Questions Without Notice: Take Note Of Answers – 13 August 2015


 

Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital Territory) (15:21): I would like to respond to a number of the claims that have been made by both Senator Conroy, in his disgraceful address, and of course Senator Cameron. As we look at this public address, I am reminded of Bill Shorten saying, when claiming travel for the Light on the Hill fundraiser, that of course it is not a fundraiser. His argument was that the Light on the Hill, being a public lecture at about $85 a head, apparently to cover costs, is not a fundraiser. But in this case a public lecture, according to the Labor Party, is in fact a fundraiser and somehow fundamentally different. Not credible!

 

But let us go a little bit further. Senator Conroy used abusive language towards Justice Heydon, calling him a stooge because he delivered this public lecture. Did anyone call Michael Kirby a Labor stooge because he addressed a public lecture for the Society of Labor Lawyers? Is Senator Conroy calling former Justice Kirby a Labor Party stooge? We never heard that language, but that is the absolute correlation if you are going to go into the game and say, 'If you go and deliver a public lecture, you are a stooge of the party.'

Senator Carol Brown interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order!

Senator SESELJA: The Society of Labor Lawyers. Would that make him—

Senator Carol Brown interjecting

Senator SESELJA: And then we go to the question of a fundraiser. As Senator Abetz has highlighted, is Dr Tim Harcourt of the Fair Work Commission, at a $1,000-a-head fundraiser with Penny Wong, a Labor Party stooge? $1,000 a head. Now, that is a fundraiser. Not many dinners actually cost $1,000 for the food. Is he a Labor Party stooge?

Let's get fair dinkum. What this is about is the Labor Party trying to claim that what has been uncovered at the royal commission is not true. Let us look at some of what has been uncovered at the royal commission, which they want to pretend is not serious: 'There's nothing to see here.' We have seen a number of people arrested just here in Canberra for their alleged activities with the CFMEU as a result of some of this work, including Fihi Kivalu, after evidence to the commission revealed that he demanded tens of thousands of dollars in payments from tradesmen in return for them getting work. We have seen the abusive threats to workers from John Setka—the private details of over 300 construction workers leaked by the construction industry superannuation fund Cbus to the CFMEU.

We have seen that Bill Shorten's close friend Cesar Melhem ran a slush fund called Industry 2020. It received significant funds from companies which had EBAs with the union, but it employed no staff and had no premises of its own—

Senator Abetz: He was forced to resign.

Senator SESELJA: and he was forced to resign. Of course, Bill Shorten's close friend Cesar Melhem, it is claimed, repeatedly issues false invoices. We have seen that the construction company Boral suffered a 75 per cent reduction in its market share after refusing to comply with the CFMEU's unlawful demands.

We have seen the exposure of Bill Shorten, and this is where the sensitivity is. Bill Shorten has been exposed, depriving workers of penalty rates, public holiday pay, overtime and shift loadings, in his dealings with some companies. All the while his union was getting payments.

Senator Carol Brown interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order!

Senator SESELJA: These are all on the record. These are all facts. These are all undisputed. These are all undisputed facts. We had the construction company Unibilt pay for Bill Shorten's campaign manager in 2007. Of course, he did not want to tell anyone about it. He did not want to disclose it. This is what the Labor Party wants to try to distract attention from. The Comanchero bikies employed as debt collectors in the building industry—this is the kind of behaviour you are defending and seeking to cover up by besmirching the commissioner. This is the kind of behaviour you are seeking to cover up as you protect the CFMEU, you protect their corrupt behaviour, you protect their criminal behaviour, and you try to pretend there is nothing to see here.

Senator Carol Brown: That's what you're doing. That's exactly what you're doing.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order!

Senator SESELJA: So those arrests—the police are arresting these individuals because there is no evidence?

Senator Carol Brown interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Brown, I have called you to order on a number of occasions.

Senator SESELJA: They are arresting them because there is no evidence, according to the Labor Party. We have seen evidence, day after day after day, that is damning for some of these individuals in the construction union. It is damning for Bill Shorten in the way that he behaved as a union leader, selling out workers, and you are now seeking to besmirch this man in order to protect the corrupt behaviour of the people who fund— (Time expired)