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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 611


Mr RANDALL (Canning) (18:21): I stand here as a member of this House, honoured to serve the electorate of Canning for the fifth time. I do consider it an honour. I never take it for granted. It is a privilege to serve in this place and to do it for the fifth time in the seat of Canning is something that I am particularly proud of because I am now the longest-serving member for Canning since it was created in 1949. This was not done just because I am the member; this was done because we had a magnificent team result in the election campaign, which I will refer to as I go on.

On 7 September last year we were ready to fight the campaign. And, as most people in this House would know, we were ready to fight that campaign probably for the three years beforehand, because we had a pretty dysfunctional hung parliament—which I will also refer to as I go on. I say at the outset that the Labor candidate, Joanne Dean, was somebody who I never met during the campaign. I want to pay tribute to all those people who ran in the campaign. Like the member for Throsby, my campaign was a good, clean campaign. Everyone who was involved as a candidate essentially got along. There were seven or more local people as candidates in this campaign; people like Derek Bruning for the Australian Christians and Wendy Lamotte, who ran for the Palmer United Party. One who was not a local was Richard Eldridge, who ran for Katter's Australian Party. This Richard Eldridge was a former member of the Liberal Party in the seat of Swan, so he was obviously seduced by Bob Katter. It is a pity that Katter's Australian Party crashed and burned during that election, with the member for the seat of Kennedy only recording 23 per cent of the primary vote. So much for the impact of Katter's Australian Party. We had Alice Harper for the Family First Party and Damon Pages-Oliver for the Greens. He is a local social worker, and does a great job in the community. And there were a couple of others, as I said, who filled some of the minor positions.

I was lucky enough to draw No. 1 on the ticket, which some people say is worth somewhere between one and two per cent. So that puts in context the election I ran in before against the now member for Perth, who championed a great result, because in my last three election campaigns in Canning my Labor opponent drew No. 1 all three times. Previously, when I drew No. 1 on the ticket I was the member for Swan and I lost my seat in the election, so I was a bit superstitious about drawing No. 1 on the ticket. But on this occasion I was pretty happy because we went from a margin of 2.2 per cent in this election to 11.8 per cent. I was very happy with the result—quite an outstanding result in terms of the overall swing, which was one of the highest for a sitting member in Australia.

In analysing the results, I was very pleased to see as well that I was able to gain 51.07 per cent of the primary vote, which meant we did not have to go to preferences. Some other interesting nuances that I would like to allude to before I go into some of the other details of this election campaign were that the Labor Party's vote actually collapsed; it went backwards by 13.71 per cent. On the night of the election, the Greens were actually polling behind the Palmer United Party. They snuck ahead with preferences as the vote count continued, but it just shows you, Mr Deputy President—and I find it passing strange—that a Gold Coast billionaire, spending millions on an election, could attract the attention of my hardworking blue-collar people in the state seat of Armadale, for example.

I am still amazed at this fascination of the people in a hard, tough area like Armadale, where they are essentially blue-collar wage earners—and that they are being seduced and attracted by somebody who was going to build the Titanic. I suppose it was about increasing pensions by 25 per cent and all the money he was going to give away because he was going to be the Australian Prime Minister. But at the end of the day they had a good result and, as we know, they had a good result nationally in the Senate vote.

Another interesting detail that I wish to allude to is that since becoming the member for Canning—and I will only go back to 2004—the Senate vote in Canning was 52.91 per cent in 2004, in 2007 it was 47.56 per cent, in 2010 it was 42.48 per cent and in 2013, even with that result, it was 38.11 per cent. That is interesting, because the primary vote of the Liberal Party had increased significantly in the case of Canning. In the seat of the member for Brand, Gary Gray, the Liberal vote was 31.94 per cent. If you follow that through there are some interesting Senate ramifications, particularly as we look at the new Senate election in Western Australia. People like Bob Baldwin, the member for Paterson, have a similar case. He has a good, strong primary vote but his seat's Senate vote is a little less than desirable.

But, as I said, we ran a strong grassroots campaign—as we have always done. Nothing can beat doorknocking. People want to meet the candidate; they want to meet the person. It does not cost you anything to get out there and shake hands with the people who you want to represent. They want to know who you are; they do not want to see somebody else from your team walking up and down the street and shaking hands. They want to meet the candidate. I think people are quite cynical when people do not do that. We had street stalls and we met people at shopping centres.

