Medicare

I do not normally do this, but I at least want to give some acclaim to Senator Cameron because he is at least talking about a proper policy issue. 

While I think he is drawing a bit of a longbow with some of the arguments about why there might be some issues with Medicare records and those aspects, no doubt it is an important issue, and no doubt the minister—and I am sure the government—will investigate those matters extensively.

What we have had in question time here today with all the other questions on issues from Labor senators is confirmation that on that side of the chamber they are more focused on the jobs here in Canberra than the jobs out in the wider community. They are more focused on wanting to argue about who has what job, and who is doing what down here, and not about what we can do to create jobs in this country. Because we have not had one question in the last fortnight that I can remember from the other side about, say, the Chinese free trade agreement, which is actually going to create jobs in this country and which is going to create economic opportunity in Australia—create well-paying jobs and higher exports. There have been no questions about that. All they want a focus on is politics here in Canberra and I think that is what people are sick of—it is what people are really sick of.

This week has been a tumultuous week for the country. For what it is worth, from this corner of the chamber, we have been focused on delivering jobs and benefits to the people we represent. We have been focused on getting outcomes for regional Australia, and I believe we have got those outcomes for regional Australia because we are going to go into a new relationship with a new Prime Minister, focused very firmly on getting a good deal for small business, getting a good deal for families and getting a good deal for jobs in regional areas. All those things are covered off in the new coalition agreement we have with the new Prime Minister. I am looking forward to that agreement coming to fruition, and to delivering those gains to regional Australians and to people who live where you can see the Milky Way.

I take some solace in the new-found interest that the Labor Party have in the operations of the National Party, because usually they do not take much interest in the areas of this country where you can see the Milky Way at night. They do not particularly care about those areas, because they are focused on the capital cities. But at least they are now taking notice, and I am sure we will deliver for those people in the coming years.

In the time left remaining I want to correct, or put into context, some of the issues that Senator Conroy, in particular, raised. Senator Conroy has an obsession and a fascination with one particular individual who has had claims made about his misbehaviour. The Leader of the Government in the Senate summed it up well—that these matters should be investigated. Indeed, it is exactly the same position that the Labor Party took when they were in government—exactly the same position.

I remember that there was a former member of the other place who had done some things in the Health Services Union that were not all that seemly. There were questions about that behaviour and that was subject to a very long, extensive investigation by the Fair Work Commission. I remember the now Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shorten, being responsible for the Fair Work Commission at the time and being responsible for those investigations. He was asked about that once by the media. When he was asked about Mr Thomson's behaviour he said, 'What I do know, as Minister for Workplace Relations is that there has been a Fair Work Australia investigation into parts of the Health Services Union. I do know that that investigation is taking far too long.'

This is exactly the same approach that the government is taking for Michael Lawler, but now Labor want a different standard applied from what they applied when they were in government. I would like to go one step further and say that if Senator Conroy is so concerned about corruption and so concerned about behaviour which is not up to the standard that we would expect in this country then he may want to have a read of The Courier-Mail today, where there are reported revelations from the royal commission into trade unions yesterday of a former union boss receiving a home paid for by a construction union. It seems to be a seedy deal. If Mr Conroy thinks that people should be removed before an investigation, I am sure he would have a bit more influence over Dave Hanna than over Michael Lawler, which his questions focussed on today.

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