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Question Return to Work Board of Management Amendment Bill


The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: In terms of this amendment, I am interested to understand why on earth the Liberal opposition would move it, and what their understanding is of who might be a member or officer of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union who cannot be appointed to the board. Does this include Minister Penny Wong? She is a member of the CFMMEU. Is she specifically prohibited from holding a position on the board? What consideration did you make about not being more specific about who you meant to be captured, because this is a very broad class of people, and how does it accord with freedom of association principles and the Liberal Party?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I did outline in my second reading speech why we believe this particular union, and the leadership particularly, represented by Mr Setka, is not fit to be represented on this particular board. I am not sure that the federal minister would be appointed in any case, given that she is a federal minister, so there may be other examples that the honourable member is able to provide.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Why has the Liberal opposition included members, not just officers of the CFMMEU? Why have they included thousands of people, and made a value judgement that they do not have any right to represent injured workers on this board?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I think this comes down to the crux of the particular issue, which is that we on this side of the chamber are very, very concerned about the bullying tactics that are being undertaken, particularly by the leadership of the CFMEU in South Australia. We make no apology for that. That is our position. Clearly a lot of other members do not agree with us.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I am just going to point out that the amendment speaks about members or officers. It does not talk about the leadership. It does not cite that John Setka may not be appointed to the board. It talks about members so why could I not now move an amendment from the floor to say, 'However, a member or officer of the Liberal Party of South Australia must not be appointed as a member of this board'? Would you find that acceptable?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Honourable members are entitled to move whatever amendments they choose, and we would vote on it accordingly.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: I would like the minister to perhaps retract her statement that she just made. It is objectionable and it is offensive that you would attribute those comments to all of us because I am sure none of us would find bullying and inappropriate behaviour at any worksite appropriate, and to suggest that we would support that and that somehow you have moved an amendment that is going to save that issue, and we are not supporting it and therefore we endorse that behaviour on a worksite, is objectionable and I would ask you to take that statement back.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Hon. Ms Bonaros is putting words in my mouth. I will not be verballed by Ms Bonaros. She tried that two months ago, and I will not be verballed by you today.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Chair, just one last one, because I wanted to then go to part (2c) of the amendment in which the minister is required to certify, and part (2b), in which the minister must undertake that they do not consult the CFMMEU. Is the minister required to start every meeting with, 'Are you now or have you ever been a member of the CFMMEU?' and have them sign a piece of paper to attest to that?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: That is an absurd suggestion.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Chair, this is an absurd amendment and the Greens will be opposing it.

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