Thursday, 26 October 2017
Questions without Notice
Minister for Employment
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister's answer. Is it now the position of the government that staff can mislead their ministers, that ministers can mislead the parliament and that the minister will remain entirely unaccountable? How are your ministers meant to be running the country when they can't even run their office?
Mr Pyne interjecting—
The honourable member knows very well that a minister is accountable for what she says, and her obligation is to speak the truth. She was misled, as she said, and, once her staffer told her the truth and made the admission that he'd done the wrong thing, she corrected the record. She acted entirely properly. And that stands in stark contrast to the actions of the Leader of the Opposition. It's not a question of his staff; it's a question of the people that own him. He is a wholly owned subsidiary of the CFMEU. He is a wholly owned subsidiary of a militant trade union, cashed up and powerful, that defies the law. It treats judges, courts and fines as of no account. And, of course, he has delivered for them. He sent messages of joy and comradeship to the rally that John Setka addressed in which he attacked the Australian Federal Police as a political henchman—exactly the same criticism that his own industrial relations spokesman, the member for Gorton, made about the Federal Police. The Leader of the Opposition has not disowned either of them; he does not dare—they own him. He has no ability to stand up to that union, despite being called to account by Bob Hawke and by Kevin Rudd. Bob Hawke said that when he was Prime Minister he had the courage and the commitment to disaffiliate the BLF. He deregistered the BLF. He had the courage to do that. What does the Leader of the Opposition do? He just takes more money from them. He just gets the old receipt book out and takes more money from them, just as he took money, when he was the secretary of the union, from one employer after another and did not tell his members about it. He did not tell his members about it.
Ms Husar interjecting—
Then, when we sought to change the law, to do no more than oblige unions to disclose to their members the money they were getting from employers and to take that money only for legitimate purposes—transparent, openness; you'd think everyone would sign up to that—not the party opposite. They are not the party of the workers. They're the party of the workers' representatives.
Mr Perrett interjecting—