Senate debates

Thursday, 7 December 2017


Minister for Employment

10:00 am

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

If anyone in this chamber—the few who are here—or any of the even smaller group who might be taking any interest whatsoever in this whole debate wanted an example of the misogynistic bullying that we know is rife in the union movement, they've heard it today in the last speech.

I hear from those opposite about misogynistic bullying and I laugh. Let me tell you who has been in the chamber from the Labor Party during this whole sorry occasion, this waste of one hour of the Senate's valuable time on the last day of sitting for the year, when there is a lot of business to be done. Let me tell you, when we talk about misogyny, who was in the chamber on the other side. The Labor Party in the Senate always prides itself on the majority of its senators being female. Let me tell you who was in the chamber when Senator Cash made her statement. There were eight Labor senators who happen to be male and there were three Labor senators who happen to be female. Immediately after Senator Cameron started to speak, two of the females left, and we had eight males and one female in the chamber. That female, bless her soul, was either asleep or very much involved in her device. She quickly left the chamber when Senator Cameron indulged in his misogynistic, bullying speech against Senator Cash, one of the most honest, most competent and most capable ministers that this parliament has ever seen.

Those eight Labor senators who happened to be male stayed for a little bit of Senator Cameron's speech, but immediately, after about two minutes, two of them had had enough and left. So there were five Labor senators left in the chamber, all males, and two of them had to be here because they hold the positions of manager and whip. This is the great matter of public importance that the Labor Party, with the help of the Greens, moved in order to waste one hour of valuable time on the last day of sitting in this chamber. For this matter of great public interest, not even the Labor Party could get half of their members here to hear Senator Cameron. They couldn't even get a quarter of them. Their leader, Senator Wong, a female, sensibly stayed away from the debate.

I say this is a typical Labor bullying, misogynistic speech, and who would need evidence of that? But I'm going to give the Senate some. It's well known. Do you remember Mr John Setka, the mate of all of those on the other side? He's a member of the CFMEU. This is the union movement that controls and runs the Labor Party, that funds the Labor Party, that provides all of their workers on election day. This is the union movement that Senator Cameron is so close to and defends continuously in this chamber. This is what Mr Setka said:

Let me give a dire warning to them ABCC inspectors—

public servants—

be careful what you do.

…   …   …   

You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to expose them all.

We will lobby their neighbourhoods. We will tell them who lives in that house. What he does for a living, or she.

…   …   …   

Their kids will be ashamed of who their parents are when we expose all these ABCC inspectors.

…   …   …   

He also said: 'They say there's two things you can't avoid; I say there's three. One of them is taxes, one of them is death and the other one is the construction unions, because, when we come after you, you'd better be careful.'

This is the sort of bullying, misogynist—because a lot of those inspectors were female—attitude you get from the union movement, and it is the union movement that Senator Cameron continuously defends in this place. Senator Cameron well knows the union movement and knows the corruption and graft that goes on. He well knows my namesake, the former New South Wales Labor member of parliament, Ian Macdonald, who is currently serving time in jail for bribery and corruption. He's a mate of Senator Cameron's. I'm not sure whether it was Senator Cameron who saved his preselection or whether it was Mr Ian Macdonald who saved Senator Cameron's preselection. Senator Cameron knows all about this corruption and graft in the union movement. He knows that my namesake just happened to give a coalmine worth $5 million or so to a union mate for the obvious kickback. I could take more than 20 minutes going through historical evidence. It is not me saying it. These are actual facts about corruption in the union movement. Labor senators were silent when the CFMEU threatened to rape children—rape children!—on the Oaky North picket line in Queensland.

Senator Cameron interjecting—

See! Senator Cameron now, as he did then, defends them! And he has the gall to come here and try and attack a female minister, who is one of the most competent, one of the most honest, that this nation has ever had the good fortune to have serving it. Mr Acting Deputy President, let me tell you what this vendetta against Senator Cash is all about. It's pretty clear. Here is a minister who continues to expose the graft, corruption, thuggery and criminality in the union movement. The union movement represents only 10 per cent of workers in private industry and only 44 per cent in the public service—a total of 17 per cent of workers. This is the union movement—the thugs, the criminals that Senator Cash exposes all the time—who own and control the Labor Party. There isn't a Labor senator sitting opposite here who is not a product of the union movement—not one of them. At every election the union movement funds and mans the campaign for the Labor Party. The union movement represent no-one—it is 17 per cent of all workers in Australia—yet they own the alternative government.

Senator Watt interjecting—


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