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Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Page: 4480


Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (16:59): I always think that the budgets I have witnessed in this place over a period now of 20 years are not hallmarked by what is in them but in fact by what is not in them. Senator John Madigan let forth with great rage, and I am very much in sympathy with his rage. Many of you will have seen my rage at various times. I thought that when I got older I would get a little bit callused, but when in a nine-day period 200 mining jobs are announced to be gone from North Queensland—that next year 200 jobs will be gone at Mt Isa's CopperString as it closes down and as we cease to mine in Australia and downgrade to a quarry country only—500 jobs gone in Adelaide from the General Motors plant, 1,200 jobs gone in Melbourne at the Ford plant, 500 jobs gone at SPC Ardmona—at the plant itself and amongst the farmers—and another thousand-odd jobs are in jeopardy.

That is just in a nine-day period! Doesn't anyone sort of have a sensitivity towards what we are watching, which is the complete unravelling of the Australian economic fabric as the free-market policies of the ALP and the LNP—

An incident having occurred in the chamber—

Mr KATTER: Can I interrupt for a moment Madam Deputy Speaker? I would prefer people not to be having a telephone conversation while I am trying to address the Parliament of Australia! Possibly, gentlemen, you could go outside?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Grierson ): Thank you, member for Kennedy, for bringing that to my attention.

Mr KATTER: The budget, and let me be positive first, was not entirely bereft of infrastructure—arguably, for the first time in 20 years. The current government—and we have to pay them credit for the NBN, which I have not the slightest doubt that the Liberal Party is intelligent enough, I hope, to continue with as they said they would—has the CopperString project in north-west Queensland. That is the greatest concentration of mineral wealth in the country. There are hundreds of millions of tonnes of iron ore and phosphate, as yet untouched. It has never been touched, in actual fact.

Quite apart from our strength, which is copper, silver, lead and zinc, the CopperString project was to open up the great mineral wealth of the north-west mineral province—the 'Carpentaria mineral province', if you like, because it goes over into the Northern Territory. But in a very enlightened act of the government's vision—and I must pay tribute to the then Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Kevin Rudd; to his vision and his government's vision—they would provide an energy highway throughout Australia, extending the current energy highway into north-west Queensland—it is 1,000 kilometres away from north-west Queensland at the present moment—into the Pilbara, the iron ore region in Western Australia, and into Olympic Dam. This would be a wonderful thing for Australia.

In a most extraordinary piece of mind-numbing stupidity, or of an almost a corrupt influence from the oil and gas companies, the Queensland ALP government refused to go ahead with the CopperString proposal. Even more extraordinary was the incoming government, which describes itself as a 'can-do' government. They most certainly 'can-do' jobs in; they removed 15,000 and have not created one! I thought that if they were in any way positive then the CopperString proposal will get the green light from the incoming LNP government, but it has not.

The $2.5 million for the giant Pentland project will take that power one-third of the way up to north-west Queensland. We do not require money from the government for the project but what we do require from the government is tangible evidence that they are in favour of the project. In my electorate, seven per cent of its water and two per cent of its land mass can feed 60 million people. I am quite staggered by remarks by people like Mr Carr, a minister in this government, that the population of Australia is too large. If there is ever a truism of history, Mr Carr, you should stop reading your Civil War books and read some intelligent books and you would see a consistent pattern of behaviour in world history—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Grierson ): Member for Kennedy, we do refer to members of the parliament and the Senate by their correct title.

Mr KATTER: I do not know his title.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: He is a senator and he is a minister.

