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(generated from captions) the air conning. Thanks Kathy McLeish.Recapping the top stories - the Government's off to a rocky start to the parliamentary year with a list of key Coalition talking points leaked after being distributed Health
by the PM's office.The World Health Organization has declared the spread of the Zika virus, linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil, to be a global health emergency and US presidential candidates are about to face their first electoral test in Iowa. The State holds caucuses to choose which Republican and Democrat it wants to be the candidate for the White House.Greens MP Adam Bandt is speaking in Canberra. Plenty to talk about as the political year gets underway.... The police in the construction industry through the Senate and to give law-abiding construction workers less rights than accused criminals. The Government said we have a secret report that contains so much in it that if you saw it, you would surely change your mind and pass the bill. We said show us and the Government said no. Late last night in a desperate attempt to try and get this legislation onto the Senate agenda, the Government said "Well, we will let one of you in the Greens party room see it but you aren't allowed to take any notes or talk to anyone about it and if you try to discuss it in the parliament, you are potentially breaching the country's laws". This is verging on the ridiculous. It is descending into a farce. Government is saying on the one hand, we have this document that contains so much important information that you need to see it in order to pass this bill, and on the other hand they are not letting people in parliament see it. If the Government thinks this is so important, let all members of parliament and all senators see this document, debate it and discuss it. Transparency is to this Government what sunlight is to a vampire. They are refusing to come clean and tell people supposedly what is in this allegedly very relevant document so people can debate it in the parliament. It is worth remembering that the last time there was a Royal Commission and there was a secret volume of that, not one prosecution arose out of it. We suspect the Government is grasping at straws and that there is actually precious little in this so-called secret volume. They are out trying to threaten members of the cross bench, saying that there should be an early election if the cross bench refuses it. You can't ask people to vote on a piece of legislation unless you are going to put all the facts in front of them. The Greens party room has decided today, we won't be having a bar of the Government's attempt to create two classes of members of parliament, where some who are the chosen few, get to see a secret document and aren't allowed to talk about it, otherwise they might face a penalty, and others are forced to take the word of the Government that this document is what it says. We won't be accepting the Government's ridiculous offer. We will be continuing to oppose this bill in the parliament and if the Government thinks that it has got facts that will change peoples' minds, do what every other Government has done before, bring them to the parliament so we can debate them.REPORTER: Why are you so keen to have this released broadly to all parliamentarians, wouldn't you only do so if there was a chance that on the basis of that, you might change your position and support the ABCC in the parliament, if that is what you're pushing for, do you hold that out as a prospect that you could support the ABCC? The thing about parliament is that most of the time it is a place of debate where people can discuss facts and sometimes people change their minds. If there are other members of other parties who say that there is potentially information out there that might lead them to vote for this draconian legislation, then let's have that document available and open so everyone can debate it and we might be able to refute some of those views. We don't support this legislation. We don't think there is a case to be made for it. The Government is scrambling to make a case. The best they can come up with is a report that they won't let people see. If they think they can try and pressure one or two cross benchers into voting for it by allowing them to see this report, we want everyone in parliament to see the report so we can debate it and work out whether it is as serious as the suspect
Government says it is. I suspect it is not.Just to be clear, even if this report or confidential volume was provided, there is no chance you would change your position on the ABCC? If everyone in parliament was able to see it, we may be able to persuade others not to support this bad bill.Given the serious nature of allegations that were aired publicly during the Royal Commission, allegations of intimidation on work sites and the like, if these things are being kept secret, doesn't that suggest these are incredibly serious allegations and therefore there is a good reason to withhold that information from general distribution? The last time there was a Royal Commission of the construction industry and there was a secret report, it was an absolute fizzer and prosecution that
there wasn't one criminal prosecution that came out of it. It may be that is the case this time. The government knows it and to avoid having to show their hand, they are trying to keep the document a secret. If there are concerns about ongoing investigations, it is an easy way to deal with that. The Government has said even the version they would show to people would have peoples' names blacked out. If they can do that, they can show it to people with peoples' names blacked out, they can show it to parliament with peoples' names blacked out.The Greens this
and Labor have been asking for this report for some time. How do you think it comes across from the public's opinion when the moment that you are offered this document, you are immediately refuse? We haven't been offered the document. We have been told that one chosen member of our political party will be able to sit in a room, read it, not take any notes and not be able to report back to colleagues. What are they meant to do, walk back into their colleagues and say there is something in this report, I can't tell what you it is but we will change our position and vote for this bill? What a ridiculous way to run parliament. If you want informed debate and people to change their minds on the basis of the facts, as the minister says she does, let people see the report.There have now been two Royal Commissioners, Terrance Cole and Dysan Heydon who say this wash dog should be restored and Mr Cole has said not restoring it will cost billions of dollars to the economy. What is your response to their arguments? If you want to tackle wrongdoing in this country across the board, let's set up a national corruption watchdog, a national I cack that is able to look, without fear or favour into employees and employers, into politicians as well as public servants and decision makers and is able to uncover wrongdoing wherever it occurs. Why is the Government's first order of business to pick one particular group who happen to be on the opposite side of the political fence to them and say we are going to have effectively a watchdog but only into you, and only on industrial matters? What people want to see in this country is a broad-based corruption watchdog. Let's have a national ICAC. If the Government was serious about corruption they would do that. What happens with this Government, when there is alleged wrongdoing, if you have a blue collar, they set up the Royal Commission and throw the book at you and if you have a white collar they turn a blind eye. We have had reports under this Government of construction Saddam
companies allegedly bribing Saddam Hussein's regime. Where that?
is the Royal Commission into that? The legislation to deal with them? If the Government comes back and says we will look at theNational corruption watchdog, we loo Malcolm
look at it.What do you make of Malcolm Turnbull saying a double dissolution is a live option? Bring it on. The Government is resorting to threats now to senators to say you might lose your job if you don't vote for our legislation, so you better vote for it. It shows how desperate it has become. Malcolm Turnbull has said he wants a positive vision for Australia. What have we got? First cab off the rank is a bill to attack peoples' rights at work and they are out threatening senators that they might lose their job unless they vote for it. Get ready for a year of attacks on peoples' rights at work and all the rhetoric about courage and vision is proving to be just that.Greens M P Adam Bandt speaking about the shenanigans going on in Canberra at the moment to do with the ABCC, the watchdog for the construction industry that the Government wants to reintroduce and what is called the secret report or part of a secret report by