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Thursday, 23 August 2012
Page: 6247


Senator JOYCE (QueenslandLeader of The Nationals in the Senate) (13:35): The Maritime Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 is a non-controversial bill. It prevents pollution at sea. Obviously it is an issue a lot of Australian ships do not have to worry about because they are already compliant within these regulations. The legislation is to stop people pouring sewage, garbage and other filth into the ocean. I think it stands to reason. The amendments within the bill go to the 1983 act and will activate amendments to three annexes to the international convention, better known as MARPOL. It clarifies the roll-back provisions, which define areas of the ocean over which each level of government has responsibility. It abolishes the stevedoring levy, which had ceased to operate since May 2006—a legacy of the 1988 waterfront dispute.

It is interesting to be talking about travel by sea because there has been a big issue lately in regard to the movement of people by sea, especially the asylum seeker/refugee issue. It is also interesting to note that today Mr Clive Palmer will no longer be pursuing a career in politics because he does not agree with the coalition's position on asylum seekers. However, this is not the position of the Labor Left; they agree with the former Howard government's position on asylum seekers. They are strongly in support of it—supported by such people as Senator Wong, Senator Evans, Senator Cameron and Senator Marshall.

They were obviously strongly in support of a position that Clive Palmer cannot support. Politics is an interesting thing when the Labor Left find it within their power to support a position that, to be honest, we could not possibly have got through our own side of politics.

We would not have been able to get through a position that could bang people up for 10 years, or an indeterminate time. I could not have done that, so I want to congratulate you that you were able to do it. I do not know how you did it. In fact, it was such an onerous position that Clive Palmer gave up politics because of that position. But it is something that the Labor Left believe in. That is very interesting. I think there needs to be a big congratulatory message to you, Senator Conroy, for your work in the Labor Right managing to completely and utterly walk over the doormat otherwise known as the Labor Left. I think you are to be commended. You have done an excellent job.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Stephens ): Order! Senator Joyce, can I bring you back to the legislation that is before us.

Senator JOYCE: Yes, thank you very much, Madam Acting Deputy President. I note the legislation is about ships and boats that come by sea. We should note that they are trying to stop pollution and the Labor Left have managed to stop the sewage and the rubbish that would come on boats from Indonesia, because they do not believe in it. The Labor Left believe that they should be locked up and never let out. What I like about the Labor Left is that you can always rely on them if you lose your doormat: they will be around somewhere. And I can always rely on Senator Conroy to walk over them. That is what is so good about them. I can always rely on the Labor Right to walk straight over the Labor Left, because that is what the Labor Left is there for.

It is surprising that even Clive Palmer could not get himself to that position, but the Labor Left did. Only the Labor Left could endorse the Howard position in the way they did. The Labor Left are to be commended for their strong support of John Howard's position. I think the Labor Left are to be commended on managing to get through—especially with the intense lobbying work by Senator Wong, Senator Carr and Senator Evans—a position where people can be locked up for an indeterminate period of time. That is incredible, something we on our side of politics could not possibly have done. But they managed to do it, and they are to be commended—especially the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister is definitely to be congratulated, because everybody deserves an epiphany. I am not suggesting for one moment that the Prime Minister is not consistent. I am not suggesting for one moment that you could doubt her word. Not for one moment would I suggest that she might have said sometime in the past that she did not agree with this position, but then she took that position to the election. I would not suggest for one moment that she completely backflipped on the position that she took to the Australian people at the last election, this time on boatpeople. I would not suggest that for a moment, because she is such a consistent person. She is totally reliable, totally trustworthy. Everything about her is completely and utterly trustworthy!

I would like to thank the Labor Left for their consistency, because they are the stalwarts! They are strong and they stand up for what they believe in. If anybody is going to stop sewage and rubbish from being thrown into the sea by boats coming from Indonesia, it is the Labor Left. They will do that and I would like to thank Senator Conroy for his ability to walk right over the Labor Left. I want to thank him for his strong position. I would like to thank the Labor Party for the fact that the show is now run by Senator Conroy. I would also like to thank Senator Evans for stepping aside. I would especially like to thank Senator Kim Carr. He might look a bit abrupt in a three-piece suit and a big beard. But he is not—he is a softy and he likes to step aside. He likes to step aside when he is asked to. He likes to lie down on the ground and he likes to have the word 'welcome' written on his back, so everybody can wander across as they endorse the Howard government's position of not letting these people in.

Senator Bernardi and I know we could not possibly have got a decision through to bang people up for an indeterminate period of time on Nauru and Manus Island. We tried, but never could get there. We could not get it through. I do not know why—it was something to do with a conscience and they did not want it. I do not know what happened, but Labor Left did it. They managed to get them banged up and they did an excellent job. They are to be congratulated.

