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- Start of Business
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S SPEECH
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
- Dunkley Electorate
- Sheffield Shield
- Parliament House: Chapel
- New South Wales District Court: Appointment of Aboriginal Judge
- Petrie-Redcliffe Transport Services
- Sports High Schools
- National Crime Authority
- Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce
- Electorate of Dunkley
- MINISTERIAL ARRANGEMENTS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Mr BEAZLEY, Mr TIM FISCHER)
(Ms WORTH, Mr HOWARD)
(Mr BEAZLEY, Mr HOWARD)
(Mr LINDSAY, Mr HOWARD)
(Mr CREAN, Mr MOORE)
(Mr ANDREWS, Mr COSTELLO)
(Mr MARTIN FERGUSON, Dr KEMP)
Industrial Relations: Accord
(Mr BILLSON, Mr COSTELLO)
(Mr McMULLAN, Mr REITH)
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Independents: Entitlement to Questions
(Mr CAMPBELL, Mr SPEAKER)
(Mr ANDREN, Mr SPEAKER)
Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms: Wines
(Mr FITZGIBBON, Mr SPEAKER)
- Telecommunications National Code
- National Flag
- East Timor
- Commonwealth Education Centres
- Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement
- Wagga Wagga Regional Taxation Office
- Family Law
- Parliament: Racial Discrimination
- UN Weapons Convention
- Immigration: Sudanese Persons
- Aged Care
- Aged Care
- School Funding
- Parliament: Behaviour
- Bendigo Regional Taxation Office
- CES Wendouree
- Nuclear Testing
- Telephone Boxes
- Breast Cancer
- Mobile Telephone Services
- Procedural Text
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Small Business
Port Arthur Massacre
Landcare Groups: Sales Tax Exemption
- Avalon Airport Redevelopment
Airservices Australia: Air Traffic Control
Telstra: Facsimile Calls
- May Day
- Mining: Lake Cowal
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S SPEECH
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S SPEECH
Monday, 6 May 1996
Mr RANDALL(4.44 p.m.) —Mr Deputy Speaker Jenkins, I congratulate you on your election to high office. I would like to take the opportunity, in his absence, to congratulate the Speaker. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate not only the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) on his successful election campaign but also my coalition colleagues, many of whom spent years serving as opposition members. While they created an effective and creditable opposition, I know they will make even better members of government.
It is a humbling experience to join with these colleagues and newly elected members from around Australia to form the first federal coalition government in 13 years. It is with a sense of gratitude to the Australian people, and the people of Swan in particular, that I serve my first term in this House on the government benches.
At the outset, thanks must go to my campaign manager, Senator Winston Crane, and his wife, Thea, whose experience proved invaluable. Winston was one of the few people I spoke to who predicted such a landslide victory for the coalition government. John Norman, the President of the Swan division of the Liberal Party, also provided much needed support. My deepest appreciation also goes to my good friend Dean Capelli.
I would also like to thank others who worked on my campaign and the many supporters and volunteers who are just too numerous to mention individually. Last, but certainly not least, I thank my wife, Julie, and children, Tess and Elliott, who were my greatest source of support and comfort during the campaign. My love and thanks go to my parents for their enduring patience.
Swan takes its name from the river which forms one of its natural boundaries. In 1697, the Swan River was named the Black Swan River by Commander Willem De Vlamingh, a Dutch explorer, after the unique black swans which still can be found in parts of the river today. Sadly, ecological changes have removed most of the swans from the river, and I will take a keen interest in the rejuvenation and restoration process of the swans' habitat during my first term.
The Swan River is the scene of much cultural and community activity, the site of festivals and concerts; a meeting place for family and friends, with sailing, skiing, restaurants, barbecue and picnic areas along its foreshore. My family and I are fortunate enough to live very close to the river and we enjoy the beautiful native flora and fauna. Leading up to the election, the local environment figured as a very important issue to the people of Swan. As well as having a personal interest, I am committed to balancing good ecological and environmental management of the river with the provision of good facilities and access.