I had a magnificent staff. I have always been fortunate enough to have good staff in my office. That has been my strength—not me, Don Randall; I am not the hero of these election results, because Canning really is not a Liberal seat. To give you the context of that, Mr Deputy Speaker, the largest population base in the electorate is around the state seat of Armadale. The sitting member in the state seat of Armadale, Tony Buti, won most of the polling booths. Yet at this current federal election, I won all of the polling booths in the state seat of Armadale. There are 12 polling booths that represent the federal seat of Canning in that state seat of Armadale and I won them all—except one, which we missed by four votes. But, in saying that, we had something like an 11.6 per cent swing in that seat. So right across Canning we won every polling booth. And when you look at some of the demographics around Canning, there are some pretty tough areas. In Coodanup around Mandurah and some of the areas nearby there are a lot of issues, but people want the member to represent them not only on their local issues but on the issues that come to the parliament.

I hear those on the other side say—and I am sure we will hear it again shortly—that they stand by their commitment to the carbon tax. I have to tell the parliament that the electorate does not. When we have another Senate election in Western Australia shortly we will remind the people that there is a party on the other side of this House that still wants to slug them $23 a tonne through a carbon tax.

The people also want to know why Western Australia has been targeted with the mining tax. It had many incarnations and was going to collect billions of dollars but did not collect the money. When the mining tax is combined with the carbon tax it is an albatross around the neck of development in Western Australia. There is no other spin anyone on the other side can use. 'There is a downturn in the resources sector'—yes, there is all that sort of stuff, but at the end of the day a whole lot of mines are not going ahead or expanding because of the high cost of labour and the high costs of doing business in Australia due to things like the mining tax and industrial relations, which we know those on the other side are wedded to because their union mates put them in this place and fund their campaigns. We heard a bit about that today in relation to Dobell.

In addition to that, when walking down the street people asked me: 'Can you people really stop these boats? If you become the government, can you guarantee that you will stop the boats turning up?' It has been 67 days since the last boat. At the same time last year when the Labor Party were in charge there were 30 or more boats with close to 1,500 people on those boats and people had died at sea. If that is the way you want to conduct your migration system and border security in this country, the public do not want it. This will be another thing that we will remind people of in the Senate election in Western Australia.

I also used to be stopped in the street by people saying, 'We are sick and tired of the way this parliament is running.' I used to go to schools and had to apologise to the children when I addressed them in their politics classes, more generally at meetings or with their parents. The parliament had become dysfunctional. The 43rd Parliament had become highly dysfunctional and it was not a good look. In the 42nd Parliament we had the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd incarnations. My room in this house is next to the government party room and I used to see them coming and going all of the time. It was a charade. There were cameras and that corridor was locked up with journalists wanting to see the next dysfunctional charade going on when the Labor Party were in government.

People had had enough. They were embarrassed. People would say that when they went overseas they were embarrassed by the way the Australian parliament was being run. The other side would say to us, 'Yes, but look at all of the legislation we passed.' A lot of that legislation was ethereal. Where was the money coming from in relation to the NDIS and Gonski? For example, Western Australia did not even get a trial for the NDIS out of the previous government. There is no money to roll it out, despite what the poor deceived parents of disabled children think. We have not even got an NDIS trial in Western Australia.

There was less money in Gonski in the early years than later on. So it was to be two parliaments later from when the now opposition promised the money would be delivered; it was going to be six years later. As you know, the chances of them making it six years later were very ordinary. So at the end of the day this was a dysfunctional parliament.

We had the case of the hung parliament being run by the crossbenchers here. You expected the Green to get into bed with the Labor Party and form a coalition. Bob Brown met with Julia Gillard all of the time and discussed tactics. Bob Katter was not quite sure which side he was on half of the time. We had the two smarmy Independents from north New South Wales. The then member for Lyne took 17 minutes to tell us he was going to vote with the Labor Party. It was all about the money for him. He wanted to be the Speaker. He wanted to be a minister in the Labor government. Eventually the fallback position was they gave him a heap of committees. What do these committees pay? The ones he was on gave him $20,000 to $23,000 extra and that fed into his superannuation. He was being drip-fed all the time to support the Labor Party in this place.

You would see the charade every now and again on a few procedural issues. When it looked like his vote would not count, they would sit there watching each other to see how they were going to vote so there was always one extra vote. People did not miss this. People rang me up all the time asking how they could get the phone number of that smarmy bloke in Lyne, Mr Oakeshott. I gave it to them and said, 'Ring him up and tell him.'

