This week the Turnbull Government will introduce vital legislation banning secret payments between unions and employers.

The new laws will criminalise payments or other benefits passed between employers and unions that could have a corrupting influence.

Any union leader who is willing to accept benefits from an employer is placing themselves in a highly compromising position.

The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption found that such payments corrupt union officials and should be banned.

Today the Australian Government reaffirms our commitment to multicultural Australia with the release of the statement Multicultural Australia: United, Strong and Successful.

This statement outlines the strategic direction and priorities for multicultural policy in Australia.

We are a richly diverse nation, and have flourished with waves of migration.  This cultural diversity is one of our greatest assets.

PRIME MINISTER:

All of our industrial legislation, that the Minister has negotiated through the Senate is designed to ensure that unions do their job, represent their members honestly and openly.

Now, during the Heydon Royal Commission, Australians were horrified to see the extent of secret payments made by employers - big business, very often - to trade unions, and in particular, the Australian Workers Union.

PRIME MINISTER: 

Thank you Zed, and Christian, and Zed. It’s great to be here with you all, my Parliamentary colleagues, Julian Leeser, Alex Hawke, and others here.

You know, as you would have seen last week, I was up in the Snowy Mountains, up at Talbingo, at Talbingo Dam and Tumut 3 Power Station and reflecting on the extraordinary achievement of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, engineering marvel of the world.

It was built by thousands of Australians and thousands of migrants.

The Government Party Room this morning agreed to reforms to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (the RDA) and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (the AHRC Act), which will strengthen Australia’s anti-vilification laws, enhance freedom of speech and improve the complaint-handling processes of the Australian Human Rights Commission (the Commission).

These reforms follow the release of the Report into Freedom of Speech in Australia by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights on 28 February.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good afternoon. Today I am here with the Attorney and we are announcing changes to the Racial Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Commission legislation, which will strengthen the protection of Australians from racial vilification and strengthen the protection of free speech, one of the fundamental freedoms upon which our democracy depends.

ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES:

Welcome all. It’s great to be here in Red Hill at the Playground Early Learning Centre. And thank you to Pina, who runs the centre so well and the owners George and Mary-Anne for welcoming us here today.

It's great to be here to be talking about the importance of child care. Child care, of course, is important to so many families, not just here in the ACT, but right around the nation.

So it's great to have the Prime Minister here and I welcome him.

PRIME MINISTER:

Australia's heartfelt sympathy and resolute solidarity is with the people of the United Kingdom with whom we stand today as we always have in freedoms cause. Staunch allies in the war against terrorism.

The attack on the British Parliament is an attack on parliaments, freedom and democracy everywhere.

Westminster is rightly known as the mother of parliaments.

The Turnbull Government is pleased to announce that Mr Justin Milne has been appointed as the Chairman and a non-executive director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Board.

Mr Milne brings exceptional experience spanning the film, digital media, telecommunications and information technology sectors. He has served executive and non-executive positions across these sectors.

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