Abetz presses Shorten on ‘deal’
LIBERAL senator Eric Abetz has called on Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to release documents relating to the appointment of a Tasmanian union leader to the Fair Work Commission.
The call comes after former Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union state secretary Nicole Wells’ appointment to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission was reportedly referred to the state’s Integrity Commission.
Ms Wells was appointed to the federal FWC by then Workplace Relations Minister Mr Shorten soon after taking up the Tasmanian role in 2012.
A Federal Court hearing into another matter heard in 2015 that the first appointment had been a “stitch up”, with former Tasmanian Workplace Relations Minister David O’Byrne to receive “a bit of lolly”.
“These matters raise serious questions about the appointment process undertaken by Mr Shorten as a minister and the extent of his knowledge of these allegations and, accordingly, he should release all documents relating to her appointment,” Senator Abetz said.
Mr O’Byrne, Ms Wells and her unionist partner Kevin Harkins, who allegedly made the comments aired by another witness in court, have denied the claims.
“As I have said before, there is absolutely no substance to these unfounded allegations, which I presume are part of a pre-election smear campaign,” Mr O’Byrne said.
Three members of the Hodgman Liberal Government — a former minister and two current ministers — have been referred to the Integrity Commission, at least two of them by political opponents.