Senate debates

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Hadgkiss, Mr Nigel

7:20 pm

Photo of Barry O'SullivanBarry O'Sullivan (Queensland, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

So the basis of this tissue of smear was that one time Mr Hadgkiss visited the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland as a member of Australia's premier national crime authority. Then she went on to provide the Senate with a colourful and selective history of the formal Royal Ulster Constabulary. At this point, it is worth recounting the record of CFMEU smears, led by its chief smear merchant, National Secretary Dave Noonan. Mr Noonan is well known for his regular visits to Parliament House, so we should not be surprised that Senator Rhiannon has now been activated as part of his union's smear campaign.

The CFMEU's corrupt and criminal activities were exposed at various points last year in the Heydon Royal Commission. Each time, this evidence was met with smears and retribution from Dave Noonan. This prompted counsel assisting the royal commission to conclude that there had been a: 'CFMEU slur campaign against witnesses who were willing to give evidence against them.' This slur campaign was extensive and shameful. When Boral CEO Mike Kane blew the whistle on the CFMEU blackmail and secondary boycotts, Dave Noonan personally attacked Kane as the CEO of a multinational company. When CFMEU official Luke Collier had intimidated and threatened FWBC inspectors at Barangaroo, including calling a female inspector an 'f-ing slut', Dave Noonan excused this behaviour by saying that swearing on building sites was nothing new.

Last November, brave whistleblowers in the New South Wales branch of the CFMEU came forward on ABC to reveal the union's involvement in:

…corruption, association with murderers, association with gangsters, association with terrorists, money being paid to union officials, union officials intimidating other union officials, union officials being forced out of their jobs and their careers…

So what was Dave Noonan's response to that? He issued a press release smearing the whistleblowers as:

…a faction operating within the NSW branch of the CFMEU that is attempting to destabilise the current leadership…

When Assistant Commissioner of Victoria Police Stephen Fontana implicated senior CFMEU officials in direct links to organised crime, counsel for the CFMEU tried to smear the assistant commissioner by asserting that he was engaged in cultural warfare and outrageously claimed that, in fact, Victoria Police was part of the problem. It was no surprise that Dave Noonan's union would attempt to use a compliant Senate in the parliament to again engage in its smear campaign against those who reveal the ugly truth about this corrupt union.

What was notable about Senator Rhiannon's speech last night was not just its sheer desperation and Noonan-inspired level of spite and rage but its absolute utter hypocrisy:

I urge Hadgkiss to provide details about his past.

Let me say that again, but this time more slowly so that the irony is not lost:

I urge Hadgkiss to provide details about his past.

If Senator Rhiannon is now demanding of others that they explain their past then she is certainly inviting reflection on her own past. And what an interesting past it is! Senator Rhiannon, as we know, was a longstanding member of the Communist Party of Australia and its Moscow-aligned successors. When her heroes and mentors in the Soviet Union were running a police state that engaged in arbitrary arrest and mass torture, ran concentration camps, conducted unilateral invasions of sovereign states and oversaw all amounts of human rights abuses—


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