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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 1084


Senator ROBERTS (Queensland) (20:50): We have heard about fish and chip shops, and let me tell you very clearly that Senator Hanson never served jellyfish in her fish and chip shop. I cannot understand Senator Cameron. First of all he tried to cuddle up to us in his latest speech and then he started do denigrate us. Is he confused? No, he is not confused—he is desperate. Maybe he is blinded by ideology or corrupted by those who fund his party and its buddies the Greens.

Let us be very clear, this bill is a very short bill and it is about one thing and only one thing: decreasing the transition time from two years to nine months. Second, Senator Cameron's amendment seeks to gut the ABCC. It is outside the scope of this bill. It is a sneaky attempt to gut the ABCC and continue the corruption of labour under union bosses' control. It undermines safety and hurts small business, hurts union workers, hurts workers and hurts taxpayers.

This amendment is designed to protect the establishment elites that control the ALP—the union bosses and their corrupt ideology of control. Speaking of ideology, when Senator Cameron raised that during his latest speech, none other than Senator Chisholm stuck his nose in and then scurried away. He stated earlier today that I was the ideological warrior of Pauline Hanson. Never before has the ideological love child of Bill Ludwig ever gotten anything so right. He most certainly did not get the 2012 election right with his strategy of personal attack on Campbell Newman bringing the Labor caucus to a mere seven members. Wasn't that the Tarago party?

Honourable senators interjecting

The TEMPORARY CHAIR ( Senator Whish-Wilson ): Senator Roberts resume your seat. I would just remind the chamber that senators have a right to be heard in silence, but, Senator Roberts, I would also note to you that if you are inflammatory in your language you will get a reaction.

Senator ROBERTS: Thank you, Chair. I just need to respond to what the Labor Party has talked about today. You bet, Senator Chisholm, through you Chair, I am Pauline Hanson's ideological warrior. Our ideology is pro-worker and pro-human and I am a warrior for that cause. We stand up for the battlers, and that is why we support this ABCC bill and oppose Senator Cameron's amendment. We do not want the everyday worker ripped off, just like the workers of the AWU's faction are always ripped off by Senator Chisholm's ilk. Senator Chisholm and his ilk do not come into this chamber to stand up for the worker; they stick their noses in and then scurry out. They come into this chamber to collect $200,000 a year and brag about free tickets to as many dinners as they can get. They are social climbers who tuck their knees under every grubby dirty table from Fortitude Valley to Lakemba. Pauline Hanson's ideology is steeped in standing up for battlers, stopping them from getting ripped off—

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Senator Roberts, I remind you to refer to Senator Hanson by her correct title.

Senator ROBERTS: Senator Hanson's ideology is steeped in standing up for battlers and stopping them getting ripped off, and I am proud of that ideology. I am proud to be called one of Senator Hanson's warriors, because, Senator Chisholm, through you, Chair, the policies that you pursued and executed during your failed tenure of the ALP's Queensland branch have been rejected by workers, who are flooding to our party in droves. I say to Senator Chisholm, through you, Chair: keep your personal and vicious attacks up, keep siding with union boss thugs, keep praying to the great Ludwig for guidance and advice, keep sending us your huddled masses. We say, 'Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to us. We lift our lamp beside the golden door.' Senator Pauline Hanson's One Nation will set them free. I acknowledge that quote that from the Statue of Liberty.

Senator Hinch and Senator Xenophon, we implore you to stand up and end the bullying, smears and intimidation. Ideology? No, never. Australia? Yes. Small business? Yes. Workers? Yes. Union members? Yes. Taxpayers? Yes.

Senator Rhiannon dared talk about safety. In my experience in successful overseas and Australian operations, safety improves when management accountabilities are clear and not undermined by unions that take no responsibility, especially with a clear agenda to disrupt and control and to fabricate safety claims. That denigrates safety; it distracts. Under the previous ABCC bill, safety improved. When it was removed by the Gillard-Shorten combination safety deteriorated. Now it will start to come back. The accidents that Senator Rhiannon took so cheaply are a symptom of the problem that the current Labor Shorten regime put in place in the Gillard years. Safety depends on transparency and clarity, not on a culture of lies, cover-ups and intimidation.

Let me cut to another point that the Labor Party and the Greens have raised: 457 visas. I will go through 457 visas issued to registered nurses. In 2012-13, under Bill Shorten as employment minister, there were 2,853; in 2015-16, there were 1,009. That is a 65 per cent reduction. The record high was under Bill Shorten. Let us look at 457 visas issued to carpenters and joiners, which Senator Marshall raised. In the Shorten years, 2012-13, there were 1,121; in 2015-16, there were 470. That is a 58 per cent reduction from the record held by Bill Shorten. Let us look at 457 visas issued for cooks—Senator Marshall, I think, raised cooks. Under Bill Shorten, in 2012-13, there were 3,041 visas issued for cooks; in 2015-16 there were 2,366. That is a 22 per cent reduction from the record held by Bill Shorten.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Senator Roberts, please address members in the other place by their correct title. He is Mr Shorten.

Senator ROBERTS: Let us look at early childhood education. In 2012-13, under Mr Shorten, there were 76; in 2015-16, 74, a three per cent reduction from the record under Mr Shorten. Let us look at 457 visas issued to electricians. They are tradesmen involved in the building industry quite often. There were 610 visas issued by Mr Shorten as employment minister in 2012-13; and 2015-16 there were 181. That is a 75 per cent reduction. Motor mechanics: there is nothing more fundamental than that. We have plenty here, haven't we? In 2012-13, under Mr Shorten as employment minister, 1,536 were issued; in 2015-16, there were 690. That is a 55 per cent reduction from Mr Shorten's record.

This amendment is a farce. It is designed to gut the ABCC It has nothing to do with this bill. We oppose it.