MP puts blame on ‘bully boys'
“BULLY boys of the unions” took away pensioner Bing Hansen's freedom of speech on polling day, says Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott.
Mr Scott contacted the Daily News after reading in Monday's edition Mr Hansen was removed late on Friday from his position as Yangan polling booth officer in charge after being upset his pension would be docked for the day's work.
Several local ALP members were offended by Mr Hansen's comment made in Friday'sDaily News directed at PM Julia Gillard and contacted the Australian Electoral Commission demanding he be removed from his polling day duties.
This was after the members phoned and visited the Daily News office protesting Mr Hansen was not an impartial official and could not be trusted.
“I am outraged because someone felt disadvantaged enough to speak out and Labor unionists had him removed from his job,” Mr Scott said.
“These sort of tactics are not unlike those used to oust Kevin Rudd from the Labor party.”
Mr Scott said the change from averaging a pensioner's earnings from yearly to fortnightly made it difficult for those who only worked occasionally, like Mr Hansen on polling day.
“We got in touch with the minister's office last week as soon as we heard about the legislative change because Bing may not have been the only pensioner who made himself available to work on polling day,” Mr Scott said.
“This was a legislative change by the Labor party, which we have vowed to change (back) if we are elected to parliament.”
“Bing was simply caught in it and it was grossly unfair for him to lose any pension for earning a bit of extra money.”
Mr Scott said Mr Hansen had “every right to speak out” about the unfairness with which he had been dealt.
“If we no longer have the right to speak out when we feel disadvantaged and lose our freedom of speech we are heading in the wrong direction as a country,” he said.
“It appears the bully boys in the unions were out in force even on Election Day.”
Mr Scott added the fundamental principle which needed to be kept in mind was that those on pension payments were often war veterans or others who had served their country and “should be respected”.
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