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Matter of Public Importance Debate - Union Payments

PRICE:  I rise on yet another absurd motion by those opposite.

 Haven't we heard some fire and brimstone in this place over the last 24 hours!

 We've heard some frankly unbelievable claims by those opposite, trotting in here one after the other and sticking up for their union mates, as they do.

 It's laughable that today's MPI is about proper standards and accountability when those opposite, who claim to represent the workers of Australia, have failed to support our legislation to protect those workers, to protect union funds and to ensure that workplaces are safe.

Let's look at our record.

The government have done an exemplary job at exposing the criminal and often despicable behaviour of the union movement in this country.

We were responsible for the introduction for the ABCC, removing the rotten apples from the building sites and ensuring that the construction sector once again becomes a functioning, workable industry. 

But did those opposite support that piece of legislation? No, they didn't.

Ms Husar interjecting—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Irons ): I remind the member for Lindsay that she's already had one warning today.

PRICE: What about corrupt payments? 

Did they support the corrupting benefits legislation? 

No, they did not. 

Did they support the government in stamping out under-the-table corrupt payments, criminal payments, from employers and unions?

No, they did not.

We have also established the Registered Organisations Commission, which was responsible for the recent raid on the AWU that we are discussing here today, but did Labor support that legislation?

 No, they did not.

And why is that? 


We all know why, because those opposite dance to the tune of the union movement every day, day after day.


 As sure as night follows day, we know the rules.

It's worth reflecting on why the AFP raided the AWU.

 The Registered Organisations Commission opened their investigation into the Leader of the Opposition's union last Friday, but such is their experience and others' experience with the union movement, with their arrogance towards the rule of law, that the Registered Organisations Commission believed that, if they had requested the information, the information would have been destroyed.

 Let that just sink in.

 It's all quiet now; how wonderful!

How outrageous that those members opposite come in here, day after day, defending those organisations that display such a criminal lack of respect for our laws and our country's institutions that they would potentially destroy damning evidence against the man who wants to be the next Prime Minister!

That is why the commission advised the AFP to raid the offices to collect those documents. 

The raid was conducted because the Registered Organisations Commission thought there was sufficient evidence of union wrongdoing in regard to the opposition leader's donation of $100,000 to GetUp! 10 years ago. 

That is why the AWU was raided.

But this is not the first instance of unions playing fast and loose with the rule of law, is it?

We've seen this year CFMEU bosses in Victoria telling rallies of workers that they would find out where the ABCC inspectors lived and would target their children.

Or how about the CFMEU walking off the job at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane? 

That caused thousands of dollars in excessive government expenditure—

An opposition member interjecting—

PRICE: What?

That didn't happen?

I'll take that interjection. 

And it delayed the project.

How about the illegal Commonwealth Games industrial action where CFMEU officials threatened a safety inspector?

But don't take my word for it.

We've got at least three former Labor prime ministers who have come out to talk about the despicable behaviour of the CFMEU.

 Kevin Rudd, only two days ago, told the Labor Party it should sever its ties with the CFMEU.

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke said last year that the ALP should sever its ties with the CFMEU, and also former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating said that the party should reduce the power that the union has over it. 

I would suggest the current Leader of the Opposition take some advice from his predecessors.

So as we, on this side of the House, have all said today, this MPI is truly ridiculous, and those in the Labor Party should hang their heads in shame for the comments they've made in this place today.

Everything we on this side of the House do is about protecting Australian workers.

It's about protecting the workplace.

It's about protecting their funds. 

Those opposite do everything in their power to protect the union movement, their union mates, while selling out the union members, as we've seen with the example of the workers at Cleanevent, and we know that they do this to protect their union mates, and we know that it's done to protect the rivers of gold that are given to them to help with their election campaigns. 

It is shameful that we even have to debate this today, and it is shameful that those opposite do not protect the workers that they claim, day in and day out, that they represent.

Shame on you.

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