Thursday, 6 March 2014
Qantas Sale Amendment Bill 2014; Second Reading
I am pleased to speak briefly on this Qantas Sale Amendment Bill 2014, which before the House. I am delighted that the Labor Party facilitated this debate by moving a suspension of standing orders to bring it on. The government was very pleased to support it. It was an unusual move, that is certain, but it does mean that the government can pass this bill today. The pressure will then be on the opposition to determine their position in the Senate—and the rest of the Senate, of course, the Greens and the crossbenchers. The pressure will be on Labor to decide whether they want to put Qantas on the same playing field as Virgin or whether they want to continue to allow Virgin to have an advantage over Qantas. I hope that they will come to a sensible position and I intend to give them the opportunity to consider that over the next week's break from the parliament.
I have listened to the Leader of the Opposition's speech, which was obviously designed to hang on to his leadership—it was directed to the people behind him rather than to the people outside this building. As I have said many times, Labor should stop standing up for the unions and start standing up for the workers. Start standing up for the workers. Unfortunately, while Labor allows itself to be shackled to the union movement, it is a very heavy anvil that they are dragging around. It means that they are making all their decisions based on the factionalism of the Labor Party, what the unions tells them—in this case, Tony Sheldon and the Qantas unions. Unfortunately, it is very bad for the workers but is actually particularly bad for the Labor Party. It is bad for the Labor Party to allow itself to simply be the union party. It is bad for the Leader of the Opposition to allow himself to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the union movement.
I know that Mr Albanese, the member for Grayndler, achieved over 18,000 votes from the Labor members and the caucus. The Leader of the Opposition, the member for Maribyrnong, achieved over 12,000 votes. That was 18,000 to 12,000. Somehow the member for Grayndler was defeated. He was the people's choice.