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Tuesday, 24 October 2017
Page: 11750

Trade Unions

Dr McVEIGH (Groom) (14:47): My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry, representing the Minister for Employment. Will the minister outline to the House why it is important for employer and employee organisations to act in a way that upholds the values of truthfulness and integrity as well as managing the potential for conflict of interest? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith I have asked a number of times to cease interjecting. She can now leave under 94(a).

The member for Griffith then left the chamber.

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry) (14:47): I thank the member for Groom for his question. It's beyond doubt that the CFMEU is the most lawless union in Australia's history. Let's take a quick snapshot of their most recent best performances. They've become the most penalised union in Australia's industrial history, with over $10 million worth of fines. They have the record single-largest fine in Australian industrial history, which was $2.4 million for the Barangaroo site in Sydney, awarded only a couple of months ago. The Victorian CFMEU boss, John Setka, has been publicly threatening the officers of the Fair Work Commission—who have just been going about their job doing their work—saying that the CFMEU will make their kids ashamed of their parents. Even worse, just recently, at Oaky in Queensland, at the Glencore site represented by the member for Capricornia—

Ms Chesters interjecting

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Bendigo will cease interjecting, as will the member for Wakefield.

Mr PYNE: CFMEU protestors and picketers were threatening workers going to work at Glencore that they would rape their children if they continued to do so. That's the kind of union we're talking about with the CFMEU.

I was absolutely delighted today to read that Kevin Rudd has joined the chorus of sensible Labor leaders calling on the Leader of the Opposition to remove the CFMEU from the Labor Party in Australia. Bob Hawke did it to the BLF. He had the strength of character to stand up to a rogue union. Kevin Rudd did it to Dean Mighell and Joe McDonald when he was the leader of the Labor Party. But this leader will not. If you don't have the strength to stand up to the CFMEU, you don't have the strength to stand up for our nation's interests at home or abroad.

But I was very surprised, when Kevin Rudd made these comments about standing up to the CFMEU, that the person who was sent out to run interference on Kevin Rudd was our old friend the member for Sydney. The member for Sydney was asked about the CFMEU today; she defended the CFMEU. She said:

Unions get to have a say, business gets to have a say, non-governmental organisations get to have a say.

So the CFMEU is no worse than any other organisation engaging in lobbying—no worse than the AiG and no worse than our friends at the Country Women's Association.

A government member: UNICEF!

Mr PYNE: Or UNICEF—these non-government organisations, the CFMEU and the Country Women's Association! Those lovely ladies who provide a cup of tea to weary travellers and a cake at the royal show are apparently just the same as the CFMEU. Perhaps the member for Sydney will suggest that, next time John Setka's in dispute, he has a bake-off to try and resolve it. (Time expired)