Australia : PM: ABCC win shows senate is working
THE Turnbull Government has secured another win on the election-triggering ABCC laws.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the amendment, which passed the senate after another late-night debate, proves the Government
can get its legislative agenda through the upper house.
“The ABCC legislation, the legislation we passed last year to restore the rule of law to the construction sector, has been improved by another amendment,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra this morning.
“What it’s done is taken a good bill, a good law, and made it even better and it’s an example of the way in which the Minister, Michaelia Cash, and the Senate are working with the crossbench to ensure we’ll deliver.”
The Employment Minister said it was a “significant win” for small and medium players in the building industry.
The amendment, passed on Wednesday night, shrinks a two-year transition period for companies to comply with a new building code to nine months after a rethink by senators Derryn Hinch and Nick Xenophon over the summer break.
The legislation to restore the Howard-era watchdog had already passed parliament with crossbench support last year, following a series of marathon Senate debates.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson fired up when the Opposition attacked her support of the amendment last night in a debate that raged until 10pm.
“You may criticise me for my fish and chip shop but that was a business I had,” she told parliament.
“I worked and I worked damn hard for myself and my four children.”
She vowed not to let unions control the country.
“If they want to have a go at me, that won’t stop me. I won’t be threatened. I will not be intimidated and I’m here to do a job for the people of this country.”
Senator Xenophon will be taking legal action against the construction union, seeking an apology and retraction over defamatory billboards by the CFMEU.
Greens senator Lee Rhiannon accused the government of running a cartel, working with the building industry to cut corners so they could increase their profits.
“You’ve built your career on abusing construction workers, unions, delegates, the CFMEU,” she told Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.
“I’ve never once heard her take up the issue of safety on the job — why don’t you go after the companies who are killing people?”
But the most vicious attack was reserved for Senator Hinch, with senior Labor figure Kim Carr revealing the independent had made a deal with the Victorian branch of the Labor Party at the 2016 election about how he would vote on industrial relations matters in return for a preference arrangement.
“Those commitments have now been broken. I hope this is your last term because we won’t be doing it again,” Senator Carr told parliament.
Originally published as Turnbull gets a much-needed win