The Swan electorate spans over 113 square kilometres, encompassing a variety of industries, small business and professional offices. The demographics are broad with diverse ethnic groups—Asian, European and Aboriginal Australians. An inner city electorate, past federal members include Sir John Forrest, Richard Cleaver, Bill Grayden and, of course, the now Leader of the Opposition (Mr Beazley) in the House today.
My commitment to the people of Swan is to work hard on the issues which I promised would receive greater attention under a coalition government—jobs, families and security. Unemployment has had a significant impact in Swan. Leading up to the election, it was announced that over 20 per cent of young people were not able to find work. As a former teacher I witnessed first-hand the difficulties facing our youth in the employment arena.
I saw and continue to see many of my former students unemployed through no fault of their own—simply because opportunities were too thin on the ground. Recurring knock-backs and being trained for jobs which just don't exist are demoralising for anyone who has been unemployed, but significantly so for our young people who have never seen it any other way. These circumstances contribute to a shockingly high level of juvenile crime, to which the residents of Swan can attest. There is no quick fix, but the coalition offers positive alternatives to the failed programs of the former Labor government. I look forward to seeing the decline of the welfare state mentality, with a greater emphasis on hand-up instead of handout.
I look forward to working with one of my Western Australian counterparts, the Hon. Geoff Prosser, in his capacity as the Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs. I am passionate and optimistic about the coalition's policies for the development of small business and the opportunities they will provide in terms of the economy, employment, and individual growth and determination—a sense of pride which has been hindered for so long.
It was little wonder that approximately 136,000 businesses experienced bankruptcy during and after the `recession we had to have', contending as they did with excessive red tape, tax burdens and unworkable unfair dismissal laws. In Swan there are up to 6,000 small businesses. Further growth can only assist in the overall improvement in the opportunities available to the electorate and to the wider community.
I will bring to the electorate the valuable experience I gained as a councillor with local government for the Belmont City Council. Here I was involved with the small business community of the electorate and became interested in the prospects of further development of the business potential in the area.
As part of good government we do, however, necessarily have to cut waste. It is not government's responsibility to prop up businesses with funding but rather to guide them towards standing up for themselves, being productive and efficient, and requiring minimum assistance. To guide businesses, we will create the environment needed to help them succeed. We will not be intrusive in their business.
Cutting waste will lead to the usual howls of protest and the usual cries from people who don't like their soft options removed. This includes departments which have been running on outdated methods and which must now take their place in the ongoing process of micro- and macro-economic reform. Australia as a whole cannot be efficient if government is not efficient, because government consumes so much of the nation's wealth.
Historically, Australians have proved they can face and conquer economic and social challenges. In my own family, for example, my grandparents were founding fathers in the agricultural district of Western Australia's wheat belt, near the town of Merredin. They came to a block of uncleared land with a tent, an axe and a toddler. Like other Australians at this time, they survived the rigours of drought, recession, depression and war. In the face of adversity and difficult times, it was these types of Australians who helped form this great nation.
I believe Australians still have this spirit and the desire to achieve. They will understand and accept changes which need to be made in Australia. They will understand that we are making some cuts because we want to take the load off their shoulders. We are making some changes because we want to properly deliver the services for which they are paying. The reason for these changes is as important to the people of Australia as it is to the government which makes them: to stop overspending on the things we do not have the money to pay for, and to implement long-term goals, not short-term fixes.
The disciplined management of federal government includes cutting the idea that every decision has to be made in Canberra in order for Canberra to justify its existence. We are going to adopt the idea that decisions are best made nearest the people that they affect. I believe the relationship between the states and this government will be constructive. We will work together as a cooperative rather than a collective, dealing with the tasks before us in order to achieve the vision laid out in our election platform.
