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Thursday, 8 June 1989
Page: 3740

Senator MORRIS(11.19) —I would like to say a few words with regard to the allegations and statements made by Senator Michael Baume tonight. It is amazing the lengths to which some people will go. We have just heard from Senator Michael Baume an attempt to place on record allegations-all untrue-that opponents of mine in the current election for the Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Employees Union of Australia have been trying to peddle for some time. I make that clear because Senator Michael Baume talked about a court case which took place some three to four weeks ago. That court case was settled. Pat Reeves, the person who is leading the unity ticket, who Senator Michael Baume is supporting, asked his solicitor, through his barrister, on four occasions to settle the case. It was settled. Unfortunately, it was settled before a judge of the Supreme Court on the basis that the contents of the settlement could not be divulged. Senator Michael Baume knows that because I spoke to him, through my research assistant, this morning. Senator Michael Baume was told about it but he still had the audacity to come into this House tonight and raise it. But let us see what Senator Michael Baume is all about. He is all about supporting the Pat Reeves unity team in the Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Employees Union of Australia. Why is he all about supporting Pat Reeves in that union?

Senator Collins —A good question.

Senator MORRIS —I will answer that question for the honourable senator. It is because Senator Michael Baume told my research assistant this morning that he was vitally opposed to penalty rates in the hospitality industry. Let us have a look at where Mr Baume fits. It is important for all honourable senators to understand where he sits.

The PRESIDENT —Senator Morris, you should call Senator Baume by his correct title.

Senator MORRIS —I ask Senator Baume: Who asked that it be kept secret? Who asked that the document that was before the Supreme Court be kept secret? I would like Senator Baume, through you, Mr President, to tell the Senate tonight who asked him to keep the document secret. The reason it was kept secret was that Senator Baume knew that I could not. I have the document from my solicitor who faxed it through to me today. It is a statement signed by all the people whom he has named tonight and who settled that case before the Supreme Court.

Senator Michael Baume —I said it had been settled.

Senator MORRIS —Senator Baume said that it had been settled but at the same time he made the innuendo that there were certain amounts of money missing and that there were properties bought. Senator Baume raised the name of Mr Ken Jeffreys, who is the secretary of the union, to try to suggest by innuendo that he was a dishonest person. That is what Senator Baume was trying to do tonight. We were waiting for my election material because the election started yesterday. I have that material. It shows a photo of Senator Baume and Pat Reeves who is leading the unity ticket in the liquor industries ballot which started yesterday. They want to abolish penalty rates. I seek leave to table the document.

Leave granted.

Senator MORRIS —By attacking me Senator Michael Baume has shown quite clearly how far my opponent, Mr Pat Reeves, is prepared to go to try to sell out the liquor industry members in New South Wales by abolishing their penalty rates.

Senator Michael Baume —I spoke to people in the administrative committee of the Labor Party.

Senator MORRIS —Did you speak to people?

Senator Richardson —Name them.

Senator Michael Baume —Do you want me to?

Senator Richardson —Yes. I am on that committee. I want to be free of the allegation-name them.

The PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Michael Baume, you were heard in relative silence. I think that you should cease interjecting.

Senator Walters —Mr President, I have a point of order. On several occasions the honourable senator has referred to you as Mr Chairman and to Senator Baume as Mr Baume. Could you tell him to correct his language? He has not spoken in the Senate much but he should learn the protocols of the Senate.

The PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Walters, I told Senator Morris to call Senator Baume `Senator Baume'. I am called Chairman, Deputy President, whatever, during the day. I am aware that the honourable senator has been attacked tonight. I ask him to call me `Mr President' and I am sure he will.

Senator MORRIS —I certainly will, Mr President, and I am only too proud to do that. Mr Reeves should be ashamed to seek support from a man who is well known for his opposition to penalty rates. Senator Michael Baume should be ashamed at giving support to a dangerous gang which has already indicated that it wants to call national stoppages in regard to certain issues. At the same time our members are disgusted at the Reeves attempt, with friends like Senator Michael Baume, to take over the Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Employees Union. They are anti-penalty rate campaigners and they want to ensure that penalty rates are eliminated throughout the industry for members of the Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Employees Union. I have a letter from my barristers on instruction from my solicitor today. I seek leave to have the letter incorporated in Hansard.

