House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Questions without Notice

Building and Construction Industry

3:05 pm

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Casey, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Education representing the Minister for Employment. I ask the minister why it is important to maintain the rule of law on construction sites around our country.

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Casey for his question because this side of the House does believe it is extremely important to maintain the rule of law on building and construction sites. Everyone in the House would have been horrified by the revelations at the royal commission—which have been appearing in the media over the last few months—of links to murders, extortion, bribery, threats to union leaders, threats to workers, and corruption and thuggery on building and construction sites throughout Australia, particularly by the CFMEU in Sydney and Melbourne. We have all been horrified by it and this side of the House believes we should do something about it. That is why we want to bring back the Australian Building and Construction Commission. It is why we want to have a Registered Organisations Commission to protect good union leaders—honest union leaders—from having their reputations tarnished by dishonest union leaders. It is why we set up the royal commission. You would have thought that you would get support for that from all sides of the House, but we have not. It was brought to my attention that there was an attempt by the Leader of the Opposition to get tough. Somebody recently showed me this news article; it said, 'Shorten's tough call on bikies'. I thought: oh good, the Leader of the Opposition is turning over a new leaf, the Leader of the Opposition realises that having a tough cop on the industrial beat is a good idea, but then I read the first paragraph. I was reading about Comancheros and the Rebels being involved with the CFMEU, turning up to building sites and intimidating workers, union leaders and bosses. It says:

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has demanded that union leaders outlaw the entry of anyone wearing bikie colours or badges into building and construction sites across the country.

So he is going to stop them wearing their colours at the building sites. That will fix it. That will stop it. They can still engage in thuggery and corruption, they can still do standover tactics on employees, as long as they are wearing the right gear. They have to take off their colours. Plain-packaging thuggery is fine but if they have their colours on, he does not want them there. They are shaking in their boots, Bill!

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.