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Monday, 21 November 2016
Page: 3673

Building and Construction Industry

Mr MORTON (Tangney) (14:24): My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry representing the Minister for Employment. Will the minister outline to the House any recent examples of activities in registered organisations that would be eradicated through the establishment of a Registered Organisations Commission? What is standing in the way of this important reform?

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry) (14:24): I thank the member for Tangney for his question and I can tell him that we are introducing a Registered Organisations Commission, because Australia needs an honest union movement so that hardworking Australians have a growing, productive economy based on knowing that they can have faith and confidence in the honest union leaders who represent them.

The evidence that this Registered Organisations Commission is needed is mounting every day. The member for Tangney might like to know in fact that just last Friday, unfortunately, a former secretary of the National Union of Workers, a close friend of one of the members in this House, and a former accounts manager of the National Union of Workers were arrested on 172 fraud charges involving the alleged theft of $870,000 from their hardworking members—172 fraud charges between two former union leaders of the National Union of Workers, totalling $870,000 in alleged fraud against hardworking Australians. We on this side of the House want to eradicate that kind of practice. The Registered Organisations Commission will help that happen.

And who is against it? In fact, some of the expenses that were being used by one of these alleged fraudsters would certainly make the former member of this House Craig Thomson blush.

Mr Champion: You could have them anywhere—like the Victorian Liberal Party!

Mr PYNE: I will not mention him in this House, being a good Catholic boy, but I can tell you—

Mr Pasin interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Barker and the member for Wakefield!

Mr PYNE: if members would like to investigate it—it would make Craig Thomson blush.

Mr Pasin interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Barker is warned!

Mr PYNE: And what is standing in the way of this? The Leader of the Opposition is what is standing in the way of the Registered Organisations Commission bill passing the Senate this week. One has to ask why—why is the Leader of the Opposition opposed to having a commission that assures we have honest union leaders running honest unions? It is about judgement. The Treasurer spoke earlier about weakness as opposed to the strength of Bob Hawke. This Leader of the Opposition lacks judgement. He supports union leaders, like those in the CFMEU, against hardworking Australians. He wants to water down the border protection laws and send messages to the people smugglers to say that we are open for business again. He supports putting Senator Kitching into the Senate when she has been referred to the Commonwealth DPP for investigation and potential prosecution by the trade union royal commission. He has allowed his shadow ministers to put the US alliance in doubt. On so many different subjects—whether it is border protection, national security or trade union reforms—this Leader of the Opposition shows that he is not up to the job. He lacks the judgement to be Prime Minister of Australia unless he changes his mind about the Registered Organisations Commission bill.