La­bor at­tacks royal com­mis­sion as ‘ show trial’

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - STEVEN SCOTT

LA­BOR front­benchers have come out swing­ing over the union royal com­mis­sion, with Sen­a­tor Kim Carr com­par­ing it to a “show trial” by a “to­tal­i­tar­ian regime”.

As he tried to switch at­ten­tion away from a bruis­ing two- day grilling about his union past, Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten dis­missed the in­quiry as a “tawdry” and “low- rent” Gov­ern­ment at­tempt to “smear their ri­vals”. Mr Shorten said he had an­swered 900 ques­tions, and he ac­cused Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott of try­ing to dis­tract the public from prob­lems in the Gov­ern­ment.

“We have just seen an $ 80 mil­lion tax­payer- funded Tony Ab­bott royal com­mis­sion to smear their op­po­nents,” Mr Shorten said. “But 900 ques­tions later, I think Aus­tralians now have the right to ask Mr Ab­bott a ques­tion: When will you get on with the busi­ness of run­ning Aus­tralia?”

Sen­a­tor Carr went fur­ther, ac­cus­ing the Gov­ern­ment of us­ing “state power in a way that we haven’t seen in this coun­try”.

Mr Ab­bott did not di­rectly crit­i­cise Mr Shorten, say­ing he wasn’t in the busi­ness of giv­ing out “char­ac­ter assess­ments” of po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. But he said the in­quiry had ex­posed an “un­der­belly ... of dodgy union­ism”.

Lib­eral Party min­is­ter Bruce Bill­son said Mr Shorten’s undis­closed elec­tion cam­paign do­na­tion from an em­ployer his union was ne­go­ti­at­ing a wage deal with was like a bribe.

Sen­a­tor Carr and La­bor front­bencher Gary Gray ac­cused Mr Bill­son of hypocrisy be­cause he at­tended fundrais­ers where Mafia fig­ures do­nated money to the Lib­eral Party.

The rev­e­la­tions at the royal com­mis­sion have in­creased spec­u­la­tion that Mr Shorten’s lead­er­ship of the La­bor Party is un­ten­able.

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