Condolences - Anthony, Rt Hon. John Douglas (Doug), AC, CH

I too would like to echo the celebration of a great Australian leader in this chamber this afternoon. Doug Anthony was a leader that I don't think any other country in the world could have produced. He was quintessentially Australian, identifiably Australian. Perhaps he might not be the type of leader we ever see again in Australia. I hope not; I hope we haven't lost his down-to-earth nature, his country charm and, of course, his larrikin spirit. Doug was our longest-serving Deputy Prime Minister. He led our country through great change and transition—changes and transitions that impacted the then Country Party, now the National Party, greatly—and he did so extremely successfully. As I said, he was a real Australian larrikin as a leader. That comes through in the stories that have been told here this afternoon—the beachside caravan, the calls from the Prime Minister on the payphone that his kids were operating. Read more

Matters of Urgency - Climate Change

In Senator Waters' contribution we really only heard Australia being compared to one country, the United Kingdom, and I'll come to that country in a second. But there was no comparison with any other country, so I for one at first thought maybe we'd gone back into some twilight zone where we were once again a colony of the United Kingdom and we were being told what to do by, according to Senator Waters, our colonial masters in London. Yes, our colonial masters in London would love us to cripple our own industry so they can continue to compete with us. They'd love us to impose huge costs on our own country in a way that many other nations are not doing. But I for one am proud of and cherish the independence that this nation has achieved since we threw off the colonial chains and became an independent country. So, no, I don't think we should slavishly follow what Mr Johnson in London wants us to do. Good luck to him. He's the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and he can decide what the policies are for the United Kingdom. Read more

Matter of Public Importance - Morrison Government Deliverables

I thought this MPI was going to focus on the failure to deliver for Australians during coronavirus. That's what Senator Ayres was focused on for most of his contribution, but you could tell he ran out of steam because he didn't have much more to say by the end and started talking about energy policy and all these other things that we have disagreements on. Read more

Take Note of Answers - JobKeeper Payment, Pensions and Benefits

Part of me feels a little sorry for the opposition at the moment. I know it's their job to come into this place and hold the government to account. It's their job to be a critic, effectively, of what's happening, but they are really clutching at straws at the moment. They are struggling a little to be a critic through this crisis.  Read more

Treasury Laws Amendment (Your Superannuation, Your Choice) Bill 2019

When I came into the chamber to make my contribution on the Treasury Laws Amendment (Your Superannuation, Your Choice) Bill 2019, I did a bit of a double take, because I thought I heard Senator Watt say that he is supportive, or that the Labor Party are supportive, of this bill. I thought, 'Well, that's news,' because we have been trying to provide more choice for Australians to determine how their own money is invested for basically five years now, and the Labor Party have fought tooth and nail for those five years against those workers' rights to choose where their money is invested. Read more

Matter of Public Importance - Childcare

 I, too, at the start of my contribution would like to recognise the hard work and commitment of those involved in the childcare sector. They were pretty tense times a few months ago. We clearly and rightly recognised the workers on the frontline of our health system at that time, continuing to be there in response to this coronavirus crisis. But there were other crucial sectors as well that contributed to keeping all Australians safe, and our childcare sector was an essential one because, without those types of services, the healthcare workers that we essentially need couldn't continue to do their jobs. Read more

Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Birmingham. Can the minister outline how the Australia-India comprehensive strategic partnership will benefit Australia economically, especially regional agricultural and mining communities in their post-pandemic recovery? Read more

Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Flexibility Measures) Bill 2020

I really have missed this place. I've missed the chutzpah that comes from this chamber. I've missed in the last three months the hypocrisy that is given with a straight face so often in this chamber. It's something I haven't had to experience too much in the last few months back home in north Queensland, where you don't really get away with that kind of stuff. You don't really get away with two-faced statements like we just heard from Senator O'Neill. Read more

Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth into diversifying Australia's trade and investment

I want to make some brief remarks on this proposed inquiry. I recognise the good faith with which this inquiry is being brought forward. I think many of the issues that have been raised here do deserve examination, and I will come to those. But I do want to briefly put on the record the reasons I won't be supporting this specific inquiry. Some of them go to the substantive issues that have been raised through this debate. I will come back to ones that I think do deserve inquiry and investigation by this parliament and its committees. Read more

Australia's agricultural sector and resources supporting economic growth

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, Senator Ruston. Can the minister outline how Australia's agricultural sector and other critical rural and regional sectors such as resources are supporting economic growth during these difficult economic times resulting from the coronavirus pandemic? Read more


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