O'Dowd tells unions to “stop the rot” over free trade
FEDERAL member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has called on unions to heed the benefits of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, saying the latest union attack is "irrelevant" and counter-productive.
"This campaign being waged by the ACTU against the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is counter-productive to creating opportunities for Australian businesses and workers," Mr O'Dowd said.
"They are now taking the childish and deceptive tactic of staging mock debates across the country, including in our region, falsely advertising that local MPs will appear opposite a union representative."
Mr O'Dowd's comments come after the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) held a meeting in Gladstone this week -- the first of 23 around Australia -- to kick off the union's campaign against the China Australia Free Trade Agreement.
The Flynn MP criticised the unions' approach, saying the ACTU advertised mock debates between union representatives and local MPs on social media, distributed flyers advertising the debates, and conducted robocalls criticising MPs for not attending.
He says he never agreed to a debate because the deal now has the support of the federal Opposition, which makes the debate concept irrelevant.
"I never accepted an invitation to attend this fake debate because the deal now has bipartisan support in the House," he said.
"This campaign is irrelevant and I will not accept an invitation to a debate that serves no purpose…I will not humour the unions!"
Mr O'Dowd has also called the union movement out on the "gutter politics" he says they are using in an attempt to scare Australians into fearing the worst for the agreement.
"I think Australians have had enough of the scaremongering and gutter politics being practised by the union movement," he said.
"This agreement will create more opportunities for Australian exporters and workers, and the unions are engaging in a desperate attempt to create fear among the very hardworking Australians the agreement aims to help."
Mr O'Dowd has reiterated his position that the free trade agreement will benefit exporters and workers in Central Queensland, but the Flynn MP has one message for the ACTU.
"I urge the unions to stop their rot and support an agreement that has clear benefits for Australia."