PHIL MERCER goes into bat for Gary Gray
ROCKINGHAM Labor stalwart and shadow resources minister Gary Gray recently had his parliamentary career targeted by a concerted attack by the MUA/CFMEU super union and United Voice (the former miscellaneous workers).
It seemed a bizarre attack on an articulate warrior who has been such an asset to the ALP brand, and a heart-on-his-sleeve Labor man.
Gray’s problems stemmed from his refusal to sign a candidate’s pledge that dictates obedience to the state secretary (former Melissa Parke and Kevin Rudd staffer, Patrick Gorman) and his forced decision on allowing offshore gas processing.
To prevent the unions rolling Gray, Labor’s National Executive rubber-stamped the shadow minister’s pre-selection, as well as those of Melissa Parke and Alannah MacTiernan (the trio are Labor’s only lower house representatives in WA).
In the lead-up to the last federal election, the Herald graciously ran an article by myself urging the Browse Basin gas reserves to be processed onshore and the royalties to be spent on indigenous prosperity. The project has subsequently gone offshore, despite a desperate fight by Colin Barnett.
I was truly flattered that none less than the then-resources minister wrote a defence. It was an informative piece that gave his perspective.
Depressingly it’s exactly Gray’s stance on offshore builds that has him in the sights of the cashed up super unions. These are the same unions that support so generously the political campaigns of Parke, state Labor MP Simone McGurk and Greens senator Scott Ludlum.
What would possess such a Labor achiever to buck the system so courageously? The answer may be in the attacks from the electrical trades union. This being the mob that spent workers millions promoting the untruth that Canning Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie and his troops were war criminals and not regular members of the ADF. Perhaps he could not stand the thought of seeing those anti-Chinese Free Trade Agreement billboards parked outside his office.
To add insight into the benefits of the China FTA is exactly the reason we need more politicians like our plucky hero.
The ETU’s cherry-picked misinformation from the heavy volumes of the ChAFTA is it “removes the requirement for mandatory skills assessment for ten occupations including: Electrician (Special Class)…”.
In isolation it sounds truly scary, a little bit like “you have cancer” while leaving out the “but you will still live to 110” bit.
The reason requirements like this are in the document goes to the heart of any trade agreement and will always benefit the more sophisticated country.
If, for example, Fiona Wood was sick of her name being tarnished from bad press about Australia’s most impressive hospital and wanted to manufacture her patented plastic skin in China, the only way to do this would be to send the only technicians in the world capable of setting up those miraculous machines. That’s right the special class electricians from good old WA!
The ETU and Melissa Parke are campaigning tooth and nail for our sons and daughters not to be able to engage with the world. They are saying these same unique technicians will have to attend China’s version of TAFE and re-do their qualifications in Mandarin.
Melissa Parke allowed Gary Gray to publicly defend her from my claims about the welfare benefits of onshore versus offshore gas processing. Now The MUA, CFMEU, ETU, and Simone McGurk’s United Voice have lined up to execute Gray’s political career. With friends like that, who needs enemies?