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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3263


Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (15:04): I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Member for Sturt moving immediately: That the Prime Minister be called on to explain:

(1) why the interests of the members of the Health Services Union come second to the Prime Minister’s interests in keeping the Member for Dobell in Parliament;

(2) why the Government won’t require Fair Work Australia to co-operate with the New South Wales and Victorian police fraud squads investigating into the member for Dobell;

(3) whether the Prime Minister agrees with the unconscionable delay in Fair Work Australia’s investigation into the Member for Dobell;

(4) why the Prime Minister or any of her Ministers will not refer the Fair Work Australia inquiry into Health Services Union Number 1 branch to the Australian Taxation Office or the Director of Public Prosecutions for further study as to whether its former officers are in breach of any Commonwealth laws;

(5) whether the links between her government and Fair Work Australia and the communications between her office, her Ministers and their staff with Fair Work Australia have tainted the investigation into the Member for Dobell; and

(6) whether the Prime Minister will accept the vote of the Member for Dobell should an adverse finding be made against the Member for Dobell by Fair Work Australia.

Standing orders should be suspended and this matter given absolute precedence in the House today because this is a Prime Minister who is clinging to office with the support of the tainted member for Dobell, and her failure to act means that the taint that infects the member for Dobell now infects her and her government.

The SPEAKER: Order! This is not a motion against the honourable member for Dobell. It is a motion to suspend standing and sessional orders. The honourable member cannot cast a reflection, as he has, on the honourable member for Dobell. He will withdraw.

Mr PYNE: I withdraw, Mr Speaker. And the reason this motion should be given precedence over all other business is painfully transparent to the Australian public and to everybody other than the members of the Australian Labor Party. The Prime Minister should be called upon to come into this House and explain how it is that what everybody knows to be true about her government—that it relies on the vote of the member for Dobell to remain in office—can continue to be the case, sapping the very confidence the Australian people can have in a Prime Minister and a government that rely on such a tainted vote.

Let us look at the undisputed facts in this case. The BDO Kendalls report, an independent report, found that the member for Dobell had been engaged in inappropriate spending and that he was likely to have breached industrial laws by taking his then wife on 19 flights and by his failure to question seven credit card transactions for adult services totalling $5,000.

We have the Fair Work Australia report into the HSU branch No. 1 that was released on Friday that found that officers acted in a manner designed to secure a private advantage and were improperly using their positions to gain a personal advantage. It found that spending of $5,000 of members' money to gain experience and knowledge for the political campaign of Barack Obama was regarded by officers of the Health Services Union as justifiable spending. Fair Work Australia found that spending on officers to send them to a wedding was regarded as appropriate spending—

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Sturt will resume his seat.

Mr Fitzgibbon: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am reluctant to intervene, Mr Speaker, because I know you feel uncomfortable with the contribution by the Manager of Opposition Business. If he wants to make these accusations against the member for Dobell, he needs to do so by way of substantive motion. If he wants to do that, of course he will be required—

The SPEAKER: The honourable member will resume his seat. I am listening closely to the honourable member for Sturt. However, he has to be aware that he is not talking to the substantive motion; he is talking to the suspension motion. So he should focus on that, which he has not. The member for Sturt continues to have the call.

Mr PYNE: The reason standing orders should be suspended and this matter given precedence is that there is nothing more important to a Prime Minister and to her government than to have the trust of the Australian people. The reason this matter should be debated over all other matters is that the Australian public cannot have any faith or trust in a Prime Minister or a government that relies on the vote of the member for Dobell to stay in office. What I am doing in my presentation today is outlining how it is that the member for Dobell is so tainted by the Fair Work Australia investigation—

The SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. The call is withdrawn. Is the motion seconded? I call the honourable Deputy Leader of the Opposition—