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Thursday, 9 December 1993
Page: 4362

Senator CRANE (1.00 a.m.) —I wish to speak very strongly against this clause of the bill and bring to the attention of this chamber and the Australian people the big doublecross that has just been done. It is a fact that no-one can trust a Democrat. To emphasise what we know about them, because it must be got across, I hold up a newspaper article which shows how the Australian Democrats have grabbed the publicity. The headline to that article says,`Non-unionists get sacking protection'.

Senator Hill —Who said that?

Senator CRANE —Senator Bell.

Senator Hill —Which way did he vote?

Senator CRANE —We have just seen which way he voted. We have seen the big doublecross. I am so infuriated by what has just occurred in this place, not because we lost the amendment—although I am furious about that—but because we exchanged information on our positions and were told a certain thing. We came into this place to find—

Senator Calvert —Then you go public and put it in the paper.

Senator CRANE —Yes, I know. They went public; they put their position and what they were doing in the paper. Their actions are beyond my comprehension. They did not even have the courage to telephone us and say that they had changed their minds and why. They did not have the courage or moral fortitude. There is no consistency in dealing with things in this place. Those opposite can laugh about it all they like. They think they have had a victory.

  The tragedy is that the 70 per cent of people in the work force who choose not to belong to a union will now be coerced and intimidated into joining unions. The fact that our amendment has not been carried will totally undermine enterprise flexibility and the agreement process that this government was trying to put in place. Those opposite and the Democrats know darned well that any small business that is non-union will not go near an enterprise flexibility agreement. No-one could blame them for that. It is about time the Democrats started showing a little honour—

Senator Ian Macdonald —They don't know the meaning of the word.

Senator CRANE —That is right.

Senator Calvert —They don't know the meaning of `enterprise' either.

Senator CRANE —No, they do not. But they know the meaning of putting in place legislation that will result in people who not want to join a union being intimidated and coerced.

Senator Chapman —Treachery.

Senator CRANE —That is absolutely right. They know the meaning of that. It is tragic for the vast majority of the work force, decent Australians, that they have been doublecrossed. The Democrats will be condemned to the depths of hell for what they have done, because this type of action is absolute and total treachery.

  Motion (by Senator Hill) put:

  That progress be reported.