Thursday, 21 June 2007
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Senator Abetz. Has the minister seen reports about union officials carrying out illegal, militant or unlawful activity in the workplace? What is the government’s response?
I thank that excellent representative of the people of South Australia, Senator Bernardi, for his question. Yes, I have seen such reports all over the TV news last night and again this morning. I saw the assistant secretary of the CFMEU—
I saw the assistant secretary of the CFMEU in Western Australia caught on candid camera abusing in the most foul language a person, even calling him ‘an [expletive deleted] murderous bastard’. Then this morning I saw a report about a turf war at a worksite between unionists in New South Wales, turf warfare which left one union official with a broken foot and another allegedly receiving death threats—mayhem, as the union movement salivates at the prospect of a Rudd-Gillard government and they are fighting over the spoils that a Labor union-friendly government might deliver them!
I have also seen other interesting reports. But first I want to point out what Ms Gillard said about unlawful union activity this morning. She said:
Under our leadership of the Labor Party there will be zero tolerance of unlawful conduct ... you will be expelled.
Now listen to this. This is what the Cole royal commission found about someone, and I will let those opposite guess who:
I am satisfied on the evidence before me that [someone] engaged in unlawful conduct.
They know who it is and we know who it is. It is the Labor candidate for Franklin, the one the Labor Party said was the best person to represent the people of Franklin. Knowing what the Cole royal commission found—that he had engaged in unlawful conduct—Mr Rudd and the Australian Labor Party were prepared to endorse him. It is within the power of Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard, if the tough talking is to be believed, to have this man disendorsed. We all know that anybody that might be expelled from the Labor Party at the moment will be quickly readmitted after the next election. This is nothing more than a public charade. If Mr Rudd were serious he would not only expel some union officials, he would expel his policy to abolish the ABCC. In private the Labor Party are treating these guys as heroes. This is why I am reliably informed that the ALP is seeking to auction certain posters personally autographed—and I seek to table this document—
That document displays Mr Joe McDonald and Mr Kevin Reynolds with some very interesting reading. The Labor Party want these posters autographed by Joe McDonald and Kevin Reynolds and they will then auction them as a laugh at fundraisers and of course the individuals will be readmitted to the Labor Party as soon as the election is over.
The test for Mr Mighell’s expulsion was bad language—he had to be expelled for bad language and the money paid back. When it comes to the CFMEU it has now got to be unlawful conduct. You are only expelled but the money does not have to be paid back—because it is $6.3 million. That is why some cracks are starting to emerge—and I am not talking about Dean Mighell in this regard—in the way that Mr Rudd is dealing with this issue. He has got to come clean with the people of Australia and not only expel these unionists but expel the abhorrent policies.