Labor attacks royal commission as ‘ show trial’
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.