Bill's Speeches

MOTION TO SUSPEND STANDING ORDERS - CANBERRA - TUESDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2016

*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***

I move — That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from moving the following motion forthwith. 

That the House:  

  1. Notes that: 

a)    This morning, there are reports the Prime Minister will do a deal on gun laws to pass the Abbott Government’s industrial relations bills; and 

b)    The Prime Minister has on at least five occasions just this morning refused to rule out trading away John Howard’s gun laws to pass the Abbott Government’s industrial relations bills; and 

  1. Therefore, the House resolves that: 

a)    It will never put the safety of Australians at risk by trading away John Howard’s gun laws to pursue an Abbott Government attack on workers; and 

b)    It will never water down Australia’s gun laws.  

Just how weak is Malcolm Turnbull?   

The weak Member for Wentworth is prepared to trade-off John Howard’s gun laws to pursue the Member for Warringah’s attack on workers. 

This is a disgrace and it must be stopped now. 

The Prime Minister is willing to risk more guns on the streets, for one vote in the Senate. 

What price will this Prime Minister not pay just to gain one grubby vote in the Senate. 

Just how weak is the Prime Minister? Just how weak is the Member for Wentworth? 

This is the story of his Prime Ministership. A new disappointment every day. 

The problem with this Prime Minister is that the world knows how weak and wounded he is and they know that if you hold out, the Prime Minister gives in. 

Every time there is a hard issue, he simply gives in. 

Every time there is a hard issue, he gives away more of himself, the man he once was - just to keep the job he desperately craves. 

Yet again, we see another group tweaking the Prime Ministerial tail.  

This man who has traded-off so much of his former views, of his integrity, keeps finding new ways to let Australia down. 

On radio and at his press conference just this morning, he had five opportunities, five opportunities to rule out the proposition that he is watering-down the gun laws in return for grubby votes. 

His refusal to do so, his refusal to rule out the gun laws shows that at best, he is contemplating doing this and at worst, he has already agreed to do it. 

This is the sort of thing that you'd see in the United States, gun laws treated as a legislative bargaining chip.  

Gun control should not be a political plaything. It should be the source of an unanimous view of this Parliament and of this House. 

And it marks those sitting in the government very poorly that they will not stand up and rule out watering-down our gun laws and for every minute, this government refuses to rule out the betrayal of our gun laws in return for their anti-worker, anti-union, anti-fairness agenda. 

It marks this government as one of the weakest governments in federation. 

There are simply some things that are too important for the political games, and gun laws should be at the top of this list. 

Now, there are plenty of disappointments I, and Labor, have in this government but it never occurred to me in my wildest dreams that this government would sell out gun laws because they are so obsessed with destroying unions and the representatives of workers and a better deal for workers. 

This is my message, not to the Prime Minister and not to those shaking heads, those weak people sitting opposite, my message is to the people of Australia: tell the Prime Minister that you don't want the gun laws changed.  

Ring him, email him, talk to your local representatives, talk to the members in all of those marginal seats who are more interested in saving their jobs. 

This is now a job for the people of Australia.  

We have a government where the Prime Minister is so wounded, so weak that he will do any deal to try and harm and destroy the representatives of working people, to introduce different laws for different categories of workers in Australia. 

And he is so desperate to pursue an anti-union agenda forced on him by the right of his party that he will sell out gun laws. 

Ring him up, email him, Australian people we call upon you tell this government: no way, no chance, not ever will we agree to watering-down gun laws. 

Look at those members of the government smiling, as if they are pulling some clever trick.  

This is not the party of John Howard anymore. 

They claim the mantle, they are not fit to clean his shoes on this issue. 

These laws have made Australia safe and you should think very carefully before you tamper with laws which have made Australia safer. 

It was a great achievement of John Howard, proudly supported by Kim Beazley. 

And let me remind this government of amnesia and weakness about what John Howard said on the 20th anniversary of those terrible events at Port Arthur - he said this and I quote:

“I’m wholly against any watering down of the existing laws, and I would encourage sensible strengthening of the existing laws.”

Let me remind those opposite of what the Prime Minister's predecessor said about the risk this poses to national security:

On 12 August last year, the Member for Warringah said:

Importing so many of the “high capacity” Adlers was inappropriate in a “heightened threat environment”

And yesterday, the Prime Minister who challenged us for daring to question the competence of the Attorney-General of Australia, a common topic which we all know it is not possible to defend. He said: How dare there be any question of any watering-down of national security.

Prime Minister, your words come back to haunt you today.

Let me remind the Prime Minister of what he himself said in Tasmania this year:  

“The leadership that was shown by our Prime Minister, John Howard, ensured that we have the toughest gun control laws in the world, and we are committed to ensuring they remain just that.

He goes on, as he does:

“Our collaboration and our commitment is utterly unwavering.

Australia has the toughest gun control laws in the world, and we will continue to keep them that way.”

It is horrifying to think that when the Prime Minister said that, what he meant is:

“We will continue to keep them that way…until we need a vote in the Senate, then all bets are off.”

Why is he making this sordid deal? Just so he can create a new industrial bureaucracy.

Let's talk about the facts around this ABCC legislation that he is so keen to water-down the gun laws for. 

Firstly, there is already a building industry regulator in place.

·        They already have coercive powers.

·        In its last annual report, it conducted 130 investigations - and used their coercive powers on 17 occasions.

Two: Labor is gravely concerned that workplace deaths and injuries will increase.

·        During the ABCC time, fatalities for construction workers nearly doubled - from an average of 2.5 fatalities per 100,000 to almost five fatalities per 100,000 workers.

·        In 2007, when the Coalition's ABCC was in place, worker deaths on construction sites hit a 10-year high with 51 of our fellow Australians dying at work.

·        And after Labor abolished the ABCC - workplace deaths dropped by 60 per cent. 

And the third problem we have is that the ABCC will not improve productivity

·        Construction Industry productivity increased more in the 7 years before the introduction of the ABCC than it did in the 7 years that the ABCC existed.

·        Since the ABCC was abolished – productivity has increased every year - year on year.

The reality is this is a government are not interested in safer workplaces, better unions – they’re not interested in safer streets or better gun laws now.

No conservative government in history has ever believed in a better deal for workers, they hate unions and this mob are no different.

This mob had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do anything about 7-Eleven.

They are happy while workers in this country are being paid half the minimum wage.

They have done nothing to deal with widespread reports of corruption and rorting in the visa system.

And the Prime Minister couldn't even work up a tweet to commiserate the Ford workers as they worked on their last day.

The only time they talk about wages is when they complain that they are too high.

But this Prime Minister with his double-dealing on gun laws shocks even his Labor critics. 

We know he sold out everything else he believes in but I want to conclude, and I just want to ask the Prime Minister one thing: you won't stand up to the right-wing wolves of your party - just for once, stand up for Australia.

And if you don't believe me, I'll leave you with the words of the tweet of the member for Warringah just recently:

“Disturbing to see reports of horse-trading on gun laws. ABCC should be supported on its merits.”

The Member for Warringah is a strong man and Labor will stand up.

People of Australia, tell Malcolm Turnbull: no deal on gun laws.

ENDS


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