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Monday, 18 June 2007
Page: 11

Senator JOYCE (1:14 PM) —I would like to make a brief statement. I have stated quite clearly that I fully support the Fishing Party, and they certainly supported my election. I mentioned the word ‘deal’, and here is the deal: I will fight for the rights of commercial and recreational fishermen, for as long as I am in this place, against the blind hand of bureaucracy. There is one thing I can say about the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Bill 2007: it does not go far enough. If there is a trade-off between the economic sustainability of an area—which is provided by fishing and the right of a person to take the kids down to the beach to throw in a line—and an industry created by bureaucracy to examine their navels, I will support the fishermen, the fisherwomen and the people who have created something of significant substance.

To be completely frank, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has walked over the lives of so many people, and it should be brought back under ministerial control. If people are not quite happy with how things are going, they should have the chance to reflect that in the way they vote. Unfortunately I can see that, on this issue, I am to the right of so many of my colleagues and certainly to the right of the Labor Party, the Democrats and the Greens. Nonetheless, these people deserve to be heard. This is bureaucracy gone completely and utterly mad. It has impinged on the lives of people, with 50 per cent of the reef being unable to be accessed for commercial fishing and 33 per cent being unable to be accessed for any fishing whatsoever. Fishing is a renewable resource, and this is the methodology we are using. When we bring in, for example, tree-clearing guidelines and affect the lives of farmers—when we bring in arbitrary laws from on high, made by people who are really not connected to the industry themselves—you get bad government and bad decisions. And this is what has happened here. That is the statement I would like to make. Quite honestly, all I can say is thank God for Senator Ron Boswell and Senator Nigel Scullion. Through this debate, they are the two people who have made the most sense.