House debates

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Statements by Members

Australian Workers' Union

1:33 pm

Photo of Lisa ChestersLisa Chesters (Bendigo, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Yesterday we witnessed an extraordinary attack on our democracy, with the AFP raiding the AWU offices in Melbourne and Sydney. In a letter released by Ben Davis, the Victorian branch secretary of the AWU, the branch said: 'Registered Organisations commenced an investigation last Friday afternoon, at which time they did not request any of these documents. That they chose to take an extreme measure of an AFP raid and called the media beforehand to make sure it was witnessed shows that this was a political stunt and a publicity exercise rather than a legitimate exercise of the law.' And he is right.

In a time and on a day when we are talking about AFP resources, we have seen a prioritisation of a relationship between GetUp! and the AWU. Who are GetUp!? Why is the government so scared of GetUp!? They're keyboard warriors who send emails to their MPs. They are engaged in the political process. Perhaps the government needs to focus on the real crooks who are out there—such as people who are involved in wage theft. Never has the AFP raided 7-Eleven, for example. Never has the AFP focused on wage theft, a real problem in our community and in our businesses. Never has this government actually engaged with or talked to the AWU Esso workers, who have been locked out for days and days in Longford. Perhaps the government needs to stop attacking unions with every element of its arm and focus on workers.