CH 12

Political Thugs and Bullies

Standing up to bullies is the hallmark of a civilized society.
– Robert Reich

Electrical Trades Union – The New AWU

Mr PYNE (Cairns—Ind) (10.15 am): Over recent months I have seen the very worst side of an organisation I once worked closely with, the ETU. Prior to the 2015 election, the ETU ran the `not for
sale’ campaign. That campaign supported me on the basis that I would not vote to sell public assets. I never have, and never would, vote to sell public assets. Having remained true to those values, I remain absolutely mystified as to why the ETU has devoted so much time and members’ resources to a concerted and current campaign of hatred and vilification against me, my family and my staff.

Some brief facts on the moral high ground of all the players are: firstly, the ETU campaigned against the ALP Bligh government. I have never campaigned against an ALP government facing
election—yet. Secondly, the ALP Bligh government sold public assets. I would never vote to sell public assets. Thirdly, when Stuart Traill was kicked out of the ALP, I supported him as a mate. When I
resigned from the ALP, Stuart Traill attacked and vilified me. The ALP even expelled state secretary Peter Simpson for his stance on asset sales. I table these relevant papers.
Tabled paper: A bundle of copies of print outs of social media pages regarding the Electrical Trades Union.

The ETU has subjected my family, my staff and myself to appalling treatment, including the following comments on the ETU page. From Peter Simpson, `Rob is a compulsive liar, a rat and a megalomaniac, end of story’. Other comments include, `Hope he gets run over by a bus,’ `Pyne makes RATSAK seem like a better option,’ `Can you put someone in a wheelchair twice? Hang this grub for treason,’ and, `Time for rule 303 to be applied.’ This was accompanied by pictures of a rat in a wheelchair and an empty wheelchair. People can read it for themselves. I tabled a picture of a new ETU T-shirt printed especially for this weekend. It is printed, `When you rat on your mates it’s a Pyne in the’—expletive—with a picture of my face on a rat’s head and the ETU logo.

Let there be no doubt there are strong links between the ETU and some members of this House. I refer to the members who constantly `like’ and support comments made in this hate campaign by the ETU. I ask those members just for one second to ask themselves how they would feel if they were on the receiving end, how would they feel if it were their wife in tears, how they would feel if their 18-year-old daughter was scared to leave the house. I ask electricians across Queensland how they would feel if their families were treated in this manner.

I call on Bill Shorten and Annastacia Palaszczuk to condemn the ETU’s actions and campaign of hate and vilification. Whether it is against me or against any candidate of any party at the coming federal election, these tactics, language and behaviour of the ETU must be rejected outright. It has to stop. The leadership of the Labor Party, both state and federal, must condemn the ETU’s actions today.

Other Reference Material and Pictures

Rob Pyne: A Far Northern Life

A Far Northern Life