Dutton’ No worse union in this country than the CFMEU

Hon Peter Dutton MP

I want to support the Leader of the House on this motion, because this is another demonstration of the way in which the modern Labor Party has been completely captured by the union movement. There is no worse union in this country than the CFMEU. The Australian public understand this. I was reminded of that in a book that I read recently—a couple of years ago now. The book was called I heard you paint houses. Essentially, it was a detailed how-to guide, which the CFMEU is now referring to as some sort of reference document. It detailed the activities of the Teamsters in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s.

Mr Brendan O’Connor interjecting

Mr DUTTON: We can come to Jimmy Hoffa. There are many people within the CFMEU that fit that Jimmy Hoffa bill. This is the reality. Somehow the modern Labor Party, under this Leader of the Opposition, have allowed themselves to be compromised to the point where they are allowing the modern-day Teamsters to pull the strings on a daily basis. This is unacceptable.

I feel for the member for Indi, because in her electorate yesterday there was a robocall scare campaign which the CFMEU masters during the last election—during periods in government and opposition the CFMEU has mastered the intimidation and scare campaign. It shows, as the Leader of the House points out, that the two organisations, the Australian Labor Party and the CFMEU, have once again acted in close concert, in this case to intimidate, or to attempt to intimidate, the member for Indi. I know the member for Indi, and I know that she is not going to be intimidated by this process. The same tactics have been demonstrated in South Australia, where the union movement has attempted to vilify Senator Xenophon. Senator Xenophon has not fallen for these tactics either, and the message to the Australian public is that they should not fall for the Labor Party’s and union’s tactics, because, as we know, the CFMEU fully owns and operates this Labor Party and in particular this Leader of the Opposition.

The Leader of the Opposition, as he demonstrated, during his time as a union leader presided over deal after deal after deal. In some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars was paid by the employer or the employer group to the union, to the AWU. Lo and behold, the union agreement—the EBA—is struck shortly thereafter, which takes penalty rates away from those workers, and the workers do not even know about the special payment that was made during the period of negotiation from the employer to the AWU. Now, this was not just a one-off occasion. This was a course of conduct presided over by the Leader of the Opposition in his capacity as secretary of the AWU.

If you want to have a look at the activities that are going on within the union movement otherwise, we know that within the CFMEU, across the union movement otherwise, as was detailed in the royal commission presided over by Justice Heydon, dozens and dozens of union leaders across the country have been charged with criminal offences. They are defended on a daily basis by the Labor Party, and it is outrageous. But you have to again ask yourself the question: why would this be so? Why would this Leader of the Opposition allow himself to be held to ransom by these union leaders? Well, when you look around, it is impossible—and this is why there should be a suspension of standing orders—

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order?

Surely not on relevance?

On the point of order, given that we are dealing with a—

The SPEAKER: I would like to know what the point of order is, actually.

It is on being relevant to the motion before the chair. The moment I rose, the first words that were relevant to the motion were said. And I would simply encourage the House: we are about to have a debate, and everybody agrees that we should have the debate. Everybody is in support of the motion before the chair right now, and the minister will be able to deliver that exact speech in a few moments time. He can start from the beginning again if he feels he needs to. But in terms of relevance to what is in front of us right now, none of the speech, other than the final four words when I stood up, have been relevant.

The SPEAKER: I thank the Manager of Opposition Business. Just before I call the minister: the Manager of Opposition Business makes a very fair technical point, but if he would like me to adopt his suggestion to the conduct of all suspension motions—

Just ones on notice.

The SPEAKER: I would just make the point that, whether it is on notice or not, members speaking are supposed to confine themselves to the reason that standing orders should be suspended. And there are lots of examples where these are moved where both speakers do go a bit broader, and that has been the practice, and it has certainly been the practice over the last couple of years. But I will say to the minister to confine himself, in the final minutes of his contribution, to why standing orders should be suspended.

I think, if I might say so myself, it has been a compelling case for suspension of standing orders, and it is obvious I think to all within the chamber that we must deal with this matter. We must deal with this matter because it is an issue of urgency—the fact that the Labor Party has been captured wholly and solely by the union movement. I mean, we must deal with this in this chamber, and we must support the motion of the Leader of the House. We must.

The reality is that the Labor Party do not like this exposure. That is their problem. The problem is that they do not like a spotlight being shone on the way this relationship has developed to an unhealthy position. And the reality is that the CFMEU—all of these union engagements are not in the best interests of this nation. They are not, on any test, in the best interests of this nation. The Labor Party wants to talk about penalty rates. Let’s talk about penalty rates. Let’s talk about these issues—where the Leader of the Opposition was involved in ripping off hundreds of thousands of workers. That is the reality. That is his history. That is something he needs to stand up and defend. The reality is that hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid to the union movement, who have been involved in criminal activities.

When you look at these people around here sitting on these benches within the Australian Labor Party at the moment, there are no teachers, there are no butchers, there are no people from backgrounds—

Opposition members interjecting

There’s a teacher over here!

Mr DUTTON: These are all union leaders. You cannot become a member of parliament in the modern Labor Party unless you have been a secretary or you have occupied a high office within the union movement. They will all protest; of course they will, because they do not want this racket exposed.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my left!

Mr DUTTON: But the fact is that they are dealing with the modern-day Teamsters. This is why there should be a suspension of standing orders. This is why we need to deal with this issue—because it needs to be dealt with. And we need to expose this hypocrisy to the Australian public, and we will, because this Leader of the Opposition has done or has sanctioned deals that have been done by unions—for example, with fast food outlets. Those young workers, working on a Sunday, have been paid less under the union agreement than what the 18-year-old at the mum-and-dad fish and chip shop in the adjoining tenancy is being paid. That is the reality. That is the hypocrisy of the Australian Labor Party. They do not want people to hear this story, but the reality is that that is exactly what is happening.

Why would they do that? In the case of the brother and sister who are going off to the local shopping centre to work, with the brother going into McDonald’s for a much lesser rate on a Sunday than his sister going into the fish and chip shop owned by the mum and dad, why would Labor have sanctioned a deal where the McDonald’s worker is paid less than the fish and chip shop worker?

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I will just ask the minister to resume his seat for a second. Members on both sides can cease interjecting. Whilst I allowed the Manager of Opposition Business to be very broad—he brought up the subject of penalty rates, but he did so in the context of whether a motion should be brought on or not—I do say to the minister that, as much as I do give latitude, he is moving now way beyond why standing orders should be suspended for the purpose that the Leader of the House has put.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House does not need to speak to me; he might want to speak to the minister. But in the last few seconds, I just ask the minister to confine himself.

Mr DUTTON: This protection racket that is run by the union movement and the Labor Party does need to be dealt with in this House. It will be dealt with, and we intend to expose the hypocrisy of this Leader of the Opposition who is wholly owned by the union movement of this country.

Chamber House of Representatives on 2017 Page 3546 

Item BUSINESS – Rearrangement Speaker : Dutton, Peter, MP