Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Questions without Notice
My question is to Minister for Employment, Senator Cash. I refer to the minister's earlier questions concerning the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Is the minister aware of any other threatening or intimidatory behaviour by this union, the CFMEU, or its officials?
Unfortunately, in response to Senator Hume's question, I am. Mr Setka not only threatened ABCC inspectors yesterday; he also made vile comments against senators Hinch and Xenophon for daring to support the rule of law on our nation's building sites. However, I believe that one of the most disgraceful occurrences at yesterday's rally was when Mr Setka also attacked our Australia Federal Police. He said, 'The Federal Police'—the fantastic Federal Police that we read about—'supposed to be protecting us from terrorism. Effing what a shit job you're doing at the moment.'
On behalf of the Turnbull government, I make it very clear that the Turnbull government has nothing but the utmost respect for our Australian Federal Police. We recognise the valuable work our Federal Police have done in protecting us from a number of potential terrorist attacks in recent years, risking their lives to ensure that all Australians are kept safe. And yet Mr Setka could not help himself, attacking the Australian Federal Police merely for doing their jobs. But he also could not help himself and then attacked their impartiality, saying that they are a 'political police force'.
Mr Setka is well known for not caring about the rule of law. He has been found guilty of assaulting the police in the past. In fact, he proudly lists the notorious Mick Gatto as one of his good friends. He has a long history of violence and intimidation. In fact, he once told an employer that he would come after him and that he 'hoped that the employer would die of his cancer'. That is the type of disgusting behaviour Mr Setka indulges in. (Time expired)
Yes. Despite the fact that Mr Setka has been convicted or fined for 40 offences and sentenced to jail twice, including for breaking into a work site, where he punched and kicked a worker and threatened another with a steel bar, there are those who still support him. Sally McManus, the secretary of the ACTU, earlier this year said it is okay to break the law if the unions do not like it. Today Mr Shorten said:
… bad laws get changed at elections, bad laws get changed at the ballot box.
What he did not say, though, was that he was waiting for the instructions from people like Mr Setka as to which laws they say need to be changed. Of course, he really could not care less, because, in accordance with Sally McManus's instructions, if you do not like the law, it is okay to break it.
To pick up Senator Wong's previous interjection: he may distance himself from Mr Setka's comments. Until he stops accepting the money, quite frankly, he is still culpable. (Time expired)
As I have stated, this government—the Turnbull government—unanimously condemns the disgraceful behaviour of Mr Setka. Again in response to Senator Wong's interjection: Mr Shorten can atone for his previous support of Mr Setka. He can follow Mr Albanese, go on TV and say that he distances himself from a man who has engaged in criminal behaviour for many years now, who makes public threats to public servants et cetera. But, until Mr Shorten formally cuts ties with the CFMEU and stops accepting the millions and millions and millions of dollars that go into the Labor Party courtesy of the likes of Mr Setka, quite frankly, anything less may well be seen as an endorsement of Mr Setka's actions.