As Paul Keating once said “when the government changes, the country changes.”
The Labor party came to government last weekend and the country will change as a result.
I congratulate the Labor party on their victory and wish them all the best on behalf of our country. I also congratulate everyone that stood for office from all sides of politics. Running for office is a great honour but it is also a gruelling and high pressure environment.
Our democracy would not function without people who put themselves through this.
I was re-elected a Senator for Queensland and I thank people for their support. I hope to honour them by continuing to be a fearless advocate for the interests of Queensland. As I often say, I go to Canberra to fight for you not to make friends. And lately I think I have been delivering on at least the latter promise!
My LNP colleagues Michelle Landry and Colin Boyce were also elected. All things considered the LNP had a successful election in Queensland, winning over two-thirds of the seats despite losing the election.
That is unprecedented. Michelle Landry has created history again. She was already the first Nationals MP to win Capricornia at consecutive elections. Now she is the first Liberal or Nationals MP to hold Capricornia in Opposition.
I believe that Michelle’s and our success is because we have delivered results for Central Queensland. We have helped build local infrastructure like a hospital car park (finally!), duplicated the Rockhampton-Gracemere Road and improved the Rockhampton riverfront and the Yeppoon lagoon. On bigger things, we
are building the Rookwood Weir (which will start filling with water over the next year) and supported the Adani mine (which now employs 2000 people).
I know the Labor party wants to win back these seats and my advice to them is you will not win them by campaigning, you have to deliver results. My job now in Her Majesty’s Opposition is to hold Labor to account about what they deliver for our region.
The first thing I will do is to defend the record investments that we have announced for Central Queensland. We succeeded at getting funding in the last budget to build the Urannah Dam, seal many rural roads (including Springsure to Tambo, Clermont to Alpha and the May Downs Road) and invest in water infrastructure in Emerald to create a new manufacturing hub at the inland port. We also promised to support extending the inland rail to Gladstone, something Labor promised to do too.
This funding is already in the budget so all Labor has to do is not strip it out. The early signs are not good. In Labor’s costings, released just before the election, they ended the Regionalisation Fund (which funded community projects) to pay for other promises.
And, while announcing road funding in Brisbane, Labor’s infrastructure spokesperson cast doubt on whether they would support the inland rail in Government.
Labor also took to the election a new form of carbon tax but they claimed that any “trade exposed” businesses would be exempt from this tax. All of our mines, gas facilities and factories in CQ are trade exposed. If Labor is pulled by the Greens into applying a carbon tax on CQ jobs, it will be a broken promise.
On the eve of the election Labor announced that they would establish a new Environmental Protection Agency. This could quickly turn into a tree police that
will have all farmers crushed under the red tape of Canberra when they seek to develop their own properties.
I believe the primary reason the LNP has won support in Queensland is because we have unashamedly taken pride in the hard work of the men and women in regional Australia that create the wealth for our nation. These are the workers in our coal mines, on our farms and on the factory floor.
I hope Labor rediscovers their original aim of defending the worker but I will not hold my breath as the Labor left and the Green controlled Senate get their laws stuck into this new government and seek to change the country.