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

Road Safety and the Transport Workers Union

I would like to speak this morning about the trucking industry and its safety. I do so with some familiarity with the industry. My father-in-law is a truck driver. My uncle is a truck driver. I have seen firsthand how important safety is in that industry. It has a much higher fatality rate than most industries. The trucking industry has about 10 times the average fatality rate of any other industry. It is something that families always live with when they have members of their family in that industry driving long distances. Right now, my father-in-law is somewhere between Wagga Wagga and Lightning Ridge on another long-haul drive. Read more

Adjournment Speech on Rural Debt

I rise tonight to talk about debt, in particular rural debt, and drought—the two D's, if you like. When you have debt plus drought, you often end up with desperation, so you end up with three D's. Read more

Maiden Speech to the Senate

Mr President I am honoured to give my first speech in the Senate and I am honoured to have been elected by the Queensland people to represent them. I will do my best to serve their collective interests with courage, integrity and humility. Read more



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