House debates

Thursday, 10 May 2012


Member for Dobell

3:00 pm

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training) Share this | Hansard source

I will withdraw in the interests of allowing the debate to continue.

Firstly, the member for Dobell rode on the backs of the 77,000 members of the Health Services Union, taking their money and spending their money on personal matters—on fine dining, on overseas trips and on his election campaign. Now he is riding on the backs of the 8,500 members of the New South Wales Labor Party, who pay their dues, stand at the polling booths, put up the election posters, come to the fundraisers and buy Johno Johnson's raffle tickets. Yet their money—Johno Johnson's raffle tickets—is being spent today on the legal fees of the member for Dobell. How ashamed he must be. The standing orders must be suspended so that the Prime Minister can come into the House and outline, for the good of the parliament, the arrangements between the New South Wales Labor Party and the member for Dobell that keep the Prime Minister clinging to power.

What do we know already about this matter? We know that in 2011 New South Wales Labor paid $150,000 of undeclared funds to settle the member for Dobell's legal actions against the Fairfax press. We know that New South Wales Labor has paid an undisclosed sum, since September last year, for the member for Dobell's legal fees in relation to the Fair Work Australia inquiry into him—an undisclosed sum which only came to light today, again when it was reported in the News Limited press.

Last night, the member for Dobell updated the Register of Members' Interests when he got an inquiry from the media about it. His story is that he only got the money two weeks ago. The New South Wales Labor Party story is that they have been paying since last September. Those of us who are lawyers know that we do not usually bill every eight months. We tend to bill on work in progress every month. So the possibility that Holding Redlich waited eight months to register their invoice to the New South Wales Labor Party is utterly unbelievable. I do not stand up for lawyers every day, but they are very good billers, I can assure you of that. In fact, only on 20 April, Holding Redlich was writing to the Senate Legislation Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. They were being paid by the New South Wales Labor Party in order to stop the production—


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