ABCC bill success a 'stunning win for Australian jobs': Xenophon

Nick Xenophon Team leader Senator Nick Xenophon arrives at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Source: AAP

The Senate has passed government legislation restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission, amid debate from both sides of politics about its potential impact.

The Christmas wish of the Turnbull government has come true, with the Senate passing its flagship legislation to restore the building industry watchdog just after 10.30am.

The final vote was 36 to 33, with the four One Nation Senators, three Xenophon Senators, and independents David Leyonhjelm and Derryn Hinch all voting in favour.

They all secured dozens of amendments, which the Opposition described as a sign of the government's desperation to score any win.

This was one of the bills which the Senate rejected three times to give the government the trigger it needed to call the double dissolution election in July.

Last week the Senate passed the other election trigger, to establish a registered organisations commission.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission was first established by the Howard coalitiom government in 2005 and replaced by Labor in 2007. 

The Coalition has been trying to restore it since it took office in 2013.

The former Employment Minister who failed to get it through Parliament, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz praised the passage of the bill.

"The passage of the Bill to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission and to reintroduce the rule of law on construction sites will be welcomed by the hundreds of thousands of Australians who want to work in a safe and fair industry free of criminality and corruption," Mr Abetz said. 

"Since Labor’s abolition of the ABCC in 2012, we have seen a return to the thuggery and violence in the industry not seen since the Cole Royal Commission."

Outspoken Labor senator Doug Cameron confronted Senator Xenophon outside Parliament House on Wednesday telling him: "Don't give any more away Nick. Step it up mate, harden up."

Senator Xenophon defended his actions, talking up his achievement of securing the "biggest changes in procurement laws".

"What we have come up with is a stunning win for Australian jobs and Australian industry," he told reporters.

"No less than Senator Kim Carr, the former industry minister ... was practically gobsmacked at these changes."

-With AAP

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