Morrison Government at war with itself on water
24 June 2021
What is going on with this government? If you can't govern yourself, you can't govern the nation.
Motion regarding Andrew Laming
23 June 2021
That this House:
(a) it has now been more than two months since the Member for Bowman said he would step down from all of his parliamentary positions;
(b) the Member for Bowman remains the Chair of the Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Training, a role for which he is paid an additional amount in the order of $23,000 per annum;
(c) the Prime Minister and his government have repeatedly voted to protect the Member for Bowman's position despite the Prime Minister's acknowledgement that the Member for Bowman's conduct had been inappropriate; and
(d) that by protecting the Member for Bowman, the Prime Minister is tacitly endorsing his inappropriate conduct, and the Prime Minster is also putting his own political interests ahead of his responsibility to show leadership; and
(2) calls on the Prime Minister to unequivocally reject the Member for Bowman's conduct by ensuring his removal from his lucrative committee chair role.
The Liberals have botched environment law reform
22 June 2021
It's a delight to follow the member for Goldstein in speaking on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021. He is a man so oblivious that in the week in which the National Party rolled their leader over climate change, with the Deputy Prime Minister of the nation changing as a consequence, and when we're in a global pandemic, the member for Goldstein thought he'd accuse us of self-indulgence and focusing on ourselves. It's quite a breathtaking assertion from the member. Talk about leading with your chin, Mr Speaker, when someone on that side of the House says the words 'self-indulgent' or 'focusing on yourself' during this extraordinary week. It's quite surprising in some ways, but in other ways it's completely par for the course for the member for Goldstein. Of course, we've also heard some of his really strange attempts to try to set up a dichotomy between Labor and the Liberals and Nationals in respect of which of us cares about conservation and commerce and which of us is self-indulgent. I think any fair observer would notice that, throughout the discussion of the 10-yearly review of the environment protection and biodiversity conservation legislation, it is Labor that has stood up for jobs and the environment, and it is the government that has been waging ideological warfare. And we see that again today with this proposed legislation.
The 2021/22 Budget debate - environment
17 June 2021
This is such an important portfolio. Australia is a world leader in mammal extinctions. It's a very, very sad distinction to hold. Of course, the world is facing up to the need for diversity protection and for protecting habitats. It is to be hoped that Australia doesn't get left behind. Recently, the second 10-yearly review of the nation's principal environment laws, the EPBC Act, was conducted. The review was led by Professor Graeme Samuel, appointed by the government to conduct this review. Professor Samuel recently released his final report of that review. In that report, he recommended a staged approach to environmental reforms. He set out a first-stage approach, which was very considered and very thoughtful, but unfortunately the government seems hell-bent on completely ignoring it, and are instead dusting off some 2014 provisions from a bill that was unsuccessful in that year, and some proposed written standards that were prepared in support of that bill.
The 2021/22 Budget debate - water
17 June 2021
It's an absolute pleasure to be here with the minister to talk about this very important part of the budget, and that is water, a matter that he and I, as Queenslanders, very much enjoy engaging with. I think we'll both be speaking at the New South Wales local government Water Managers Conference in a couple of weeks. I'm sure that they'll all rub their Origin win in our faces; nonetheless, we'll continue to pursue it. One of the speeches to be made at that very important conference will be by distinguished Professor Lesley Hughes. I've seen a draft program and I believe she will be speaking to delegates about the risks to Australia of a three-degree Celsius warmer world. I know that the minister has some thoughts on climate change that he has been expressing recently. But I think that he would also acknowledge that climate change does pose a serious threat to water availability in the Murray-Darling Basin. Recently ANU Professor Mark Howden made the point that average river flows into the Murray-Darling Basin have dropped by 39 per cent over the past 20 years, and that is mostly due to climate change. In December last year the CSIRO told us that the hydroclimate of the Murray-Darling Basin is changing. CSIRO researchers said that the future would be warmer and is likely to be drier, with more severe droughts. A couple of years ago the government's own drought coordinator-general pointed out the risks of climate change to water availability, again also talking about the contribution of climate change to more frequent and more severe droughts. A range of people have spoken about this issue.
Protecting Medicare from the Liberals' cuts
16 June 2021
Once again Medicare is under threat by the Liberals and the Nationals. They've been caught trying to sneak through almost 1,000 changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule under the cover of COVID. That means patients in my electorate face the prospect of life-changing surgeries being cancelled at the last minute or being landed with huge bills they didn't expect. This is not the first attack on Medicare from this government. Defending Medicare was one of the first things I did as the member for Griffith—in fact, even before I became the member. When I became the candidate the commission of audit that then Prime Minister Abbott had initiated was just reporting. That was the commission that recommended a GP tax, a co-payment for people. I defended Medicare back then, in 2014, when Mr Abbott tried to introduce a co-payment for patients. I defended it for the same reason I do now—because when you attack Medicare you attack people.
Three local issues: aged care, childcare, traffic congestion
16 June 2021
Our aged-care system is in crisis. The Prime Minister has neglected older Australians for far too long. There is a reason people avoid putting their parents into aged-care facilities for as long as possible, and that is that the Liberals and Nationals, who have been in power for eight long years, have cut $1.7 billion from the system. Aged care is under increasing pressure, but it doesn't have to be like that. There are changes the government can make now to make the system better. In fact, there are 148 recommendations from the recent royal commission. The government has a blueprint for change. Now they need to deliver.
Backing the Brisbane Firehawks' NRL bid
03 June 2021
The Brisbane Firehawks, based in Coorparoo in my electorate, have launched a bold bid to become the NRL's 17th franchise. If the Australian Rugby League Commission agrees to extend the competition, the Brisbane Firehawks are hoping to become the fourth Queensland team from 2023. Southsiders and all Australians will have an exciting new team to support. A firehawk is a raptor that spreads wildfires by carrying smouldering branches to unburnt areas.
It's about time we had a cop on the beat in the Murray Darling Basin
03 June 2021
I rise to speak in relation to the Water Legislation Amendment (Inspector-General of Water Compliance and Other Measures) Bill 2021. In so doing, I also move:
That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:
"whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House notes that the Coalition Government have bungled the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and have all but abandoned its targets, leaving basin communities behind and risking our future water resources".
This is an important piece of legislation. Of course, as the minister said in his second reading speech, water is essential for the health and wellbeing of the basin's 2.2 million people and it's essential to support our national economy. The basin contributes $24 billion in agricultural earnings and $8 billion in tourism dollars in a normal, non-COVID, pre-COVID year. Water is of course also essential for the natural environment in the basin, including the 16 internationally significant wetlands and all of the endangered species that inhabit the basin.
Wages and jobs
26 May 2021
What is the purpose of all of this: of government, of parliament, of all of the work that people come here and do? Why do we do it? If you believe the Liberal Party, their sorts of views of the world, they would like government to just provide for national defence, make sure that there are enforceable property rights and do not much else. Other than that it should be everyone for themselves. That's their world view. But our world view, as Labor, is we think government should be here to make people's lives better, to lift the living standards of the Australian people year after year, generation after generation—that's the purpose of all of this. All of this activity, all of this work should be so that the next generation has a better life than the previous one did.