By contrast, Labor's collectivist approach to government is epitomised by the unions, which want to rule their members' every move, which want to decide when they will and will not work and what type of money and conditions they think their members desire. In my opinion, this practice of compulsory unionism—no ticket, no start—results in an unhealthy culture; the herd mentality.
The Howard government will be remembered for a cooperative approach with the states by bringing about much needed changes in federal industrial relations. The captain steering the ship does not rush down to the engine room every five minutes; he delegates. I believe this is the whole idea of the new Canberra I think people hope to see—one which is leading, not meddling. Better management of the affairs of government can and will quite crucially affect the future of Australia. Better management will provide Australians with the security and stability they voted for at the election.
Part of the Liberal Party's platform states a belief in the innate worth of the individual and the need to encourage initiative and personal responsibility. The freedoms of the individual must be protected, and all people should have the opportunity to advance to their full potential. This government's style of management will reflect this essential facet of Liberal philosophy.
This individual theme is best fostered and cultivated within the family unit. The family is the most important asset that our nation has. This is where young Australians learn about responsibility for themselves and where older Australians learn responsibility for others. The family is the template which casts the dye not only for the future of the individual but collectively for our nation.
As a father and a husband I am aware of the difficulties which families in my electorate face on a daily basis. In a climate where the family's future has not had a great amount of security, it is important that this government supports the family in every way. In order to be truly representative, the government needs to respond to the family's changing needs and wants. For example, I stand for a more flexible working arrangement for parents. I hope family breakdown will cease to be such a common occurrence in an economy which promises growth, employment and greater security.
During the election campaign I was privileged to have been given guidance by a former member for Swan, Mr Richard Cleaver, whose experience and knowledge of the electorate helped me greatly. Mr Cleaver, or Dick, as he is known, is the founder and director of Swan Cottage Homes in Bentley. Through him I was given valuable insight into the concerns of seniors. Approximately one-third of the electorate of Swan is comprised of seniors. I made a commitment to them during my campaign to represent their interests as a priority.
In the next decade the number of older people in our community will substantially increase. Under the economy which will be produced in that decade under a coalition government old age will not mean the dark age, which it would have been under Labor. The resources simply would not have been there under Labor; they would have been spent in the usual careless and wanton Labor way. Speaking to the people of Swan, I am encouraged by the sense of confidence they share with me in our Prime Minister, John Howard. I am encouraged that they believe a government led by Mr Howard will create the welcome difference which they already see as coming from Canberra.
There is a sense in my electorate, which is fairly indicative of other Australian electorates, that this government has decided to set high standards for the leadership of Australia and will do it in a proper Westminster manner. This means with respect for the voters, respect for the country and with a vision to strive for.
I committed to the voters of Swan that I would represent them in this place with respect and dignity. The people of Australia cannot be expected to have confidence in their federal representatives if those representatives treat the parliament with disrespect. This government is seen as a government which will conduct itself in accordance with the wishes of the people who voted it there.
Australia is a land of opportunity. We are a nation where people who are willing to make sacrifices can succeed and where people can take the opportunity to make their own luck. The success rate of those who have a go is very high. Australia is the envy of much of the rest of the world and the rate of people who want to migrate to this great country is very high indeed.
Finally, the worst thing that could happen to Australians is if they begin to believe, to quote the former Prime Minister, that `this is as good as it gets'. Very rarely do we reach that point where there is no more to strive for, that all has been achieved. The Australian people have clearly shown that they expect better than they have received in the past 13 years. Clearly, the time for change is ripe—changes towards greater individual responsibility and reward for effort. I am confident that with good government we will see better management of the economy and Australia in general. I look forward to the changes brought about by positive coalition policies which will unleash the potential this country offers to all Australians.
Honourable members —Hear, hear!
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jenkins) —Order! Before I call the honourable member for Grayndler, I remind the House that this is the honourable member's first speech and I ask the House to extend to him the usual courtesies.