Then we had the member for New England, who was part of this cabal of supporting this dysfunctional Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government. His whole reason for being here in the last parliament was to square up with his enemies in the National Party. He spent the whole time trying to take out the people he had had a beef with for years and years in the National Party. That was the way this parliament was being run. It was an absolute disgrace.

In the last few moments I want to say that we promised the electorate of Canning a number of things. We promised that we would give $10 million for the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre redevelopment. It is a vast vital piece of community infrastructure in this area. We are going to do this because the Prime Minister has always said that we are going to deliver on our commitments. The Peel-Harvey catchment is to be recognised as its own natural resource management region. The Minister for the Environment, Mr Greg Hunt, is already delivering funding towards that to start on 1 July this year.

There is more than $360,000 for the Pinjarra Bowls Club upgrade. We promised that when we were the government. When we did not become the government, the Labor Party took six years to even deliver one project under the RDA and this was their one project. Brand got plenty but Canning got nothing. We said we would match their funding because it has always been one of our priorities. There is the Plan for Safer Streets in Armadale and Mandurah. Armadale will receive $170,000 for CCTV systems and support for help with crime. Mandurah will get $250,000 funding for crime prevention infrastructure under our safer streets program.

We are going to reintroduce the Green Army because those opposite got rid of the Green Corps. All those young kids who were being trained in jobs—we have one of the highest youth unemployment statistics in Australia, in Mandurah in particular—and they took away a good environmental training initiative like Green Corps. And they took away Work for the Dole. Then they combined the two and bastardised the whole thing by putting together Green Corps and the long-term unemployed, which basically wrecked the whole system, and then they just walked away from it.

But we are re-establishing all of that. We are going to have the Darling Downs Equestrian Estate and Birriga Brook freed up, Peel-Harvey catchment council will get the Len Howard park in Erskine done, and Boddington is going to get money to fix the community resource centre. We are going to give money to the Mandurah Migrant Centre to help people like Cathy Bickell who are doing such a great job in helping a lot of people who have arrived on visas and who are stranded down in the regional areas. There are also grants for Mandurah and Port Bouvard surf lifesaving clubs to help them purchase equipment and first aid and medical supplies. And we will be helping families by building a stronger economy, taking away the carbon tax et cetera.

You have heard the minister in this place talking about the NBN. As I was doorknocking streets around Mandurah, I was near the telephone exchange. The people in the same street as the telephone exchange were telling me they were not connected to the NBN even though it had gone past their houses. What a joke. Here they were, they had signs everywhere saying: 'The NBN's coming.' Then they smashed up all the asbestos boxes and they had to stop work because there was asbestos flying around by the lawnmower contractors.

I want to thank a lot of people very quickly. I want to thank Caroline Boyer in my office. She did a great job of helping to lead the team. I want to thank Dave De Garis, an outstanding young man who is going to go places. I want to thank Tess and I want to thank Eilidh. Nicole did a fantastic job. She is now working where she should be and increasing her professional career. There are people like Tegan. We had a great team. The Canning division gave us great support. I thank all of those people who worked for me on polling day, and worked well before polling day, like Lyn Pushong at the Greenfields centre. We had a great result on the pre-poll there, but it took hours and hours and hours and, being a dual poll with Brand, it was pretty hectic. She did a fantastic job.

I want to thank all of those people who financially supported us by coming to functions as well as those people who sent $5 and $10 to us to help with the campaign. They wanted to get rid of the terrible Labor government that was taking Australia backwards, the government that had gone into office with no debt, with money in the bank, that suddenly ratcheted up debt. It has put us into debt and created uncertainty in the community. It ruined a migration system that was working. They wanted to get rid of those people, so they were willing to give us money and give us their time.

I want to thank the local Ford dealer who allowed me access to his vehicle to tow my great big sign around everywhere. The old-fashioned stuff about putting signs and placards out still works. All the fancy electronic stuff like Facebook and Twitter—that is probably the new way of winning a seat. So the next member for Canning—may that be well into the future—will probably win his seat by being on social media. But the old-fashioned way of getting out there, shaking hands, putting up a placard and telling people who you are, and listening to them, still works. My motto is: you talk, I listen. And I do, because I am interested in what my people have to say. I do not always agree with them and I cannot always deliver for them, but I am interested in listening to what they have to say. That is why we come to this place: to represent the people in our electorates. There is a pretty cynical view about politics in this country—that is, politicians are here just for themselves. If we are here for the people, they will continue to give us the benefit of the doubt and give us the strong result that we got in Canning. (Time expired)