Senate debates

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Australian Water Holdings

3:32 pm

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

I commence my contribution by indicating that I totally support and agree with the comments of the Prime Minister when he said:

Senator Sinodinos has done the right and decent thing … as you'd expect from someone who has given our country such long and faithful service.

He continued:

I look forward to his restoration to the ministry.

I think every fair-minded senator in this chamber would agree with those comments from the Prime Minister.

Labor has this confected outrage about the Obeid family. I say to the Labor Party senators: if you have a problem with Mr Obeid, if you want to know what he did with his money, if you want to know who he 'imposed upon'—if I can use those words—to get favours for his company, there is no-one better to ask than yourselves, because, after all, Mr Obeid was a Labor member of parliament. He was a colleague of many of those opposite. Senator O'Neill, who is to follow me, was a colleague of Mr Obeid's. She would have been subjected to the influences of the Obeid family.

We know that Senator Conroy was very close to the Obeid family because he actually stayed in their chalet for a night or two. Mr Tony Burke, a former senior member of the Gillard and Rudd governments, also shared in Mr Obeid's largess. Senator Cameron gave my namesake, the New South Wales Labor Ian Macdonald, a reference for Mr Obeid's preselection. If Labor senators want to know about the Obeid family, why doesn't Senator Cameron ask the other Ian Macdonald from New South Wales Labor all about them? He was obviously very much involved with Mr Obeid.

I noticed a rather interesting article in The Sydney Morning Herald by Ms Jacqueline Maley. She said:

The Labor Party has a surplus of corporate knowledge in the anti-corruption inquiry ''space''.

In recent years the appearance of one of its MPs before the Independent Commission Against Corruption has been such a regular occurrence it has almost become a comfort - a reminder that, even in this crazy, fast-paced world of ours, some things can always be counted on: death, taxes, and the strong civic interest colourful Labor characters take in the awarding of mining and water licences.

I think that sums it up very well. Ms Maley also drew our attention to the fact that the only Labor person who has actually called upon Senator Sinodinos to resign is Mr Kelvin Thomson, whose own credibility is somewhat circumspect when you recall that it was he who admitted providing a reference for the Melbourne crime figure Tony Mokbel.

The Labor Party come in here with these false accusations, trying to defer attention from the union movement—into which here is shortly to be a royal commission—and from many union officials. I would have thought the Labor Party would be more interested in pursuing this story where the Newcastle Trades Hall secretary said in the recent 'march in March' protest that Qantas boss Alan Joyce 'should be shot somewhere in the back of the head'. I would have thought that if the Labor Party were interested in standards and proper public activities in this country they would be calling upon the Trades Hall secretary in Newcastle to withdraw that or to explain himself. This is an absolutely outrageous thing to say. This is the Labor Party, of course.

Senator Lines interjecting—

Senator Lines is only in the chamber because of people like the New South Wales Trades Hall secretary who show that sort of bile in a public forum. You can understand why the Labor Party so protect the union movement. It is because every single one of their senators is here thanks to the efforts of the union movement. Without the union movement, they would not be here. So they should get real. If they want to have an inquiry, why don't they have a look a look at the Trades Hall secretary in Newcastle?


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