Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019
It's a great pleasure to be able to rise in this place on behalf of the people of Goldstein and in particular in support of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019. I don't doubt for a second that the people of Goldstein have a basic expectation that those who seek to represent others in a union might be law-abiding citizens in their task and duties and as a consequence would support this bill. We have just heard one of, and we always enjoy, the—how would you put it?—I'll be charitable and say 'speeches' of the shadow Attorney-General. What we saw alive, and what we have been seeing since the election—I don't say this with any sense of joy; it's a sadness—is the opposition's enlivenment of the seven stages of grief. Immediately after the election we had shock and disbelief at their defeat and that they wouldn't be able to go on and do the opposite of what this bill seeks to achieve, to enlarge the space for their mates and paymasters in the unions to do as they wish on any industrial worksite around the country.
Then we had denial about the basis on which they lost the election and what that was driven by. Their solution to this denial was to select the current Leader of the Opposition to lead them rather than reflect on their dilemma and why they did not attract the votes of the Australian people. Then we had guilt. We saw that yesterday from the former Leader of the Opposition, who talked about his very great disappointment that he wasn't serving on this side of the chamber and able to lead his team to victory in order to do the exact opposite of what this legislation seeks to achieve. We then have seen things like anger and bargaining. We saw that particularly with the allocation of the shadow ministry, where people were included or excluded proportionately based on the rage over who was responsible for what, the chief victims of that being not only the former Leader of the Opposition but also the former shadow Treasurer. We've seen depression, loneliness and reflection. We saw that specifically through their complete incapacity to deal with basic issues like tax cuts, where prior to the election they opposed $387 billion in tax cuts and today they say that apparently we're not doing enough.
Then, of course, we've just seen, in the shadow Attorney-General's speech on this bill, the reconstruction and working through of the issues, and trying to understand and to find a meandering narrative—
Mr Simmonds interjecting—
and it meandered, as the good member for Ryan has reminded me—about why they can rationalise turning a blind eye to the illegality of union officials while concurrently lecturing others in this place about integrity!
At some point, I'm sure, the opposition will reach a moment of acceptance, having gone through those stages. And we are about to come up to a five-week break in the parliamentary schedule where they may just do that. It's entirely possible, of course, that they will go in the reverse direction and go back to things like denial and guilt, certainly anger and bargaining, and perhaps a reconstruction, working through the issues that they face.