I thank Senator Sterle very much for that dorothy dixer! I will have about 10 minutes to explain why net zero emissions would be a very bad deal for our nation's farmers and especially for our rural communities. Those conclusions that I make are just from very simple calculations and estimates from bodies like the CSIRO and from other respected economic modelling. I want to start with the fact that often with these motions, when there is a quote from somebody, you could almost guarantee that it's a misleading quote, or at least a quote with a lot of detail left off. I know that in this case because, while the motion identifies the culprit as Barnaby Joyce with this quote, in fact the words were jointly authored by me and Barnaby in an opinion piece in February this year in the Australian. We did say that the Nationals have always been against a net zero emissions target—I stress: a target is what we've always been against—and that we could not credibly represent farmers if we were to adopt such a target. The paragraph in our opinion piece just preceding that quote, which wasn't included in the motion for reasons that will become obvious, said: Read more

BILLS - Water Legislation Amendment (Inspector-General of Water Compliance and Other Measures) Bill 2021 - Second Reading

Senator CANAVAN (Queensland—Deputy Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (18:22): The Water Legislation Amendment (Inspector-General of Water Compliance and Other Measures) Bill 2021 is about implementing the Basin Plan. There's been a lot of talk about what is and isn't the Basin Plan and what is or isn't included in a very important document for our country. It's an issue that has been of interest to Australia for as long as Australia has been around. There's section 100 of our Constitution, which is basically there because of debates at the constitutional conventions around the Murray-Darling. That particular section of our Constitution gives the states the rights to manage their own water resources. They really did manage their own water resources in an independent and uncoordinated way until this process was kicked off by the Howard government in 2007. It took many years to finalise a plan for the basin. There's a lot of talk about what that is and how that came about. But I was somewhat involved at the time the plan went through. At that time, I was working as the chief of staff to the then Senator Barnaby Joyce, who was the shadow water minister. For all the talk over these last couple of days about former Senator Joyce and now Deputy Prime Minister Joyce, he voted for the Basin Plan. The Liberal-Nationals government largely voted for it. The member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, did vote against it. But it was voted for and supported because of some key promises that were given at the time the plan was created. There was a lot of controversy at that time, especially when a draft of the Basin Plan proposed to take away more than 6,000 gigalitres of water from our nation's farmers. Read more

MATTERS OF URGENCY - Morrison Government: Housing

This is a crucial and important issue to every Australian. I agree with the previous speaker that every Australian deserves to have a house and a home. There are obviously people who are in very unfortunate circumstances from time to time, and it's not always possible for governments to solve every particular problem. But I don't think there's been a Commonwealth government with more housing policies than this one. A raft of assistance is being provided to get people into a home and, most importantly, to allow them to own their own home. They are the programs that we took to the last election and have a mandate to roll out, programs that we put in place during the coronavirus pandemic as a key way of securing Australia's economic recovery. They've been very successful programs. Read more

BILLS - National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 - Second Reading

The siting of a radioactive waste storage facility is a tough decision for our nation. It is one that has been under consideration for many decades—indeed, for about 40 years. Before I go through some of the history of that 40 years, I want to take the opportunity to thank the many people in Kimba and Hawker, and the Hawker region, who have been involved in this latest consultation process. It was my great privilege and honour, as the minister for resources, to meet so many of these great people, some of whom were for and some against the radioactive waste facility in their region. But both of those regions are special parts of our nation. The Hawker region is proximate to the beautiful Flinders Ranges, and I am thankful for the hospitality that was shown to me by the people of that region. Indeed, I paid for some of my children to come down onto Aboriginal country at the time to experience their culture and we stayed near the Flinders Ranges with the Adnyamathanha people at the campsite that they run. It's a great community, a great part of our nation. I hope they're doing well with all the domestic tourism that's going around at the moment. Read more

ADJOURNMENT - Agricultural Shows

I'd like to pay tribute to the 50,000 Australians who volunteer every year to put on agricultural shows. It has been a tough year for those involved in preparing for, and putting on, agricultural shows. With COVID last year, 500 agricultural shows across Australia were cancelled and that meant no income for those show societies and no income for lots of the showies—the show men and women who put on various amusements that we all love to take our families to in side-show alley and other amusements at shows. It's a great Australian tradition of going to the show or the Ekka or whatever it's called, getting a dagwood dog, getting a show bag, seeing some cattle on show and, if it's your ilk, to go on some of the various rides that are there as well. It was a great enjoyment to take my own family last week to both the Yeppoon and Rockhampton shows. They were spoilt because we had an LNP stall at those shows, so they got to go to both and they loved it, having missed out last year. So I do want to pay tribute to all those people who do that. It was a tough year. The government did help throughout this process, and I want to congratulate the government on having already provided $34 million of assistance to 378 show societies to help them get through the last year. I believe there's another $700,000 in supplementary funding about to be awarded to around 110 shows. That has helped make sure that we can put on shows again and enjoy this great Australian tradition once more. Read more

BILLS - Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Amendment (Extension and Other Measures) Bill 2021 - Second Reading

 It's a great privilege to follow the Greens 'senator for northern Australia', Senator Rice, from inner-city Melbourne. It's an even better honour, though, to confirm the continuation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. This facility was set up six years ago by the government for an initial five-year period. When this bill, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Amendment (Extension and Other Measures) Bill 2021, passes, we will extend that period for another five years. What is important about that is that it shows that the government—indeed, the Australian parliament—is in the north for the long haul. Read more

ADJOURNMENT - Beef Australia

I rise to say thanks and congratulations to the Beef Australia committee, who last week put on the best beef week ever. It was a fantastic job from Bryce Camm and his team. Beef week is hosted in Rockhampton every three years, and it's getting bigger and better with every version. Despite all the challenges of COVID, of international travel bans, of random state border closures, the Beef Australia team put on an excellent event in Rockhampton last week. It was extremely well attended—in fact, a record 115,000 people came through the gate at Rockhampton last week, and I know my colleague Senator Susan McDonald was one of those people who joined many other Liberal and National members of parliament there for the celebrations. I should recognise that Senator McDonald has previously been a director of the Beef Australia board and helped run Beef Australia, and her legacy was on show last week. Read more

MOTIONS - E-Cigarettes

The Chief Government Whip makes a very good point there. Normally in this debate the last speaker might not get on. Senator Griff knows—I believe he put the list forward—that the only speaker on the list opposed to his point of view is in fact me. So, before knowing that this debate would start earlier, he potentially tried to impose and not have anybody speak against his motion in this debate. That does show the sensitivity of those pushing this issue.   Read more


I want to start by recognising the merit in Senator Sheldon bringing these complaints to the chamber and the need for them to be properly investigated. If people are mistreated by large companies, or by small companies, they deserve justice. I note that there has been significant change in employment markets or, I suppose, work arrangements, with the rise of companies like Deliveroo and Uber, and it's probably not unusual, therefore, that our laws might be lagging behind some of those developments. We should look at those things, and that's why we have an inquiry on at the moment to investigate them. Read more

BILLS - Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021 - Second Reading

The Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021 is, effectively, amongst some very important and historic laws and regulations that are going through this parliament, and I support it. In fact, this is historic, because I think Australia will perhaps be the first nation, or at least one of the very first nations, in the world to effectively establish a new right for people in the profession of journalism, those who do the hard work and write our news, that ensures that they get fair payment for their hard work. Read more



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