Labour Day marchers make their way along Kent St. (L) Bruce Saunders (state member for Maryborough), Grace Grace (State Min. Employment & Industrial Relations) and Adrian Tantari (Labor candidate for Hervey Bay).
Labour Day marchers make their way along Kent St. (L) Bruce Saunders (state member for Maryborough), Grace Grace (State Min. Employment & Industrial Relations) and Adrian Tantari (Labor candidate for Hervey Bay). Alistair Brightman

Saunders stands by 'union thug' comments after backlash

HE'S made controversial comments about being a "union thug," but Bruce Saunders isn't backing down from them in the face of community backlash.

The Maryborough MP said he was "proud to be a union thug" for "stand(ing) up for workers' rights" at a Labour Day march on Sunday.

But he's since come under fire from the community for the remarks, with councillor Rolf Light going as far to question whether he was fit for public office in a letter to the Chronicle.

Mr Saunders said he would wear the label 'union thug' like "a badge of honour" and said he would not be drawn into name-calling.

"If that's what it takes to stand up for workers' rights and also to make sure men and women go home safely after work every day," he said.

"If the councillors label me a union thug, I'll wear that badge proudly whenever I'm delivering for my electorate."

Mr Saunders said the councillors criticising him should focus on their jobs "rather than being dog whistlers."

One Nation's Damian Huxham also took aim at Mr Saunders' comments, saying he was "disappointed" the Labor MP would resort to "opportunistic point scoring."

"He's said he's proud of being a thug, while being a member of a party pushing the anti-bullying Safe Schools program. It's hypocritical of a man of his apparent calibre," he said.



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