Mr KATTER: If Minister Carr gave up reading his Civil War histories and read some books which give a greater purview of the vision of history then he would know that there is a consistent constant in human history: that a people without land will look for a land without people. Even the most casual reading of Mein Kampf,by a certain person in Germany in the 1920s, you will see the German word 'lebensraum' on almost every page—it is very similar to the English words 'living room': 'We want living room. Russia has the land without people and we have the people without land.' There was another country called Japan. Japan wrote a little black book that they gave to all of their southern army—64,000 soldiers—which said,; 'The treasure trove of South-East Asia is held by the Europeans. We shall secure that treasure trove for the betterment of the people of Asia.' It would seem to me that there is a timely resonance for Australia in those remarks. Where you think you can sit on assets that can feed 60 million people and your nearest neighbour has 80 million of their population going to bed hungry every night—and you, with a white faced European descended arrogance can say to them, 'We don't like the way that you process beef, so we are going to cut off your supply of protein.' For an exercise in staggering confrontational arrogance this decision would take a lot of beating. The response from our neighbours was a very Christian response. They are not a Christian country but their response was very Christian. They returned good for evil. We were the source of the evil.

Unfortunately our water comes in a rush in the first three months of the year and then it is gone. So we cannot farm because we cannot access the water. You cannot go farming while your ground is water sodden and by the time that ground dries out there is no water in the river. The people of the world invented a thing called the dam, but we have not built one of those in Australia in nearly 30 years. So we continue on thinking that nothing will change, nothing will happen. Our nearest neighbour has 80 million people going to bed hungry every night and one small electorate in Australia can produce enough food to feed 60 million people just using two per cent of its land mass and seven per cent of its water supply. Those are not figures plucked out of the air; they are the actual figures from the Murray-Darling experience in southern Australia.

There again, we have decided that the world is coming to an end—what is the latest Chicken Little line we get from the ratbag element of society?—and we are all going to die because of global warming. This particular Chicken Little observation has led us to close down 20 per cent of the Murray-Darling. This is actually money expended. We have taken money out of the taxpayer's pocket, spent it on buying water and taken it out of the economies of all those towns. As we talk, there are nearly 200 shops empty in Shepparton, over 83 in Mildura and around 100 in Griffith—all empty. Land prices in Deniliquin have dropped clean in half. The entire economy of the Riverland area of Australia, where nearly 1½ to two million people live, is collapsing. This is not from anything other than the decisions of the Liberal government of Australia and now those of the Labor Party. Not wanting to be left out, they have gone in and taken another 10 per cent. The Liberal Party took 20 per cent and the Labor Party, not wanting to be left out of the destruction, have taken another 10 per cent. Then we have had all of these jobs go in last nine days. If you draw a graph of this, it will show that no motor vehicles will be produced in Australia in nine years time. Since this industry sources steel from Australia, there will eventually be no steel industry in Australia.

Before I sit down, let me say: we thank the government—the energies of the people in my electorate tell me what to do—because we have secured close to $100,000 million for two overpasses for the much-needed approaches to Cairns from Innisfail, Gordonvale and Edmonton. The work on the Cardwell Range will eliminate a very dangerous situation on the Bruce Highway and also cut travelling time by five or 10 minutes—and every five or 10 minutes counts. The completion of the Townville ring-road will ease congestion in Townsville and, of course, will greatly speed things up for people travelling on the Bruce Highway—particularly for people coming in from my area, such as me, and going north. Work will also be done on the Gordonvale Bridge. This is nearly $1 billion worth of work. I must emphasise to people in the western part of my electorate that the federal government gives money for national highways; it does not give money for main roads. So, unfortunately, we dip out on this money. We have got $200 million for part of the National Highway, which goes through Cloncurry, Mount Isa and Camooweal. We deeply appreciate that money, which has come through.

Finally, it is not a good thing that we belong to a vanishing race, but in Australia we are well below zero population growth. So, in 15 years time, there will be more deaths than births in Australia and, as a race of people, we will start to eliminate ourselves from the gene pool. The ALP government and Liberal government both did a lot of good work in coming to grips with this problem, but now they are both retreating from that position. It was divulged this week that it costs $800,000 to raise two children in Australia. If you want to be $1 million worse off then go and have a couple of kids! A lot of our young people say, 'Oh, jeez, we can't afford to start a family this year,' and they put it off and put it off. Marie Claire did a wonderful story on this. Many Australian women put off having children and then it is too late. Only 15 per cent of women do not want to have children, but now nearly 30 per cent are not having children.

Ethanol and the Galilee Basin development are not in this budget, and they should be. (Time expired)