Senate debates

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Australian Water Holdings

3:22 pm

Photo of Ian MacdonaldIan Macdonald (Queensland, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

The depths of despair to which the Australian Labor Party have sunk have never been more clearly emphasised than in today's question time. Clearly, the questions committee of the ALP has gone on strike, like good union members. They have realised that there is pointless activity happening here—that is, question time. There was not a single question that the Labor Party have been able to or been prepared to ask about the policies of government, which is what question time is all about. What do they revert to? They revert to smears and attacks on the credibility of a person who has already given impeccable service to this country and who will continue to give impeccable service as a minister of this government for many years to come.

I cannot understand what Labor Party senators do not understand about the President's ruling: 'The question is out of the order. It is not relevant.' You would excuse Senator O'Neill, because she has only been in the Senate a little time, but Senator Wong, the leader of the party in the Senate, who has been here for some 12 years, could not quite understand the President's ruling. The questions were simply not in order, but she continued to besmirch members of the Senate whose credibility is impeccable.

People in glasshouses should not throw stones. We might ask: what do Labor senators know about that disgraceful exhibition at the front doors of this building 10 or 12 years ago, when the brass doors were knocked down by a group of people, including many unionists—rabble!—out there who were trying to damage Commonwealth property? Perhaps we will get a statement from the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate about what happened on that occasion and whether those people involved ever paid for the damage done to Parliament House.

The questions today very often referred to Mr Eddie Obeid. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't Mr Eddie Obeid a former Labor member of parliament? If you want to know what Mr Obeid did, can I suggest to Labor senators opposite that you go and talk to your former Labor parliamentary colleague, Mr Obeid. Perhaps Senator Conroy could do that when he is picking up the keys for Mr Obeid's chalet up in the snowfields. I understand Senator Conroy was the recipient of that benefit.

Perhaps we should look at the training mine that ICAC referred to when my namesake—and I have often thought over the last few years about changing my name by deed poll—in New South Wales, Ian Macdonald, who was engaged in corrupt conduct with former CFMEU boss John Maitland about that training scheme rip-off perpetrated by members of the Labor Party who were in the New South Wales parliament at the time. This training mine proposal had the written endorsement of Mr Greg Combet, a Labor member of the other chamber and a former senior member of the Labor government.

We remember that former senator Bob Carr promoted Eddie Obeid. It has been suggested—I do not think he has yet been convicted of anything—that he is corrupt. It was former Labor senator Bob Carr who also promoted my namesake, Ian Macdonald, a Labor member of the New South Wales parliament, into his ministry. And all senators opposite stood by and protected Craig Thomson, who we now know, according to a court decision, is guilty of corrupt conduct. The President of the Labor Party in New South Wales has also been convicted of corrupt conduct.

If Labor senators want to ask questions about allegedly corrupt conduct, can I suggest they talk to Mr Obeid, Mr Williamson and Mr Craig Thomson. While they are at it, they might also talk to Mr Gordon Nuttall, a former Labor minister in my state of Queensland, who is currently serving time in jail for corruptly receiving bribes. Perhaps if my Labor friends opposite want to know about real corruption, they might ask their own colleagues rather than try to besmirch the reputation of a great Australian. (Time expired)


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