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Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Page: 6178


Mr RANDALL (Canning) (19:19): It is my pleasure this evening to talk on Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2012-2013. In doing so I want to point out a few issues in relation to this budget and its effectiveness. Dare I say, there is very little in this budget for the people of Canning other than what is deemed to be the misconception and misunderstanding of is called the schoolkids bonus.

As I have said in this House before, the schoolkids bonus was meant to be for schoolkids. At the end of the day, if a parent came along and kept their receipts and put them into the appropriate redemption area they would have them redeemed. That meant that they could then pay for uniforms, school shoes, school fees, excursions and all these sorts of things. It was a genuine injection into the education of children. I have had people from my electorate come to me and say, 'Mr Randall, I have kept all these receipts. What do I do with them now?' They cannot do anything with them because they are just going to get a cash splash.

I heard the member for Petrie stand and say how disgraced and upset she was that people were saying those who received these payments would use them on things like alcohol and gambling. I would be disgraced too if that happened, because it is meant for schoolkids and their school fees. The national broadcasters of this country and the media in general have found people who have said, 'Well, if don't have to spend it on the kids I might spend it on myself.' There are some worthy spends. They are people with electricity bills—and we know they are going to get higher—and other expenses. But do not call it a schoolkids bonus. It is not for schoolkids any more.

We even heard today in the House that there are schoolkids who will receive it even if they do not attend school. How does that apply? The Prime Minister's lame, limp response was, 'I want to make sure we give it to the people in need.' The people are in need because they are being compensated for a tax that they do not need—a carbon tax. This is a bribe and a payoff for people on low incomes—who, in particular, are going to be some of the worst affected by this government's world's highest carbon tax. Let us get that on the record. This schoolkids bonus scheme is bogus because it is just a bribe and an injection of cash with no accountability and no audit trail any more.

In addition to that, the Treasurer lauded his $1.5 billion surplus. By the end of this year or towards October-November when MYEFO is to be revealed, the Treasurer will put it off—because he will not want to reveal the fact that he will not make his surplus. As the Leader of the Opposition said, in a trillion-dollar economy $1.5 billion is 'a rounding error'—and this Treasurer is going to be found out again for another bogus set of circumstances around his budget.

I dare say also that this is a budget which has forgotten small business. Remember that they were going to reduce company tax from 30 per cent to 29 per cent? All those people in my electorate said, 'What's the federal government going to do for me? ' Retail in this country is being absolutely strangled. Retailers are in dire straits. The retailers in my electorate are screaming that not only are they bound up by red tape but people are not spending. In fact, there are statistics showing that billions of dollars are not being spent in this economy because there is a lack of confidence in spending. Not only are people not spending on retail, they are not developing land and other developments—because they have no confidence in this government. A large developer came to me in Perth the other day saying he is not going to pull the trigger on his development until this government is gone. So that is the situation that confronts us.

A lot of people have spoken about the fact that a whole lot of jobs are going out the window. They are saying it is because of the carbon tax. Why would anybody who had won an election allow the Greens to compromise them? You should never trust the Greens. You should never take the Greens for their word. Along came Prime Minister Julia Gillard. From day one she was compromised when she got sucked into the whole vortex of the carbon argument and the climate change argument and gave us the world's highest carbon tax.

I said to one of the Deputy Speaker's colleagues, who shall remain unnamed: why did you guys do this? You could have lived happily ever after if you had not done this. You could have sat down and negotiated a sensible arrangement. But the Prime Minister's lack of judgment was again on the record when she went down this path, compromised by Bob Brown and the Greens because she had to tie up an unseemly coalition.

I have the aluminium industry in my electorate; I have Alcoa. Sixty per cent of Alcoa's world income comes from my electorate—whether it is through the mining of it or the processing of it. The bauxite is processed into alumina and then it is shipped off to Point Henry to be turned into aluminium. That is a huge cost. The price of electricity used to be one of the attractive parts of producing aluminium. But Loy Yang and all those electricity generating facilities in my colleague's state are now going to be hit with the world's highest carbon tax, which will make it so much harder to produce refined aluminium.

Going to asylum seekers: we have never had so many turn up in one day. In 24 hours, close to 1,000 people turned up—because the Labor Party, under Kevin Rudd and endorsed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, changed the policy, which opened the door. We have seen all the media reports that they are lining up to get here while there is an open door. But you could stop it in one day if you brought in the Nauru solution and temporary protection visas and, where practicable, turned the boats back. So we have this issue, and now we have the uncertainty surrounding the government's handling of the Roy Hill Enterprise Migration Agreement, which has totally backfired on the Prime Minister. She wanted to start a class war against Gina Rinehart and Twiggy Forrest—two great Western Australians.

