Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Questions without Notice
Australian Building and Construction Commission
My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister advise the House on the importance of re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission? How will the ABCC improve the productivity of work sites, reduce the cost of construction and crack down on union thuggery?
I thank the honourable member for his question. As if we needed any more reminding, a video has become available today that shows, on a Queensland construction site—for the Commonwealth Games, no less; paid for by taxpayers' dollars—the threats from the CFMEU graphically displayed. 'I've got your telephone number,' that thug said. 'I know where you live,' that thug said. 'Do you want your site shut down for another two days?' that thug said. That is the thuggery that the opposition continues to endorse and protect.
'Rubbish!' they cry. Well, you've got the chance to vote to bring back the rule of law to the construction sector.
We know that the CFMEU regards the law of the land with contempt. They regard the fines that are imposed on them—millions of dollars of fines—with the same indifference as a courier might regard a few parking tickets. They pay no regard to the rule of law.
And this has a direct impact on our economic progress. We are paying 30 per cent more on these union jobs—not because of any reason other than that they stand over, they threaten, they bully and they intimidate.
And what about the way you have favoured contractors? What about the city of Brisbane? Try getting on a job if you are a tiler in the city of Brisbane and you are not on the CFMEU list. Try that—you won't get very far. This thuggery has to stop.
We know what works. We are not being theoretical here. When there was the Australian Building and Construction Commission, disputes went down, productivity increased and the rule of law prevailed.
Mr Hammond interjecting—
And there is a clear-cut case for reform here.
It was the opposition leader in 2012, doing the bidding of his union masters, who abolished the ABCC. He did that because he had to. He did that because they fund the Labor Party; they control the Labor Party. All of their academics, all of their fine lawyers, all of their pretension and talk about fairness—
Mr Hammond interjecting—
Ms Owens interjecting—
How is it fair to have a militant union ignoring the law, standing over contractors, denying people a chance to work and undermining our economic growth? The time for this sectional interest of the Labor Party has come to an end. This parliament must embrace the rule of law and restore justice to the construction sector. (Time expired)