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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 5791

Senator JACINTA COLLINS (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations) (15:45): I seek leave to make a brief statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator JACINTA COLLINS: The government does not support this motion. The government has been clear that we do not condone the misuse of members' funds by trade unions. We have been clear that we consider the conduct outlined in the Temby report to be unacceptable. On these matters there is no question. That is why we have moved and passed legislation in this parliament to increase the financial accountability and transparency of trade unions and to triple penalties. That is why we applied to the Federal Court to appoint an independent administrator for the HSU. On both matters we got not one iota of support from the opposition.

This government also respects the independence of Australia's tribunals and our courts. We understand that it is not our role to seek to unduly influence investigations or court processes. This simply is not our role. The opposition has been inconsistent on this matter from day one. They accused us of interference, then called on us to intervene and then wanted matters to be dealt with in the courts, but they want to act as judge and jury in the meantime. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. (Time expired)