Senate debates

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Questions without Notice

Registered Organisations

2:33 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Women) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Senator Paterson, for the question—and, yes, I can. As journalist Simon Benson has reported in The Australian this morning:

The nation’s largest trade unions have amassed a political war machine totalling more than $1.5 billion in assets and a combined income stream estimated at $900 million a year, despite a continuing decline in their membership base.

So what we've got here is the unions quite literally amassing billions of dollars whilst at the same time, paradoxically, their membership base is now doing this. Unions actually now only represent 10 per cent of the private sector workforce, yet they are asset-rich and receive hundreds of millions of dollars in income streams each year. In fact, the CFMEU have an accumulated asset base of $206 million, with a yearly income stream of $123 million.

The issue is this: the union movement have moved away from their previous core business of representing the Australian worker, and they now have become nothing more and nothing less than a profit-making business in their own right. And do you know what this profit-making business does? It runs a small subsidiary company known as the Australian Labor Party. But get this—and it goes to what Senator Cormann has said—unions can no longer say that they are standing up for the average Australian and bemoan the big corporations who they claim not to do anything with, because the unions are now the big end of town. (Time expired)


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