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Monday, 7 September 2015
Page: 6085


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:19): It is almost un-Australian the way the Australian Labor Party continue to talk down the economy and continue to say untruths about the economy and misrepresent the facts. The simple fact is that, since this government has been in power, some 335,000 additional jobs have been created in this country, many of which are in the electorate of Canning. The previous Labor speaker seemed to be making a policy speech for Canning and not talking on the subject of this debate at all. But I am sure the people of Canning are worldly and intelligent enough not to follow the lies and lines of the Australian Labor Party and particularly the union movement.

One of the things that the Abbott government is doing to bolster the economy is creating new jobs through additional trade opportunities around the world. The China free trade proposal is a great example of that. We all know the benefits that will come from the China free trade agreement, and yet the Labor Party continue to talk it down. One would almost think that they are xenophobic and anti-Chinese in their approach to this particular proposal.

The lies that the union movement tell about the free trade agreement are legion. We understand why the Australian Labor Party are mouthing the words of the ETU and the CFMEU. It is because the union movement generally, including the ACTU and the ETU, control the Australian Labor Party. They determine the preselection of all of the senators sitting opposite. They control the parliamentary Labor Party. Most of the shadow cabinet are former union hacks. That might be okay if the union movement actually represented Australian workers, but the union movement represent only 17 per cent of Australia's workers. That means 83 per cent of Australian workers choose not to join a union. You can well understand why, when you see the miserable efforts of the unions to help workers. They are pretty good at helping themselves, as the royal commission has shown, and pretty good at putting their hands in the workers' pockets, but not much good at helping workers. That is why only 12 per cent of workers in the private sector—which is mining, agriculture, services, finance—choose to join a union. That is, 88 per cent of workers in those areas determine not to join a union. When you have the Electrical Trades Union continuing rogue house calls across the country to say the China free trade agreement will endorse electricians who do not meet our licensing or registration standards, that is simply a lie.

Senator Conroy: That is true.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: It is simply a lie. We do not allow unqualified electricians from any country—including China—to work in Australia and threaten the safety of Australians. I might add that that is quite different to the Labor government, which was allowing untrained people to put pink batts into people's houses, causing regrettable and lamentable deaths of people who were untrained. Under this government, electricians will only operate in Australia if they meet Australian standards. The campaign by the Electrical Trades Union and the ACTU in particular comes from the concern that, by representing only 12 per cent of Australian workers, the union movement sees that it is facing the end of its rort-laden career. The only chance they have of continuing to be relevant in Australia is that they can somehow get the Australian Labor Party back into government. They, representing only 12 per cent of Australian workers, will then control Australia. This is a conspiracy, I think, of major proportions. You only need to look at those numbers to understand what a scourge on the Australian economy the union movement is—(Time expired)