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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10285

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:11): Senator Cameron would be an expert on this subject being a former friend and protector of former New South Wales Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and the bad Ian Macdonald.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, please resume your seat. Senator Cameron.

Senator Cameron: A point of order. He is reflecting on a senator. What he is saying is untruthful. It's an absolute lie. I do not know Eddie Obeid. I have never had any engagement with the man. So he should withdraw.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: On the point of order—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, I hadn't called you and you kept interrupting, so I wasn't able to call you. I'll call you now, Senator Macdonald.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Thank you, Deputy President. Senator Cameron says that I have maligned a senator when he has just finished five minutes of deliberately and personally attacking and telling untruths about a senior minister in this government.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, thank you. I would remind all senators in here that debate needs to be respectful and in a spirit of cooperation. Senator Macdonald, I would ask you to withdraw those comments regarding Senator Cameron.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: If you are ordering me to, I will.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I'm asking you in a spirit of cooperation to keep the debate orderly.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Senator Cameron had five minutes to personally attack this minister and you didn't raise a finger!

Senator Watt interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, resume your seat. I'm not taking any more points of order, thank you, Senator Watt. I asked for respectful debate. I also reminded the chamber to be mindful of the comments made when other senators were speaking. I didn't name anyone when I made that request. And I am respectfully asking you to withdraw the comments that you made directly to Senator Cameron, Senator Macdonald.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Madam Deputy President, if you are directing me to, I will. If you are asking me to in the spirit of whatever you're talking about and you didn't apply the same standard to Senator Cameron's attack, then I won't. I need your guidance. Are you directing me?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, you know full well I'm not directing you. I'm simply asking you in a spirit of respectful debate. So please continue your remarks.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Senator Cameron's disgraceful attack is on a female minister—a female minister. You'll notice the style of the attack of the Labor Party. Two of the—I would call them bullyboys, although I know that's out of action—hard men of the union movement in the Labor Party, Senator Cameron and Senator Watt, are continually attacking a female minister. They're followed up by Senator Wong, who is an advocate for the ACTU and was involved in an incident at the front door of this parliament when the parliamentary front doors were knocked down before she was in this parliament. These are the people that are attacking Senator Cash—without, I might say, any interruption from the chair. Senator Cameron can give it out, but he can't take it back.

Let me be very clear on what this is all about. This is an attack by the Labor Party on one of the most effective ministers, who continually exposed the graft and corruption within the Labor Party, and they don't like it. She continually exposes the graft and corruption in the union movement, and their mates over there don't like it. If you look at this carefully, this is an action taken by the AWU against the Registered Organisations Commission, who made a decision to investigate the donations by the AWU to GetUp! of $100,000 when Mr Bill Shorten was involved in GetUp! and looking at a further donation from the AWU of $40,000 to Mr Bill Shorten's campaign. That's what this is all about. This isn't about a police raid. This has nothing to do with Senator Cash. This investigation was started by the independent Registered Organisations Commission against the AWU. The leaking that is the subject of the Labor Party's disdain happened three or four days after the decision had been made by the independent organisation to investigate the AWU. It had nothing to do with the leak, but the Labor Party are determined to muddy the waters, to make sure that nobody understands the real purpose of this whole action, which was to investigate Mr Bill Shorten and the $100,000 given to GetUp! when he was involved as a director of GetUp! and to also look at what's alleged to be the improper gift by the AWU of some $40,000 to Mr Shorten's campaign when he first was elected to this chamber.

This is a disgraceful attack by the Labor Party on a female minister, one who has the courage and fortitude to expose the graft and corruption that happens within the Labor Party and the union movement. They don't like it. They will do anything to challenge it. I'm surprised that the judge has even heard the evidence in this case before the court at the moment. I can only look with some wonder at what Senator Kimberley Kitching said. She said in relation to the Bolt case that she knew this same judge, Bromberg, through the Labor Party. He unsuccessfully ran for Labor preselection. He's an active ALP person. He was active enough that he was in a faction. He ran for preselection.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Watt, on a point of order?

Senator Watt: Is it appropriate for a senator to be reflecting on an independent judge? I would have thought that's a fairly unusual and probably unwise step for a senator to take. Can I get your ruling on that?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: He's not reflecting personally. He's quoting another senator.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Thank you, Madam Deputy President. I appreciate your protection, because this is Senator Kimberley Kitching, a Labor senator, who said that she was surprised that Justice Bromberg would hear the Bolt case because she knew that he had certain views on Mr Bolt and on the subject that he was talking about. She was surprised that Justice Bromberg didn't excuse himself from that case. One wonders why he's dealing with this case.