Senate debates

Thursday, 28 November 2019



9:46 am

Photo of Don FarrellDon Farrell (SA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Special Minister of State) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, I am smiling, because I'm going to give some examples of a government with no integrity. Minister Taylor: whether he wrote the document or whether his office wrote the document, the fact of the matter is that a newspaper in New South Wales got a false and misleading document. When that was exposed, what did Minister Taylor do? What act of integrity could have been done in those circumstances? It would have been to stand down. Did Minister Taylor stand down? No, he stuck to his position.

What happened next? Well, the police started investigating the issue. Forget about where the proposal for the investigation started. New South Wales Police started investigating this minister. What would a government with integrity do in those circumstances? Well, they would do the honourable thing. They would stand down while this police investigation took place. Minister Taylor hasn't stood down. There is no integrity there.

The Prime Minister decided to ring his good mate, his next door neighbour, the police commissioner to find out whether he should sack Minister Taylor or keep him on. Again, that is not the appropriate thing to do. That is not a sign of integrity. That is not a government acting with integrity. So, again I ask: how does a government that says it wants to introduce so-called integrity into the trade union movement do that, when they themselves have no integrity?

I give you one other example: Minister McKenzie. We now discover that she overturned decisions of Sport Australia to award sports grants to well-deserving organisations in this country. We still haven't got any answers from her about what that involved and which organisations were affected. But we were expecting to have by today a report from the ANAO about that event. It's been delayed. It hasn't just been delayed for this month or next month; the best we know is that it will be sometime in January. If this is a government with integrity, why didn't they tell us about the sports rorts? Why haven't they released that document? Why is it being withheld from the Australian people? If this were a government concerned with integrity then they'd have done all the things I suggested that they should do.

This is all about the introduction of Work Choices at a time when we see that wages are either falling or stagnating, where retail sales are falling or stagnating and where unemployment is rising. The thing this government should be doing is promoting unions, giving them a bit of help. There's still time to withdraw this legislation, Leader. They can withdraw this legislation and they can start turning around the Australian economy.


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