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Crikey Says

Mar 15, 2016

The cowardice of their conviction

"Why is it that one particular industry in Australia is quite frankly able to get away with blue murder? We say enough is enough. Restore the ABCC." -- Employment Minister

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“Why is it that one particular industry in Australia is quite frankly able to get away with blue murder? We say enough is enough. Restore the ABCC.” — Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, January 30

“Every Green MP has voted for marriage equality, every time it has come before a Parliament.” — The Greens website

Funny how the things politicians believe in, such as preventing “murder” on work sites and ensuring all Australians are free to marry whomever they choose, seem to go a bit wobbly when deals have been done and politics gets in the way.

When introducing the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner legislation, Michaelia Cash declared it to be the government’s top legislative priority. But when Senator Ricky Muir proposes debating the legislation this week, suddenly it’s not such a priority after all. “We will not support any attempt to change the government’s legislation program for the Senate for this week,” said Mathias Cormann.

Muir’s proposal is a clever bit of politicking to force the Coalition to either renege on its deal with the Greens to drop the ABCC legislation for the week or to vote against debating its so-called top legislative priority. Muir, of course, wants to avoid a double dissolution and Senate voting reform, as both would likely turf him out on his ear.

Senator David Leyonhjelm is similarly calling the Greens’ bluff by calling for same-sex marriage legislation to be debated this week. But the Greens will have to vote against debating gay marriage — despite their claim of “always standing up for full equality” — because of their deal with the Liberals.

When it comes to getting rid of crossbenchers who stand in your party’s way, it seems politics trumps conviction every time.

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