Page 2186 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 4 August 2015

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We know that there are CFMEU members in the Labor Party. We know that the seven-member delegation that went to the Labor Party national conference included the head of the CFMEU. Those links are well established as are the financial links, the tens of thousands of dollars that are paid from the CFMEU into the coffers of the Labor Party and also, I note, into the coffers of the Greens.

At the moment we have this very difficult situation where on the one hand the Chief Minister is saying, “We want to increase trade with China, we want to increase opportunities with China, we want to increase investment from China, we want to build the relationship,” but at the same time his mates, members of his party in senior positions, the people that are bankrolling him, are running what is described as a xenophobic, anti-China trade political campaign. This situation cannot go on. The Chief Minister, if he is going to maximise, if he is going to make sure that we get everything we can out of our relationship with China, with those investments, has got to pick a side. He has got to make sure that there is clarity here. He cannot walk both sides of the road.

He cannot go along to the Labor Party conference and his Dickson sub-branch meeting and say, “Comrades, comrades, I am with you on the blockades,” and then turn up at Beijing and other Chinese delegations and say, “Members of the Chinese investment community, I am with you.” Which one is he? Which is he going to be? Is he going to be the union delegate there with the organisers saying, “Yes, I support your campaign against trade with China,” or is he going to be going to China and saying, “No, we want to increase those investments”? This is the problem, this is the compromise that the Chief Minister confronts. And at the moment he is trying to have both those conversations. He might get away with it in some circles but not here and certainly not amongst members of the Chinese community in Canberra and not amongst members of the business community in Canberra who see how compromised Mr Barr is and how he is trying to have two different conversations.

They are not stupid people. They understand the games that are being played, and I think Mr Barr needs to be clear. Does he support investment? Does he support trade? Does he support growing the relationship with China, which would be good for Australia and good for the ACT? Or does he support the CFMEU campaign? I think it would be very useful if Mr Barr were to provide some clarity around this and come out, as many people in the business community have, as many people across the political spectrum have, and say, “We do not support the xenophobic campaign by the CFMEU. We support trade opportunities with China.”

Until he does that, people will question who is pulling the strings of Andrew Barr. Is he motivated by the best interest of investment here in the ACT and the people of the ACT or is he doing the bidding of the CFMEU and Mr Dean Hall? Until Mr Barr provides an unambiguous clarification of whether he supports this xenophobic CFMEU campaign this is the cloud that hangs over Mr Barr and over this Labor Party. I support these endeavours but they are utterly compromised until Mr Barr provides that clarification of who is pulling his strings.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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