Thursday, 18 June 2020
That the Senate—
(i) the important and brave contribution of all Australian workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and
(ii) the high cost of union fees for workers who belong to a union; and
(b) calls on all senators to lobby and encourage unions representing Australian workers to reduce union fees in the medium term to acknowledge the contribution and financial hardship of these workers.
Labor will be opposing the motion. We were quite surprised that, in this new environment where the government has been embracing Sally McManus and the ACTU, we'd have a rogue senator like Senator Rennick come and place a motion which sought to demean and devalue the role that trade unions play and have played. They have played an extraordinary role. Trade unions have played a leadership role—your motion does not say that, Senator Rennick—through the COVID-19 crisis. I think it's very disappointing. It speaks to this government, on the one hand, embracing the trade union movement and asking it to work with them in the national interests and, on the other, moving petty motions like this during formal business in this place.