House debates

Thursday, 6 June 2013


Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013; Consideration in Detail

3:52 pm

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Here I am finding myself debating an important amendment that we put forward about the right of entry. The reason we have to debate this point is the Labor Party has done a backflip under the pressure of the unions—their paymasters in the unions. Shame on you, Labor Party! Shame on you! Not only is it good enough that 50 per cent of all votes at the federal Labor conferences go to the unions but 100 per cent of members of those opposite in the caucus are also members of the union. If you go to the number of members of unions across the private sector of Australia, only 13 per cent are members of the union. Here we have right-of-entry provisions that this government wants to introduce to allow union bosses to go into the lunchtime hours of private sector workers across the country. What about the 87 per cent of the workers who are not members of the union? They want to eat their burger and chips in quiet. They do not want to have the union bosses storm into their lunchtime hours and try to recruit them.

If it was not good enough that the Labor Party, whether in the childcare sector or in the aged-care sector, made someone's payments to those sectors contingent upon them joining a union, now they have taken it to the workplaces of every private sector employer in the country. That is not good enough, because it was not a recommendation of the Fair Work review panel hand-picked by those on the other side. They hand-picked their own reviewers, led by Professor McCallum, and those reviewers did not even recommend this amendment before the House. That is why the pieman, Bill Shorten, the member for Maribyrnong, said he was going to remove this amendment. But now he has got the phone call from the TWU and the CFMEU and the AWU—they have all rung his office at once and said, 'Bring back that right-of-entry provision.'

What is absolutely outrageous about this is that it is in breach of the Prime Minister's promise to the Australian people. We had a promise from the Prime Minister about the carbon tax. We had a promise from the Prime Minister about private health insurance. We had a promise from the Prime Minister about family tax benefit A. And we had a promise from the Prime Minister about right of entry. This is what the Prime Minister said about keeping the right-of-entry provisions as they were, in the National Press Club debate on 8 November 2007:

I'm happy to do whatever you would like. If you'd like me to pledge to resign—

yes, we would—

sign a contract in blood—

yes, we would—

take a polygraph—

yes, we would—

bet my house on it—

yes, we would—

give you my mother as a hostage—

yes, we would—

whatever you'd like.

She said they would keep the right-of-entry provisions as they are. How outrageous is that? I say to the Independents: how outrageous is it that the Prime Minister goes to the Australian National Press Club and tells the people across this country—all 23 million of them—'We are going to keep the right-of-entry provisions as they are'?

Again, Julia Gillard in a media press release on 28 August 2007 said, 'As of today federal Labor will maintain existing right-of-entry rules without exception.' They have not. We know, through the economic reforms that we introduced, that we delivered a 22 per cent increase in real wages and two million new jobs, paid back $96 billion of debt, lifted the credit rating from AA to AAA and doubled the crane works on our waterfront. That was as a result of our workplace relations reforms and our prudent economic management. Those on the other side have broken promise after promise to the Australian people, have come into this House and done a backflip out of all proportion and now are saying to every employer of Australia, 'Your lunchrooms are not safe because we will be in there at the first opportunity.' Shame on you, Labor Party! Shame on you!


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