New PUP Inquiry Sets Sail on the Titanic

It is a privilege to follow my colleague Senator McGrath and his contribution concerning an Australian Defence Force covenant. It is a concept which he has told me about before, and I do hope, as he does, that it can be taken up by all political parties. Read more

Proposal for a Federal ICAC

Before we seek to establish new bureaucracies and before we seek to make substantial changes to our law enforcement structure we should have a problem that we need to act upon. We should have evidence that there is an issue before we go about spending lots of money, before we go about replicating processes that are already in place and, most importantly, before we go about reducing the normal law enforcement practices that exist in this country and the restrictions that are placed around them. Read more

Competition: Best in Products, Worst in People

The American radio businessman David Sarnoff once said: Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people. Read more

Rural Debt and More Labor Fiascos

I would like to speak on two issues this evening. The first is the Financial Rural Debt Roundtable, which concluded this afternoon and which the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce hosted. It was a productive meeting, and I want to thank the Australian Bankers Association and other representatives from the banking industry, the National Farmers Federation, AgForce, the New South Wales Farmers Federation, the Gulf Cattlemen's Association and the Kimberley Cattlemen's Association. I have probably missed some, but more than 40 people were there this afternoon to discuss this very important issue. Read more

Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014

At the outset, I want to mention that I am feeling a bit stiff this morning. On Saturday, I played rugby for the first time for about five years. I am feeling very much worse for wear. There is not much to report from the game except that the refereeing standard on Saturday was much better than on Friday night, unfortunately. As a Queensland senator, I just wanted to put that on record.  Read more

Deposit Insurance and Bank Levies

I would like to compliment Senator Whish-Wilson for a very considered speech. This is a very important topic. It goes to the security and safety of our financial system. However, I do take issue with the senator for the fact that he does not seem to have dealt with the full details of this motion. Read more

Northern Australia Committee Report

I too wish to be associated with the remarks on this pathfinding and, hopefully, 'path-breaking' report. I too want to give credit to Senator Macdonald who has been, as we have just heard, pushing this case for some time. He often makes the point that there are very few politicians from Northern Australia. He could probably give me the number, but there are not many out of the 226 in this place. Read more

Great Barrier Reef Senate Report

I too would like to make some remarks on this report by the Environment and Communications References Committee. I want to associate myself with the remarks of Senator Ruston and Senator Macdonald—particularly Senator Ruston's comments on the disappointment that we were not able to reach a consensus report. We were so close that it makes me think that the fact we did not get there is more about politics than the facts of the matter. Read more

Family Based Taxation

There is an old joke in economics about the country that gets rich by doing each other's washing. If I do my own washing, it is work and it is economic output but it does not count in a country's GDP. However, if I pay Bill to do it, suddenly the measured GDP of this economy will increase even though no more work or wealth has been created. A nation that did just each other's washing would not be a rich country; indeed, it would have no wealth at all. Read more

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014

On the weekend I started reading Paul Kelly's book, the one he put out a couple of weeks ago, Triumph and Demise: The broken promise of a Labor generation. It is a bit of a yarn about the Labor Party. It is a sad book because it tells the story of the death of the modern Labor Party in some ways. It is continuing to be sad here tonight with the Labor Party seemingly opposing the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014, given it is something that they actually supported for many years and given that it is something that is meant to be pro-business and pro-development. Read more



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