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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 1064

Senator ROBERTS (Queensland) (19:18): Minister, Senator Cameron said that he has done some negotiations—so have I, industrially. In fact, I led the negotiation and the implementation of the first modern award in the coal industry in the 1990s, at a time of considerable turmoil. It was a radical change for those days. I have worked through years as a miner, as a member of the CFMEU, and I must say I am appalled that the CFMEU now gives money to GetUp! in close association with George Soros, who has done a lot of damage in many countries of the world. I understand that GetUp!'s foundation board of directors included someone by the name of Bill Shorten. It is ironic that the CFMEU's practices lead to increased funds for the CFMEU taken from the taxpayers and that those taxpayer funds are then redistributed to an organisation like GetUp!, which is going hell for leather to smash the Australian coal industry. So the CFMEU, which pretends to cover coalminers, is actually funding the organisation that is trying to destroy the coal industry. That just gives me a little bit of a background picture on the CFMEU as it is today.

In fact, in 1991 I had dealings with a man for whom I had some respect as a CFMEU vice president at the time, and he told me that the CFMEU was heading in the wrong direction because it was not serving its members. Now, we can see. The cartel behaviour has been raised—this was something also that either Senator Marshall or Senator Cameron raised earlier—to the public media and has been discussed extensively by journalists. And I have raised with you, Minister, that we need to look at narrowing the IR carve-out and look at getting the ACCC involved, and I have had discussions with the ACCC chair into narrowing the IR carve-out.

Would you like me to repeat that? Is it not true that I have requested that the ACCC chairman consider doing a review of narrowing the IR carve-out? Further, is it not true that I have spoken in this chamber on the need to send industrial relations back to the states so that we can restore competitive federalism in this country?

Debate interrupted.