Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Page: 254


Mr SNOWDON (Lingiari) (16:50): I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Member for Lingiari moving immediately—That this House condemn the Abbott Government for its failure to take any action to protect jobs at Gove and note the callous disregard for the local community has been reinforced by the Prime Minister’s broken promise to visit in his first week as Prime Minister.

It is very clear; the disregard that this Prime Minister has shown for this community is palpable. We know—this community understands—the failure of this government to recognise its hour of need, the failure of this government to do something reasonable to address their needs, the failure of this government to understand the loss of jobs in this community and the surrounding region, and what this will mean. The government fail to realise what this will mean not only for the community of Gove but for the surrounding region.

I said in an earlier contribution that the population of Nhulunbuy was 4,000 people. The regional population—in an area probably the size of Victoria—is 14,000 people. We know that, as direct result of—

Mr Broadbent: Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. The member for Lingiari should be making the argument as to why standing orders should be suspended. He is not making that argument at all; he is just arguing the same points as those he argued in the previous address. Is he going to draw himself to the attention of the standing orders?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Craig Kelly ): The member for Lingiari must state why standing orders should be suspended.

Mr SNOWDON: It is clear. This House has an obligation to debate and discuss the concerns of the people of Nhulunbuy and the surrounding region. That is why the standing orders need to be suspended. Why did the Leader of the House not allow us to have a matter of public importance debate? We would not have been through this, but he has prevented us from debating the issue. It is extremely important that the House understand the implications of the closure of this refinery for the community of Gove and the surrounding region. We need to suspend standing orders to allow us to debate it properly, to allow the government to respond, to allow us to hear from the government why it is that they do not care about the community of Gove and the surrounding region, to hear from the government why it is that not one of their ministers has bothered to show his or her face in the community of Gove or the region since the announcement was made. This is why we need to suspend standing orders.

Why is it that there is no understanding shown by this government of what the impact will be on services to the community around Nhulunbuy and in Gove itself? We need to understand this. I met some young people at the Nhulunbuy High School last week. We sat and spoke, along with others—with the Leader of the Opposition, with Senator Nova Peris and the local member Lynne Walker. We spoke to years 11 and 12 students about what their prospects are as a result of this closure. They did not know. No-one has been to talk to them. We know that, as a direct result of the closure, the school population will fall from 972 to something like 240. What does that mean for them? They have been given a blatant guarantee by the Northern Territory government that year 12 will go until the end of the year and year 11 likewise, but the teachers have been told that their jobs are guaranteed only until the end of the first semester. What does that tell you? That is why standing orders need to be suspended.

We need to know what this government is thinking. We need to know what answers this government has for the people of Gove and the surrounding communities. We need to know what answers this government has for the kids of Gove—those people, who are our nation's future in that region, are being told by this government that they just do not bloody well care. Well I care, my friends in the Labor Party care, the community cares and I know the people of Australia care. We cannot have this. We cannot have the Prime Minister or anyone else coming into this place and treating the community with such disrespect. It is just not on. As the Prime Minister said—

Mr Pyne: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member for Lingiari, needs to make the terms of the motion known to the government. He needs to present them to the government.

Mr Burke: They are in the hands of the Clerk.

Mr Pyne: They are now after 5½ minutes of debate. The member stood there and tried to stop us from seeing the terms of the motion. If the terms of the motion are in the same terms as the motion moved earlier, that is out of order because the motion cannot be asking for the same thing to occur. I will observe them and meanwhile I move:

That the member be no longer heard.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Craig Kelly ): The question is that the member be no longer heard.