, while Labor allows itself to be shackled to the union movement, it is a very heavy anvil that they are dragging around. It means that they are making all their decisions based on the factionalism of the Labor Party, what the unions tells them—in this case, Tony Sheldon and the Qantas unions. Unfortunately, it is very bad for the workers but is actually particularly bad for the Labor Party. It is bad for the Labor Party to allow itself to simply be the union party. It is bad for the Leader of the Opposition to allow himself to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the union movement.

I know that Mr Albanese, the member for Grayndler, achieved over 18,000 votes from the Labor members and the caucus. The Leader of the Opposition, the member for Maribyrnong, achieved over 12,000 votes. That was 18,000 to 12,000. Somehow the member for Grayndler was defeated. He was the people's choice.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr Burke: Mr Deputy Speaker, my point of order is on the standing orders requiring people to be relevant to the debate. It has become clear that the government is not willing to defend its position. I would not be surprised if they even try to shut down this debate, because they are not willing to defend their position. They are embarrassed about the position they have taken. He should be brought back to the bill.

Mr PYNE: I am explaining it. Do I have the call?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have it. The Leader of the House.

Mr PYNE: I know I did not have the call because the microphones were not on. Perhaps the Manager of Opposition Business might pick up on that—when the microphones are on you have got the call—rather than taking those ludicrous points of order, as he did yesterday against Madam Speaker.

The point is I am explaining why the Leader of the Opposition has adopted this ludicrous position on the Qantas Sale Act. He has adopted it because he is the factions' choice and not the people's choice. That is why he has adopted it and that is why it is relevant to the debate. He got 12,200 votes; the member for Grayndler got 18,200 votes.

An opposition member interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order. I will ask the Leader of the House to resume on the bill, please.

Mr PYNE: The member for Port Adelaide knows it. That is why he is leaving in embarrassment, because he was the member for Grayndler's campaign manager.

With those few words, I move:

That the question be now put.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Broadbent ): The question is that the question be now put.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Broadbent ): The question is that the bill be now read a second time.

The House divided. [11:41]

(The Deputy Speaker—Mr Broadbent)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Broadbent ): Is leave granted for the third reading to be moved immediately?

Leave not granted.