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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13258

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (22:16): I know I look incredibly young, but I actually grew up in a Queensland which had Joh Bjelke-Petersen as Premier. He was Premier for most of my early years. One of my earliest memories, from grade 7, is of being selected by the nuns to give a speech to Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen at the local Catholic school, St Patrick's and St Joseph's. My early experiences growing up in the country were National Party, National Party, National Party. The Queensland government that I knew had always been National Party.

Growing up in country Queensland, I saw a few things but nothing like what people down in Brisbane experienced—Special Branch, demonstrations, people being carted off and all that sort of stuff. Later, I came to the music of that time—bands like The Saints—which was a response to those tough times in Queensland and some of the repression occurring at the time. It was not until I went on to teachers college in 1983 that I saw the SEQEB strikes and how the Queensland government under Premier Bjelke-Petersen dealt with dissent. I had thought that there was one voice, but I discovered that there were many voices and that some were being quashed. I remember the antimarching laws in particular. One of my proudest political moments was being at the University of Queensland when they attempted to give Premier Bjelke-Petersen an honorary doctorate. I remember the poet Judith Wright sending in her degree so it could be set on fire in front of the crowd. She did not want a degree from a university that would recognise Premier Bjelke-Petersen.

But then, not long after that, we had Premier Wayne Goss, a progressive Labor leader. After The Moonlight State investigations and all the shame and drama, with ministers being sent to jail and corruption being exposed, the Queensland I had grown up in and become a teacher in became a much more progressive state. One of my local branch members, the Hon. Matt Foley, the Attorney-General at the time, personified some of those changes. He made a point of putting women on the bench—a radical idea in the Queensland I grew up in. We saw so many progressive ideas. Then, for a few years, we went back to the National Party under Premier Borbidge. Even though he was from the Gold Coast, he was a much more progressive member of the National Party. We moved on from there to Premier Beattie, who suggested that, rather than just being the sunshine state, we had to have something other than tourism and mining. He said, 'Let us be the smart state,' and he invested in biotechnology and coal seam gas.

Then we went on to Premier Bligh, a progressive left-leaning woman—she was almost my local member. That government did see one minister go to jail—someone who was corrupt and exposed as such. After having been in this chamber for five years, I can say this: I am yet to find greedy people in this chamber, either on this side of it or the other. Most people come here not because they are greedy but because there are selfless and want to serve people. I see people in the chamber who have made those decisions—they could have made more money but instead came here to serve.

Mr Frydenberg: Thanks, Craig!

Mr PERRETT: I will take that interjection. This year I was on Sky TV during the March landslide. The Labor Party was consigned to the dustbin that election night, with only seven Labor MPs returned. It was a tough night to be on TV. I clearly remember what Clive Palmer said about Premier Newman and how it was going to be a grand new tradition. He is of course no longer a member of the Liberal National Party—only six or seven months later.

I remember the first statement from the Deputy Premier was, 'We want the Great Barrier Reef to be smaller.' I thought, 'Hello, this could be a problem.' But I thought that maybe that was just a one-off from Deputy Premier Seeney. Then we get the jobs for the boys—Caltabiano appointed to the transport department—we get the nepotism; we get the redefining of 'front-line', even for nurses and BreastScreen Queensland people; we get hard-fought, negotiated workplace agreements torn up; we get 14,000 people sacked; and we get 26,000 people losing their jobs. It is unbelievable. My message tonight is that I am starting a new campaign to say to Premier Newman: 'I want my state back. I do not want to go back to the Queensland I grew up in. That was a different time. Put those white shoes away.' I respect the democratic process but I can make a comment about the direction of my state. Give me my state back, Premier Newman. (Time expired)