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Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Page: 3137

Registered Organisations


Mrs SUDMALIS (Gilmore) (14:45): My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry, representing the Minister for Employment. Will the minister outline why it is important to reform registered organisations to ensure that employer and employee organisations always act in the best interests of their members? And who is standing in the way of this outcome?

Mr Brendan O'Connor interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Gorton is warned.



Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry) (14:45): I thank the member for Gilmore for her question. The person standing in the way of being able to reform registered organisations in Australia is the Leader of the Opposition. He is standing in the way of reforming unions in order to support honest unions and honest union leaders. This side of the House—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr PYNE: The HSU was never affiliated with the Labor Party. So you have done a great job! The HSU is not doing too well, fella. It is not doing too well. You have just put Kimberley Kitching—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr PYNE: Thank you for the interjection, though. You have just decided that the most worthy person in Victoria in the Labor Party that you could put into the Senate is Kimberley Kitching from the Health Services Union No. 1 branch—a branch described by the national secretary of the Health Services Union, Chris Brown, as stumbling from crisis to crisis. He said he would dissolve it if they did not get their act together. That is who you have just chosen to fill the Senate vacancy of the very well-regarded Senator Conroy, who has retired and been replaced with Kimberley Kitching—the same person that the Heydon royal commission referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for impersonating other union leaders in doing their safety tests for them, putting workers at risk in the workplace—

The SPEAKER: The member for Melbourne Ports on a point of order.

Mr Danby: The minister is referring to—

The SPEAKER: The point of order?

Mr Danby: The point of order is he is not referring to the member by her correct title.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will refer to members and Senators by their correct titles.

Mr PYNE: I will, Mr Speaker. It does not surprise me that the member for Melbourne Ports comes to Senator Kitching's defence because the member for Melbourne Ports has been quite involved in this murky story—this very murky story. Goodness knows what his connections are! I might come to those tomorrow, Mr Speaker.

Senator Kitching was referred by the royal commission to the Commonwealth DPP for impersonating union officials and doing their safety tests for them—and bragging about it. She is a person who has been found by the Fair Work Commission to be an unreliable witness—publicly stated the case. This is also a person who failed to pay six and a half thousand dollars worth of parking fines to the Melbourne City Council. Six and a half thousand dollars worth of parking fines! Surely she would have noticed all those sticky clear plastic things stuck on the windscreen of her $94,000 leased BMW. It seems surprising to me that she would have been able to see through her windscreen, Mr Speaker, with six and a half thousand dollars worth of parking fines that she just had not noticed.

In Queensland the minister for agriculture, Leanne Donaldson, had to resign over $8,000 of unpaid rates to the Bundaberg City Council. In the Shorten world—in the Leader of the Opposition's world—they get put into the Senate. If you do not pay your parking fines, you get put into the Senate. (Time expired)

Mr Chester interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport will cease—

Mr Chester interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport is warned.