Tuesday, 18 October 2016
The first problem that Mr Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition, is trying to deal with is the civil war in the Labor Party. His second problem that he is trying to distract his caucus from is that he has shackled them to the CFMEU in the great debate in this country over industrial relations reform to change the building and construction industry. So, in the oldest trick in the book, the Leader of the Opposition has come into the House and moved the suspension of standing orders. He has given a ripsnorting speech, in his mind—all of it read, by the way, about the apparent perfidiousness of this government to do with trying to get our legislation through.
But we know, the media knows and the public knows this is all a smokescreen for the twin problems the Leader of the Opposition faces—the disintegration of the national left and the fact that he has shackled the Labor Party to the CFMEU over what every mum and dad, and small businessman in the country knows is a vital reform for building and construction in this country—that is, to bring back the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
I will turn to the first problem that the Leader of the Opposition has. In the Senate, he has Gavin Marshall, a Victorian left senator. He is openly attacking, taking a political hatchet to, his own colleagues, whether it is Catherine King, the member for Ballarat; whether it is the member for Scullin; or whether it is in fact the very well respected member for Jagajaga, whom I have not always agreed with over the many years we have been in parliament together. But to attack the member for Jagajaga is a bizarre step. What it indicates is that the Leader of the Opposition has completely lost control of the Victorian Labor Party.
Today we have seen, in the last few hours, that the member for Grayndler has attacked Gavin Marshall. At least the member is standing up for his mates; he usually does that. The member for Grayndler has attacked Gavin Marshall and said that Gavin Marshall's comments 'speak for themselves; they say more about Senator Marshall than they do about the colleagues he is disparaging'. At least the member is standing by his colleagues. But he has also failed to endorse Kimberley Kitching, the Labor Party nominee from Victoria for the Senate.
This is a man who knows every intricate detail of the Labor Party across the country. This is a man who stood for the leadership of the Labor Party and was the people's choice. Not a leaf falls in the Labor Party forest without the member for Grayndler knowing that it has happened. Instead, the member for Grayndler has said:
'I didn't have a vote, I'm not familiar with all of the candidates …
… … …
'I don't know all of the candidates, therefore I wasn't in a position to make a judgment.'
The member for Grayndler, so prepared to speak for the Leader of the Opposition on this problem that the Leader of the Opposition has, is pretending he has never heard of Kimberley Kitching—never heard of her. She has only run for several preselections over the last 10 years in Victoria and been blocked! She was blocked by Julia Gillard, blocked by then senator Stephen Conroy and stopped from getting into the parliament. Anthony Albanese, the member for Grayndler, missed all of that! He never saw any of that happening! He has never heard of Kimberley Kitching! He is not familiar with the candidates! She is only married to Andrew Landeryou, who everybody in this political firmament knows because of his mischievous past. The member for Grayndler, on the other hand, has never heard of them!
So the reason that the motion for the suspension of standing orders should not be supported is that we on this side of the House want to get on with the business of government. We want to reform the building and construction industry. We want to bring back the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Mr Speaker, I am happy to curtail my remarks because, after we hear from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, I have great pleasure in knowing that the Prime Minister intends to contribute to this debate.