Thursday, 17 March 2016
Questions without Notice
Building and Construction Industry
My question is to the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science representing the Minister for Employment. Will the minister outline to the House the government's commitment to ensure that employer and employee organisations always act in the best interest of their members? What hurdles exist to improving productivity in the building and construction industry?
I thank the member for Robertson for her question. She, like the government, is very committed to cleaning up the union movement in Australia and she is also committed to improving productivity in the building and construction industry. She is also committed to supporting honest union leaders who do the right thing by workers and to getting rid of the bad union leaders who give them all a bad name. The government has introduced the Registered Organisations Commission bill and the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill because they support honest union leaders, they will improve productivity in building and construction and they will root out dishonest, corrupt union leaders.
The only people opposing this legislation are the Labor Party. The Leader of the Opposition and the Labor Party are blocking these bills in the Senate. Make no mistake, this will be an issue at the next election because it is vitally important that these bills pass. The Leader of the Opposition was on the ABC's 7.30 on Tuesday night. He was there defending the CFMEU. I was absolutely shocked. He strongly, enthusiastically supported the CFMEU. This is despite the fact that Dyson Heydon said in the royal commission that the disregard for the law was a longstanding malignancy or disease in the CFMEU.
Ms Kate Ellis interjecting—
Justice Jessup of the Federal Court described the CFMEU as the:
… worse recidivist in the history of the common law.
This is the worst union in the country, yet the Leader of the Opposition was endorsing and supporting them on Tuesday night on 7.30. Three times Leigh Sales asked him to reject donations from the CFMEU because of the cloud hanging over them since the royal commission. Three times Leigh Sales asked him about donations from the CFMEU and he did not answer the question at any point. There has been $7 million of donations given to the Labor Party since 2007-08 by the CFMEU. We know, of course, why Labor Party will not act on the Registered Organisations Commission and on the Australian Building and Construction Commission, because the CFMEU are deeply involved and ingrained in the core of their organisation. If Labor win the next election, the CFMEU win. If Labor win the next election, the CFMEU are back at the cabinet table. Just like we have seen in Victoria with the Daniel Andrews government and just like we have seen in the ACT with the Barr government, if Labor win the next election, the CFMEU win.
Mr Husic interjecting—
Mr Conroy interjecting—
Mr Champion interjecting—