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Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Page: 2075

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (15:15): I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER: Does the Leader of the Opposition claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr SHORTEN: Yes, I do.

The SPEAKER: He may proceed.

Mr SHORTEN: During question time, the Prime Minister and other ministers made inaccurate claims about my visit to Oaky North. Firstly, the Prime Minister said the workers that I spoke to were on strike. They were not on strike; they wanted to work, but they'd been locked out by their multinational employer in an attempt to force them to accept a cut in pay and conditions. Secondly, it was said that I condone unlawful behaviour alleged to have occurred some months earlier on the protest line. I do not condone unlawful behaviour by workers, employers or, indeed, Liberal Party donors. Thirdly, what I said to the workers at Oaky—as I said at the National Press Club in January and as I've said at many of my public town hall meetings—is that the industrial relations system is being abused and distorted to disadvantage workers, to undermine collective bargaining and to weaken workplace safety. I make no apologies for saying that a future Labor government will deliver better wages and conditions for working Australians.