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Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 12164


Mr HAASE (Durack) (11:32): May I say at the outset that, firstly, I am amazed at the tenacity of the member for Wakefield in not pulling his motion that he proposed for debate today on the Fair Work Act. In the circumstances of the preceding 48 hours, one would have expected the member for Wakefield to generally follow in the footsteps of his party and run away from tough issues, because we well know that members of the Labor Party, made up from the union movement, today run away from major issues because they can and because they have no solid investment in the problem at hand. This private member's motion asks, amongst other things, that we note that the industrial system under the Fair Work Act 2009 is working well, with low unemployment and low levels of industrial disputation. What monumental words.

The reason we have low unemployment is that we have a couple of states in this nation, regardless of union activity, that are still forging ahead, that are supplying world markets and doing it well and that are employing everyone who has a head, two arms and two legs. Certainly, we have low unemployment, but we do not have low unemployment as a result of the Fair Work Act 2009. Nothing could be more certain.

In relation to low levels of industrial disputation, dear oh dear, doesn't the member for Wakefield now regret this motion? The last 48 hours have seen action, unprecedented in this country, taken by Qantas that has resulted in 70,000 passengers being affected, 600 flights cancelled and seven grounded aircraft. We have had rolling strikes by unions whose members have chosen to send the 'Flying Kangaroo' to the ground permanently, if not offshore. There is no way that all the talk, all the bluster or all the protestations can deny the fact that this is the aspiration of the union—quite simply to make sure that the Flying Kangaroo is brought to its knees and certainly sent offshore.

Mr Champion interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Murphy ): Order! Opposition members will desist from interjecting.

Mr HAASE: For anyone ex-union in the government today to propose that this has not been their intent from the very first day of industrial action is hypocrisy indeed. So I suggest to the member for Wakefield that he is the bravest of men in this place today, because he is following a dream.

Mr Stephen Jones: Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek to intervene.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is the member for Durack willing to give way?

Mr HAASE: No. Only foolish members of the government would take questions in this situation. Over these last 48 hours we have seen a situation bringing pain to the travelling public, that you are presumably interested in—not just Australians but visitors to Australia and moving from Australia around the world. They are being held to ransom by the most dishonourable group one could ever imagine, because their intention is false; their protestations are false and their representation here, I would suggest, is false on the basis of being interested in the best interests of Australians. The Fair Work Act 2009 has created an opportunity for the travelling public to be inconvenienced in a manner that they have never, ever been inconvenienced in before. The last time we saw this sort of action it caused the end of an airline. As the member for Mayo pointed out moments ago, the intention of the union from the outset was to destroy Qantas.

Mr Champion interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member will be heard in silence.

Mr HAASE: I am all right, Mr Deputy Speaker, they can mouth on as much as they like with their hypocrisy. It will not get through to the minds and hearts of the Australian people, because they speak with forked tongues. They purport to represent Australians and their best interests but they represent a group of Australians—unionised Australia.

Mr Champion interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!

Mr HAASE: Unionised Australia will at every turn choose to bring the employer down because this is a battle that was born some hundreds of years ago and they have never matured to the point where they are over it. They still believe that they are fighting to get the small children out of the depths of the coal mines, and because there are no small children in the depths of the coal mines today they have to pick on someone else. Who suffers? The travellers of this world have suffered in the last 48 hours, needlessly, because of the games that they play. They do not have the intestinal fortitude, the wherewithal or the motivation to invest their money like the shareholders of this company do in service industries that provide and make assets and life better for Australians. They do not endeavour to keep their unions down so they can be on top dictating, looking from on high; they absolutely represent the worst aspects of a small group of the Australian population and they ought to be damned for it.

I have no fear of going out into my electorate and facing unionists, because in the main, in my vast Durack electorate, unionists these days are members of unions because they have been forced into it. It is not a voluntary situation, because the industrial laws today still demand on building sites in Western Australia that they be members. We still have the jackboot attitudes of union leaders in Western Australia demanding that unionists are such and have a job or they leave the site. They still use their jackboot tactics and disrupt concrete pours. I wonder if you guys know about concrete pours. What do you know about hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of concrete, and reinforcement installations—

Government members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member will be heard in silence.

Mr HAASE: that are destroyed because of unions calling for strikes on building sites? It would be hypocritical for any one of you sitting opposite to declare that you were interested in the progress of Australia. That would be a rare event. I would like to hear you loudly declare that you are interested in the activities of Australians today.

Mr Stephen Jones interjecting

Mr HAASE: There is silence. There is silence in that regard—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr HAASE: from the three members opposite because they cannot genuinely, hand on heart—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The members of the opposition will cease interjecting.

Mr HAASE: say that they are interested in Australians. They are interested in tearing down big business because there are no small children in the coalmines to save anymore. If they had any gumption, motivation or intestinal fortitude, they would be out investing their own money in free-market enterprises, not trying to kill the services.

Government members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Members on my right will cease interjecting.

Mr HAASE: So there we have three of those who represent hypocrisy in this nation.

I remind the chamber in these closing moments of reports over the last 48 hours that Qantas had extensively briefed Prime Minister Gillard and the government, including Minister Albanese, over an extended period. That included a visit by Alan Joyce to Anthony Albanese's office on 21 October. The first action that Julia Gillard could have taken would have been to invoke the powers of section 431 of her Fair Work Act—her act. This would have meant that, rather than waiting for Fair Work Australia, the dispute would have been terminated immediately—

Mr Champion: No, that's not true, Barry.

Mr HAASE: Of course, we expect only the truth, don't we, Mr Deputy Speaker? We expect only the truth! Instead, people were sitting at airport terminals around the world—because this government was sitting on its hands. There are powers under the act that Prime Minister Gillard could have used to avert this crisis, but she chose not to. She chose not to because until she is forced into a corner she does not exhibit leadership. Until such time as she has no way out, she is totally boxed in, she will not make decisions, certainly not rational ones. All we had, in fact, was the member for Maribyrnong fronting up at Fair Work Australia to intervene—on behalf of the people of Australia or on behalf of the union movement, I wonder? Or was it simply part of his tilt at leadership of this government of rabble? These laws are Prime Minister Gillard's laws. She wrote them and she would have known what to do and how to do it— (Time expired)