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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3427


Mr COULTON (ParkesThe Nationals Chief Whip) (15:51): I speak today on this matter of public importance, which I think is about pots calling kettles black or great cases of irony in parliament. This is one. I follow the member for Rankin, and I suppose I can be grateful for one thing—that, unlike his predecessor, he is not going to burst into song. We are being lectured here by members of the opposition about the government making the right choices. This is the party that gave us a carbon tax that went through to the power points of every home and every business in Australia. This is the government that gave us a carbon tax that means that the pensioners in my electorate now in wintertime stay in bed all day because they cannot turn on their heaters. This is the party that organised a mining tax that generated no income and then spent the income it did not generate and plunged the economy further into debt. This is the party that, in 2008, changed the border protection policy.

I can remember sitting here in 2008—as is my lot in life I was probably sitting in this very spot in 2008; I have not gone very far—and listening to the speeches from the then government side talking about how it was changing the way that we were going to handle illegal migrants. Since that time, we have had over 1,000 deaths and 50,000 people turn up unannounced on our doors. I can still remember that day. There are some days that are imprinted in my memory. That was the day that the government changed a policy that worked into a policy that was a disaster, with the amount of grief, heartache, anxiety and pain that it caused. This is the party that is trying to lecture this government about the right choices.

We have made some strong choices in the last six or so months. Despite the fact that we are getting opposition in the Senate, we have made the choice to scrap the world's biggest carbon tax. We are scrapping the mining tax and we are fixing the budget, which was in an endless spiral downhill. We are going to make the tough decisions that are needed to get this country back on track. This, indeed, is a daunting task, but it is one that we are up for. Our Prime Minister has shown incredible leadership. He has not chosen to take the populist path of the three previous prime ministers; he has shown strong leadership, he has shown restraint, he has shown dignity and he has shown that, indeed, he is a statesman in guiding this country back on track.

In a bit over a week's time, the people of Western Australia have to make a choice. They have to make a choice in their half-Senate election as to whether they want to support the chaos that is the opposition side. Will they support the candidates from this little fairyland that sits up behind me? Will they support the candidate from the Palmer United Party? Clive Palmer has shown that he is the biggest distraction in Canberra but is completely irrelevant to what goes on in this place. The people in Western Australia have a choice to make. Do they want stable government? Do they want a Senate that is going to scrap the carbon tax and scrap the mining tax? Supporting the Roads to Recovery program would be a nice start from those opposite. Are we going to get a Senate on 1 July with Western Australian senators that can actually govern for the country and not for some ginger group, as we are seeing?

I suggest that the people in Western Australia should look at the coalition ticket—at the Liberal ticket and, particularly, at the National ticket. If they want to vote for the National Party, they should think of Shane Van Styn. Shane Van Styn would be a wonderful advocate for Western Australia in this place. Shane Van Styn will not be playing stunts out on the front lawn with these people behind me. Shane Van Styn will not be bound to the ginger groups from the left, as the opposition is. Shane Van Styn will bring strong representation from the west and get our country back on track.