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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . .

Page.. 141..


I will be reminding all workers in Tuggeranong of Mr Wall's moves on their rights of work and their penalty rates as we go forward into the election. Of course, thank you to the Canberra Liberals for their campaign against workers in the ACT. The union movement, and particularly the CFMEU, is growing every day: more memberships thanks to the campaign from the Canberra Liberals.

The trade union royal commission has been a political tool from the start. The community knows this; we know this; the Canberra Liberals definitely know this as well. Set up by the Abbott Liberal government, the commission has been a $45 million cost to the taxpayers, deliberately aimed to reduce the strength of the union movement and to drain the resources of unions. John Buchanan from the University of Sydney business school put it this way:

It was a poorly conceived commission, a highly partisan intervention designed to weaken the union movement.

The Liberals opposite will say that we support corruption and criminal activity. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I have repeatedly said in this place, corrupt or criminal activity should be dealt with, as with any other activity in such an area, and any evidence that presents itself should be pursued by the police through the legal system. But the commission was never designed this way, and you do not have to look very far into the details of the commission to get an understanding of how it was questionable in almost every way.

Dyson Heydon, who was appointed commissioner at the beginning of this political exercise, managed to have former and current federal Labor politicians dragged in front of him for questioning with no unlawful activity ever uncovered. Mr Heydon even accepted an invitation to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser during his time as commissioner, then refused to step down and basically rendered the impartiality of the commission completely impossible. This regrettable episode only served to highlight—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order! Mr Gentleman, could you take a seat, please. Could I remind members of the convention and the standing orders in relation to comments about judicial officers. The standing orders are clear that comments about judicial officers should be in substantive motion. I know this a matter of some political discussion, but I have ruled on this in the past. I would like you, Mr Gentleman, to be mindful of the standing orders when being critical of a royal commissioner.

MR GENTLEMAN: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I will leave those comments there in the public arena as they are. The introduction and overview document produced by the commission itself states at point 119:

It is well established that a Royal Commission is not bound by the rules of evidence, apart from rules which are more than mere rules of evidence, like legal professional privilege.

Furthermore, at point 122 this document states:


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