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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4317

Member for Dobell


Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (14:46): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the comments on the ABC's AM program this morning when she said:

… let me say I never want to see a dollar that a worker gives a union used for any purpose other than the proper purposes of representing that union member's best interests.

What steps did the Prime Minister take, prior to the publication of the Fair Work Australia report into the member for Dobell, to assure herself that no member of her team had ever received a personal benefit from a trade union or trade union official?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:47): To the Manager of Opposition Business, No. 1, I say: how remarkable that they cannot sustain a debate on the budget for even one question time—so little interest in our economy, in jobs, in the cost of living pressures on working Australians. They just do not care about working Australians and their prospects and their future, and do not have the intellectual ability or economic capacity to sustain a debate on the budget.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Prime Minister will come to the question.

Ms GILLARD: Then, in relation to the Manager of Opposition Business's question, let me say this to him: I have been completely frank about all matters involving the member for Dobell. As to persons with unanswered questions in this parliament, the Manager of Opposition Business is one; the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is another; the Leader of the Opposition is a third, on the Ashby-Slipper matter. And wouldn't we all like to know what Mal Brough has got to say?

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. He is going to relevance, and I will ask the Prime Minister to be relevant to the question.

Ms GILLARD: So, on questions to be asked and answered: I hope they are. On the Manager of Opposition Business's question, what I said on radio this morning is of course my view and I have stated it before. Overwhelmingly, in our nation, the trade union movement is professional. It is decent. It is hardworking. It is representing working Australians. To the extent that any dollar is ever used in a way which is not for—

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It was a very specific question about what steps the Prime Minister had taken to assure herself that no member of her team had ever taken a personal benefit from a trade union or trade—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Sturt will resume his seat. The Prime Minister will be relevant to the question.

Ms GILLARD: As I said on radio this morning, every dollar collected by trade unions should be properly used for the benefit of members. That is my view. That is the Labor view. That is the Labor way. I understand that the Manager of Opposition Business is going to come in here and try and chuck around unfounded allegations and smear, because he does not know anything about education or anything about working people, or supporting them. If he has got an allegation to put, he should put it. If he does not have an allegation to put then he should at least pretend for one question time that he has got one concern about schools in this country. I have never seen him exhibit any interest in what he is supposed to be doing in this parliament, which is taking an interest in Australian schools—not once, not ever—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to the question.

Ms GILLARD: And, of course, that lack of care and concern for working Australians characterises this opposition, and no more so than today.