Page 2353 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.17): I commend Mr Wall for bringing this motion before the Assembly today. It is a very important motion and although those opposite would try to discount this or, indeed, the whole royal commission as just a political exercise, the reality is that the facts of the matter, as outlined extremely well by Mr Wall, explain the picture not only of what has been occurring in the royal commission but also of the very close linkages between the CFMEU, the Labor Party and the Greens, both politically and financially.
This is what has brought the opposition, led by Mr Wall in this case, to this point where it is prudent that those members of this place who do have such close financial and political links to the CFMEU through their parties make sure that that is set aside for the duration of this royal commission. It is not an unusual practice in life that when there are allegations made, when there are concerns raised, people step aside, pending the outcome. And that is what is being called for today. I think ultimately it would be in everybody’s interest, in particular the interests of the Greens and Labor Party members here today.
There is no doubt that the events and the matters brought forward before the royal commission are very disturbing. What they show is a picture that I think everybody in this community would consider unacceptable. It has been something that has been played out extensively not just in the royal commission but in the media. Indeed commentary in the media has been interesting. Jack Waterford, a very well-known Canberra editor and journalist, has made some comments. He has called for an ICAC as a result of the evidence he has seen. He wrote an article damning of what he has seen of union behaviour and has talked extensively in that article about the linkages with political parties.
I think that the linkages, particularly with the Labor Party, are of concern. We know that one of the individuals before the royal commission as a result of charges laid has now stepped down, has been suspended, I believe, from the Labor Party and has stood down from the position of a sub-branch president of the Labor Party. If you look at the website as to what the sub-branches do, they are responsible for the formulation of policy as well as other issues. But he was replaced by another CFMEU organiser who is also facing court action, and that member has not been suspended.
Indeed the secretary of the Labor Party was asked about this issue, and I think his response is illustrative of a culture within the Labor Party that causes so many people concern. When he was asked these questions as to why the former sub-branch president had been suspended but the current sub-branch president has not, his response on 17 July on ABC news was, “If we started throwing people out of the Labor Party for fines, then we probably wouldn’t have any members left.” I think that is an extraordinary statement from somebody who is the secretary of the party of government which has suspended a member who is facing charges and who was replaced by a CMFEU organiser who is facing court action.
Rather than say, “No, that man will step aside,” or take any action, the response is—and let me say it again because it is an extraordinary quote, I think probably the most extraordinary quote and most extraordinary thing I have heard in my time in politics