Lang Hancock had nothing. He had to borrow £500 from Stan Perron to explore a mineral deposit in the Hamersley Range. That allowed Lang Hancock to have 15 per cent of future royalties. That is how poor he was as a sheep station owner. He made something out of nothing. It is the same with Twiggy Forrest. Twiggy Forrest comes from the incredible family of Sir John Forrest, who was the former member for Swan in this place at the time of Federation in 1901. This is a family explored and developed Western Australia—and this government blackguards them. Why does this government blackguard them? Because they have been successful and have made billions of dollars. Along the way they pay company tax. They employ people and make sure that Australia is in a secure trading position in terms of our balance of trade, but they are blackguarded because of the class war going on between the Labor Party and anyone who is successful.

What I am about to say I do not say lightly. As the member for Swan, I lost my seat after one term. It was in the GST and One Nation election when 19 of us lost our seats. I came back as the member for Canning and I have one Canning four times. I speak with a lot of sympathy and I do not say this in a gloating way. To the people in the Labor Party who are in marginal seats I say that this Prime Minister is selling you down the drain. Your policies are going to hurt you and you are not going to be back here.

There is a list of 12 seats. Obviously the member for Corangamite is in real trouble, as is the member for Moreton. In the recent Queensland election there was a 15.4 per cent swing against the ALP. What was the margin in Moreton at the last election? The member for Moreton got 51.13 per cent of votes, so his margin is 1.13 per cent—gone. The third cab off the rank is the member for Lyne—for all different reasons, gone. The fourth cab off the rank, obviously, is the chief of 'Thomsongate', the member for Dobell—that seat will come our way. The fifth cab off the rank, Greenway, 900 votes—there are 900 Sri Lankan's in the member for Greenways's seat and she has blackguarded them all. I made a speech in this House and invited her in to listen because the Sri Lankans had contacted me and the Sinhalese community are not happy with her.

The sixth seat is Latrobe and Jason Wood is again standing for preselection. The seventh seat is Petrie—it will be coming our way, with the recent swing in Queensland. The eighth seat is Lilley. I am trying to place a bet on Centrebet on the seat of Lilley because I do not believe that the member for Lilley will be back. Remember Elizabeth Grace? She took his seat once. Elizabeth Grace will be standing again at the next electorate.

The ninth seat is Bass. The member for Bass is a lovely bloke. I understand our two-party preferred polling there is at 60 per cent. The tenth seat is New England—they have gone off him. That seat has a Labor primary vote of something like 15 per cent and he has backed the Labor Party, the Left. He is gone. The eleventh seat is Blair, another Queensland vote. The next election will largely be won in Queensland. The twelfth is Capricornia—coal mines. The member for Capricornia is a lovely lady. I do not wish her any harm but at the end of the day—gone. I understand the member for Robertson has dug herself well into her seat and is very popular there, so there will be idiosyncratic results.

I was in the party room when John Howard had 52 polls against him saying we were not going to win. You hear it all at the doors, people saying, 'But it's not Newspoll today, it's not this one, it's the poll on the day that counts.' Unless you get this government to change its policies on the carbon tax, the mining tax, to reverse the health insurance changes, capping childcare fees and all the other issues you will show how you are out of touch with the Australian electorate. I am sick of getting bailed up on Anzac Day, at schools or at shows by people saying, 'Do we really have to wait 16 months until we can kick-start this country? It's an embarrassment.'

When Kevin Rudd went overseas, begrudgingly we were proud of him because at least he handled himself and he was articulate. When this Prime Minister goes overseas, she is a pale imitation of Helen Clark, who used to be very 'agricultural' in the way she spoke. We have someone who is worse. Australians are not proud of our Prime Minister. There is a pox on all of us, because this is the ugliest parliament that I have seen in the nearly 14 years I have been in this place. It reflects on all this when the state of this place is like it is at the moment. We deserve far better.

In coming to a conclusion I will point out that I wrote an opinion piece in the West Australian newspaper today. It is called 'A funding tale of two cities'. In the piece I compared Armidale in New South Wales, in the seat of New England, with Armadale in my seat of Canning, pointing out the difference in funding and the issues that separate the two. I seek leave to table that at the end of my speech.

Leave granted.

Mr RANDALL: Ultimately, this parliament is dying by 1,000 cuts. People ask us when can we end the malaise; when can we stop the paralysis of this government and what it is doing to this fine country of Australia. Yes, we are in a better position than many other countries, but we can do far better. Our constituents and our country need better.