House debates

Thursday, 10 May 2012


Member for Dobell

3:11 pm

Photo of Ms Julie BishopMs Julie Bishop (Curtin, Liberal Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

This matter casts a pall over the integrity of this parliament because the report found that more than $270,000 was misappropriated to fund the election campaign of the member for Dobell. He sits here in the face of that finding of fraud to win his right to be in this place. Standing orders must be suspended because it is important for the reputation of the parliament as a whole that the Prime Minister reveal all the support provided to the member for Dobell by any member of the federal parliamentary Labor Party and the New South Wales Labor Party, whether she or any member of her government was consulted about that support and whether she lobbied for any support to be extended to him.

Standing orders must be suspended because it is also important for the broader community. The Fair Work Australia report found that the member for Dobell's misappropriation—his misuse—of more than $500,000 collected from lowly-paid workers in the healthcare sector was during this time as national secretary of the Health Services Union. However, ongoing support that could exceed even that amount has been extended by New South Wales Labor to the member for Dobell, and it is safe to assume that the majority of funds provided to the New South Wales Labor Party organisation came from union fees collected from workers across the state, including in healthcare and other industries. The battlers who look to the union movement to protect their interests must be appalled.

Standing orders must be suspended because the member for Dobell has been found by an official government agency to have misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars, yet the Labor Party, funded by the unions, has extended potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars more in supporting him. There is only one possible answer for this situation: the Prime Minister knows that, if the member Dobell were unable to pay his legal bills, he could potentially be declared bankrupt and his vote would be lost to her government. The Prime Minister has a very personal interest in keeping the member here.

The legitimacy of the member for Dobell's place in the parliament must be seriously questioned due to the findings of Fair Work Australia, and the role of any member of this government in supporting his ongoing presence in this parliament must be explained. The member for Denison has said in the past that his support for the government may be withdrawn in the event of serious misconduct; the members for Lyne and New England have said maladministration or corruption. There are few allegations more serious than this government's being complicit, and I say to those members: there is a line that has been crossed here, and it is time to support this motion.


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