House debates

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013; Second Reading

5:32 pm

Photo of Bob KatterBob Katter (Kennedy, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

I had a great-granddad that paid out of his own money to go to America to buy two cranes to create the port which we now call Townsville. He paid for them out of his own money. We had no schools in Charters Towers. It was a mining field. So he went and built a school out of his own money. He got repaid for the cranes, but he did not get repaid for the school. When he started standing up for these poor workers that were dying, he put 3,000 pounds—this is in the history books—which is over $1 million in today's money, behind the strike fund and cut himself off from the social elite of the town, not that that would have worried him much!

There is a responsibility on the rich and powerful to do something to look after the ordinary Australians. It is a noblesse oblige which does not exist with the Liberal Party today, but it did once upon a time. I have great admiration for our Prime Minister, but you know he is under great forces here. All I can say is you have got to stand up to those forces.

For the last Prime Minister who succumbed to pressure from his own party—and I could be wrong but I do not think John Howard ever wanted to remove arbitration in Australia—the net result was not only the loss of government but the loss of his own seat in parliament. It was a tragedy, in my opinion, because I had great admiration for John Howard. Only twice have prime ministers lost their seats in parliament, and on both occasions they had removed our right to arbitration. So I say to a lot of the people on that side of the House who may fall into the category of rich and powerful: if you do then you have a responsibility to those who are not rich and powerful. We have to come together to ensure that these things do not happen.

In the last two minutes I have, let me return to the CFMEU. It is my union. I hold a ticket in the coalminers union and am very proud to say that to you. We were forced by Bob Hawke to take on the builders labourers. He said, 'Oh well, you blokes can handle them because you're all commos.' There were some very good people in the builders division but there were also some very bad people.

Mr Littleproud interjecting

It would be nice if this person here would give me a chance to have a say. He seems to think he should be speaking.


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