Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:20): First of all, I congratulate Senator Ketter on his appointment as deputy whip. I find Senator Ketter a decent and honourable person. Certainly, he will add some lustre to that seat on the other side. So congratulations.
Senator Brandis: That's because he went to Villanova College.
Senator IAN MACDONALD: It might be that he went to Villanova. It might be because he was with the 'shoppies'—or whoever. But I do congratulate him. I'm pleased that Senator Ketter, in proposing this motion, spoke about a policy issue—one that I disagree with him about. I'm sure Senator Ketter is intelligent enough to have heard and understood the Attorney today, yesterday and last week explaining about the banking royal commission, but he chooses to continue to misrepresent the facts, and I will come back to that.
I am disappointed with the other speaker from Labor on this debate, Senator Kitching, who I had started to develop some professional relationship with. Senator Kitching, can I just say to you: be careful where you go in making baseless personal allegations against people like Mr Turnbull, a self-made millionaire, who—
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, please resume your seat. Senator Kitching, a point of order?
Senator Kitching: Just for accuracy sake: they're from the AEC.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: That's a debating point. Continue, please, Senator Macdonald.
Senator IAN MACDONALD: Mr Turnbull, a self-made millionaire, has worked very hard for everything he has. Once Senator Kitching and the likes of her start on this course of action, we might start talking about Offset Alpine and the association with many Labor members of parliament. We might talk about coalmines that were given away by Labor members of parliament in New South Wales to their unionist mates, with considerable sums of money changing hands. We may start talking about direct bribes paid to a Queensland Labor Party minister.
Senator McKim: You're both as bad as each other. So what's your point?
Senator IAN MACDONALD: I'm warning Senator Kitching—
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I remind senators that comments across the chamber are disorderly. Thank you, Senator Macdonald; please continue.
Senator Brandis interjecting—
Senator IAN MACDONALD: Well, Bill D'Arcy, Keith Wright—the list goes on, Senator Brandis. All I'm saying to someone relatively new like Senator Kitching is: be careful where you go on this. You expect this from people like Senator McKim, from the Greens, who simply can't help himself. But I just warn senators against embarking upon this sort of approach. If you have a policy attack, fine.
Getting back to the subject of Senator Ketter's motion to take note of the answer he was given by Senator Brandis, Senator Brandis has explained this and Mr Turnbull has explained this—it's not our preferred position. All of the quotes that Senator Ketter used in the past are accurate regarding those. I've said that myself, not that that matters at all. It isn't the way we want to go. I've often said that these royal commissions just put money in the pockets of already wealthy lawyers and give journalists a two-year free go without having to do a lot of work. They don't achieve much. The government has, by contrast, already implemented a lot of legislation which will address some of the real problems with the banks.
But, in talking about this policy issue, I noticed how different Senator Ketter's question was to the approach of Senator Cameron and Senator Kim Carr, two of the loudest members in this chamber, who clearly exemplify what we understand about bullying at union meetings. You'll notice they always pick on a female senator, one who, I might say, takes the fight up to the corrupt unions, continuing to expose the CFMEU and other unions for their absolute corruption and their criminal activities that are before the courts all of the time. The Labor Party hates this, and so Senator Cameron, Senator Carr and a few others embarked upon a program—
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, could you resume your seat, please. I just remind you that the taking note was from Senator Ketter, to take note of answers from Senator Brandis. I accept that you did say you would get back to the royal commission. I was listening intently. I'll just remind you that, whilst it is a broad-ranging debate, it is around the royal commission.
Senator IAN MACDONALD: You weren't listening carefully, because I just did return to that and I said what I thought about the commission. But you've distracted me, for the few seconds I've got left, from talking about the ungracious attack on Senator Cash by Senator Carr and Senator Cameron—they know she is the one who will continue to expose the Labor Party and the unions for the criminal associates they are. (Time expired)