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Wednesday, 23 May 2001
Page: 24245

Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (6:33 PM) —If there is no other senator to speak on the bill, it is incumbent upon me to close the second reading debate. Senator Hill is on his way to the chamber. I think there is general agreement around the chamber that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Bill 2001 is urgent and that it should be dealt with as quickly as possible. Therefore, we would hope to conclude it fairly shortly.

I thank honourable senators for their contributions to the debate. I make the political point that I did listen to Senator McLucas's considered remarks in her second reading contribution and I note that she condemned the government for not spending enough on a range of programs for the environment. I remind her and all honourable senators that this government has committed more money to the environment than any other Australian government in the history of parliament. It is no trick. We committed to spend over $1 billion through the NHT. We have spent it, and we have just recommitted to spend another $1 billion. The interesting thing about the Australian Labor Party is that their environment programs were designed by former Senator Graham Richardson. The programs were designed as tricky, slick deals to get green preferences. They never delivered after the elections. They were an abject failure. All I ask Senator McLucas to do during the committee stage—and I am sure our leader in the Senate and Australia's most successful minister for the environment and one of Australia's longest serving ministers for the environment—

Senator Hill —The longest serving minister.

Senator IAN CAMPBELL —the longest serving minister—is that, if she does not think $400,000 is enough for this program or that, the day after another great coalition budget would be a great day for a Labor spokesman to say how much they will spend on the environment. I call on them during this debate to make a pledge to the Great Barrier Reef and to the environment. If you do not think we are spending enough, make a pledge. Just say, `This is how much we will spend.' It is pretty easy—just say it. I thank senators for their contribution and commend the bill to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.