Senator Puplick —Not until it has been seen.

The PRESIDENT —Senator Morris, you can show it to the shadow Minister on duty on the other side. He might agree for it to be tabled.

Senator MORRIS —The letter states:

I have been asked by my instructing solicitors to record certain events which ultimately led to the settlement of the abovementioned matter.

That is Reeves v. Morris. I continue:

To the best of my recollection the following occurred:

(i) The initial and original suggestions for settlement of the matter came from Mr Evatt of Counsel. He invited me, on a number of occasions, to seek instructions to pay his clients various sums of money in settlement of the proceedings.

Having sought those instructions, I then indicated to him that we were not prepared to settle the matter as we were confident of our prospects of success;

(ii) Nearer the time of actual settlement, I had a number of general conversations with Mr Haffenden of the Counsel, who by that stage had replaced Mr Evatt, regarding the hearing of the matter. The general prospects of settlement were discussed and I indicated to Mr Haffenden that, as my client was still confident of his prospects of success in the action, I was not instructed to put any offer of settlement. However, I indicated to Mr Haffenden that, if he had instructions to settle the matter, he should put an offer to me.

Subsequently, Mr Haffenden put an offer of settlement to my instructing solicitor, Mr Ludemann, and me. On instructions, that particular offer was rejected.

(iii) With regard to any allegation of fraud against Senator Morris, at one of the earlier Notices of Motion to strike out the Plaintiff's second or third Statement of Claim (which was successful) I invited Mr Evatt, in open Court, to plead any allegation of fraud that was to be alleged and maintained against Senator Morris.

Mr Evatt indicated in open Court, based upon his instructions no doubt, that there was no allegation of fraud being raised against Senator Morris.

From the evidence led by the Plaintiffs, there was never any evidence of fraud. Further, I note that the full amount that Mr Reeves alleged should have been in the Fund was accounted for. In fact, on uncontradicted evidence, there was a greater amount in the Fund.

The letter is signed by G. S. Charny, QC. Senator Michael Baume has tried to sling mud in this chamber tonight. He has stepped into the gutter and has tried to implicate me in a situation. He knows that I have preselection coming up on Sunday this week. I am pleased to tell the Senate that I have the full support of my Party in New South Wales-left, right and centre. I can assure Senator Baume that he has done the Liquor and Allied Industries Employees Union in New South Wales the greatest favour of all time by raising this matter tonight because for the last five months we have tried to prove beyond any doubt that he has been involved with the Pat Reeves gang to try to take control of the Liquor Industries Union in conjunction with a person who is running on that ticket by the name of Heggie. Everyone knows who Heggie is. Heggie works for Qantas Airways Ltd at the airport and is the husband of Mrs Heggie, who is the Liberal mayoress of Fairfield Council. She stood unsuccessfully for the Liberal Party in the seat of Cabramatta against a colleague of ours, Mr Newman.

So let us be clear on where all this stems from. Senator Baume is supporting a person by the name of Bill Wood. Bill Wood was sacked by the union in 1969-not by the union leadership but by the union membership-at the Sydney Town Hall. He was sacked again in 1975 by the Federal Council of the union for the misappropriation of money. That is the sort of person Senator Baume is supporting here tonight. These are the sorts of people whom Senator Baume has put on the record he has been supporting over the last six months. It goes back to 18 months ago when I led him into a trap, when he asked that question and I did not answer it. Senator Graham Richardson would know that because I spoke to the honourable senator about the matter then and told him what it was leading to. He fully agreed that I should not reply to those allegations at that point of time.

We have exposed Senator Baume tonight for what he is. We have exposed the Pat Reeves unity ticket for what it is-a combination of extreme right wing Liberal Party people trying to take over the liquor industries union. The ballot started yesterday. When my members throughout New South Wales read this transcript tomorrow-now that Senator Baume has delivered his seal of approval and come out of the cupboard-I am quite convinced that the John Morris team will be elected by a substantial majority. I am pleased to say that I am quite confident that on Sunday I will be selected as the No. 1 person from the Labor Party to represent New South Wales.