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Monday, 16 October 2017
Page: 7506


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (13:40): I was listening very carefully then, and I think Senator Dodson might want to clarify that last sentence—that Labor would oppose the bill if there was no amendment moved to this bill by the government. The government will be opposing this amendment. It's obviously up to the Senate to determine the Senate's position, but the government will oppose the amendment. We believe all the reforms in this bill are sensible and should not be controversial.

Since the government responded to the Harper review in late 2015, we have not heard anything from the opposition against any of these reforms, and now, suddenly, without notice, the opposition has chosen to oppose schedule 6 of this bill. Schedule 6 simply proposes to align the penalties for breaches of the secondary boycott provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to the same level as other breaches of the competition law, as recommended by the Harper review and the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. Instead of supporting this sensible reform, Labor is seeking to create a special carve-out for unions that commit serious breaches of the law that are completely unrelated to industrial conditions that affect their members. Again, this is Labor, under Mr Shorten's leadership, running a protection racket for unions that break the law at the expense of small businesses, workers, consumers and the wider economy. The government will not be supporting this Labor amendment and will instead propose that schedule 6 stand as printed.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR ( Senator Gallacher ): The question is that schedule 6 stand as printed.