Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (15:22): I too rise to take note of the answers given by Senator Abetz and Senator Brandis to questions asked by Senator Conroy and Senator Cameron. Here we are, as Conroy and Cameron—
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator McKenzie!
Senator McKENZIE: I am sorry, Mr Deputy President, Senator Conroy and Senator Cameron are braying about the political bias of the royal commission that is uncovering corruption and improper behaviour of not only the trade union movement and not only trade union officials and their members, but also of third parties. You would think that those opposite would have confidence in the processes that this royal commission is going through and as part of that it will not only be trade unions or trade union officials and members, but there will be third parties so that at the completion of this royal commission we can have confidence that the trade union movement in this country, and indeed those dealing with the trade union movement, are free of corruption. That is something that, I am sure, many members of the trade union movement want to see happen.
Those opposite are braying about the political bias inherent and are trying so hard to undermine the royal commission. They have moved motions in the Senate, but have been unable to get the necessary support. They have tried to ruin the reputation of the eminent Dyson Heydon, the Royal Commissioner. They have attempted to critique quite severely the female witnesses appearing before the commission, and they tried to do that today. But what they cannot run away from is the fact that they are incredibly full of double standards. The Labor Party fails time and time again to notice the beam in its own eye.
I think of Mr Tim Harcourt, who is a commissioner on the fair Work Commission and who is very public in the partisan way that he goes about his daily business. He tweets; he attends Labor Party fundraisers; he goes about it with disregard—it is almost a joy in the way he participates; he goes on The Drum et cetera. He is publicly proud of his association with the Labor Party. He ignores the advice of Justice Ross, who says, 'Pull you head in'—obviously in more legal language than that—and 'You're not in line with the code of conduct of the commission.' He ignores that and continues on his merry partisan way. I have not heard anybody on the other side decry the partisan behaviour and how it undermines the credibility and the trust that the Australian people can have in the Fair Work Commission, because of that particular member's refusal to do the right thing and resign.
When we talk about kangaroo courts, the Labor Party's attack over the last week on Dyson Heydon was nothing short of appalling. They took it to the court of public opinion. I do not think there is a high percentage of the Australian public with a legal background. I do not, and so I would not be an appropriate person to assess the legal arguments as to the facts of the case around Dyson Heydon. I would say the same of the majority of the Australian public. I think Waleed Aly—hardly an apologist for the right—had it right when he said that he thinks that decision should be left in the hands not of the public or of a kangaroo court or subject to the pub test, but it should be left to those with the legal expertise to bring down an opinion in which we can have confidence.
I really wish that those opposite would get on board. Martin Ferguson is; he wants to see the royal commission do its work in uncovering corruption on both sides of the argument so that once again Australians on both sides of the political or ideological divide can have confidence that the workers in Australia are being appropriately represented, that their funds are not being squirrelled away in slush funds, that their union officials are not beating up on female investigators with the Fair Work Commission and that their representatives are not bullying workers in their own workplace. When we look at what the royal commission has already uncovered in its work—and we look forward to seeing the third party decisions—we should all get on board and support it.