Govt response to union bill fail 'stupid'
LABOR frontbencher Jason Clare says it is "pretty stupid" for the federal government to attack Pauline Hanson for not supporting its so-called 'union bashing bill', then expect her to support it when it returns to the Senate.
Senator Hanson, One Nation's leader, unexpectedly voted against the Ensuring Integrity Bill when she had supported all the amendments right up until the final vote.
The legislation would make it easier to deregister unions and ban officials.
Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter and the government were angered by the backflip.
Labor was equally surprised by the result, but also by the government's response.
"I've seen some pretty stupid things in politics over my years," Mr Clare told ABC television on Saturday.
"But what Christian Porter did yesterday, which is just do a press conference and then attack Pauline Hanson for not doing what he wanted and vote for this legislation, and then think that he can get her to change her mind and vote for it, is pretty stupid."
He likened it to a child throwing toys out the cot when they don't get their way.
The government has vowed to return the bill to parliament next week, the final sittings of the year.
Asked whether the government can expect the same results, Mr Clare said: "You never really know."
"The Senate is a bit like the box of chocolates from Forrest Gump, 'you never know what you're gonna get'."
Nationals senator Perin Davey said it is up to the One Nation leader to explain why she changed her mind after hours of good-faith negotiations.
"Some are ... saying that this is all about the Queensland election and a deal that has been done with the CFMMEU," Senator Davey told ABC television.
"But it is entirely up to Pauline to outline why she changed her mind, why she made us sit through four hours of amendment debates, four amendments that she had no intention of then passing the final bill."
The Weekend Australian reported Senator Hanson was persuaded by a Queensland CFMMEU official, who was condemned for his behaviour in a major industrial dispute late year, and 10 other union officials to vote against the bill.