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Thursday, 25 June 2009
Page: 4297

Senator FIELDING (Leader of the Family First Party) (11:54 AM) —Family First will be supporting this disallowance motion. This is a breach of what the government’s election policy said: that they would not tinker with this until they brought it into parliament at a certain date. I come from the state of Victoria, where, when you really think about it, there have been notorious issues in the building industry area. The Labor Party’s Forward with Fairness policy implementation plan clearly states on page 24:

… Labor will maintain the existing arrangements for the building and construction industry …

The ministerial direction is clearly a breach of that particular statement. It is quite clear that it is. The Australian Building and Construction Commission is such an important body that its very existence has seen a dramatic improvement in workplace behaviour in the industry, and I am opposed to any attempts to water it down. I am happy to have the debate in parliament, but I do not think that to go and do it sneakily through a ministerial direction, knowing that this is a contentious issue, is the right way of doing it. Under the ministerial direction, all objections will be allowed to be taken to court. This can be used just as a tactic to delay proceedings and will cause the commission to be hampered and hamstrung in their ability to continue to keep the industry clean. So, to keep it very short and sharp—because someone asked me to keep it tight—we will be supporting the disallowance motion.