Senator Carol Brown definitely does not want any sewage or rubbish being thrown into the sea by these boats coming to Australia. She wants them stopped. She said, 'Lock them up and throw away the key.' She supports that position. Senator Louise Pratt said: 'I am not having a bar of it. These people are going straight to Nauru. Do not pass go.' That is what I like about Senator Louise Pratt. You can rely on her to be tough and to stand up. And that is what I like about Senator Douglas Cameron. He is a man of exceptional character, because we tried to get Howard's policies in place but we could not. But Senator Douglas Cameron could. He managed to get them in, and I thought all this time that what he was saying at the front door was his position, that he did not want them to go to Nauru. I was so misled! I did not realise that his position actually was that he wanted them—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Joyce, can I call you to order again and ask you to be relevant to the legislation. What you have been discussing has nothing to do with the legislation.

Senator JOYCE: It is about maritime stuff.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: That is a very, very long bow.

Senator JOYCE: I understand exactly what you are saying, Madam Acting Deputy President, and as Daniel came to judgement I should clearly spell out what the relationship is. This is about not having sewage, garbage and pollution from ships. Of course, if we are talking about ships, we are talking about boats. If we are talking about ships and boats, we are talking about ships and boats that may or may not be carrying refugees coming from Indonesia and trying to get into Australia. We do not want any sewage or rubbish to be thrown off these boats. It is also important to say what things have changed in maritime policy lately. The big one is that the Labor Left have decided that people can get banged up for ever.

Let us talk about another lot of ships and boats that the Labor Party in general have stopped. These are boats carrying produce from Australia—they do not believe in them either. They are excessively bad. What they do in that instance is create a whole heap of impost and caveats—the carbon tax, the mining tax, excessive and onerous nuances from the EPBC Act and these actually stop us from mining, and so we stop those boats as well.

This is a vastly indirect but extremely efficient way to stop any garbage and sewage coming off ships—you just stop the ships! If you stop the ships you do not have to worry about garbage or sewage. You do not have to worry about making any money—you go broke. We are seeing signs of this all around: the $20 million worth of port extensions in Western Australia have been canned; Olympic Dam has been canned; Dysart has been canned; and the Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, Martin Ferguson, is now saying the mining boom is over.

Now, Senator Wong is another strong person. She stood up and made sure those people could get locked up in Nauru and Manus Island. She especially needs to be congratulated. A special garland of flowers is to be thrown at her feet for the work she has done to implement the Howard government's policy. She needs a special thank you. She also needs to be thanked for the work that has been done in stopping these other ships coming in or going out. There is no doubt that when it comes to maritime shipping policy in the Labor Party they do not believe in ships coming or going—they just believe that if we can shut everything down we will somehow survive as an economy.

It is very important that when we are looking at this bill we understand that it is all part and parcel of trying to clean things up. We do not want any mess. We do not want any pollution or sewage, and we need to be compliant in making sure that the oceans and the seas are clean. The best way to clean things up is to stop ships being on the seas entirely, and the way you do that is to make it completely impossible for us to export, and completely unviable for industry and for commodities such as iron ore and coal to operate in Australia. Stop them and you can stop the ships—no more sewage, no more ships! It all makes sense! Of course, if you want to stop them from the other direction you reintroduce the Howard policies—that stops the refugee boats coming in and it is working well.

So Labor is stopping ships in both directions and it is doing a fine job of cleaning up the sea. Unfortunately, the ramifications are that has shown that the Labor Left is basically soulless and has no philosophical purpose anymore—

Senator Conroy: You mean Richard Torbay, don't you?

Senator JOYCE: Senator Conroy is to be congratulated on his factional alliance with Senator Carr and for the marvellous work that Senator Conroy has done in managing to walk over the Labor Left, to walk onto the Labor Left, and to jump up and down on the Labor Left. He is to be congratulated for it. It is an inspiration. These jelly-backed lefties must be stopped! And thank goodness that we have Senator Conroy here because we could not have possibly got that through our side of parliament—he seems to do it with consummate ease, and he is to be congratulated for being tough. May they all polish his boots—the ones that go all the way up to the knees. Senator Conroy has done an exceptionally good job at walking completely and utterly over his colleagues. The good thing is, they seem to be happy about it; they feel comfortable.

Senator Bernardi: Robert Ray would be proud.

Senator JOYCE: Yes, Robert Ray would be proud of the work that has been done. Sooner or later we will all be able to go around to have a drink and maybe have a wake—they probably have herbal tea, or something—and it will be the final burying of the Labor Left by the Labor Right. Let us commend Senator Conroy for the work he has done.

It is very important that we maintain our capacity to stop the ships coming in—which the Labor Left has done by reintroducing the Howard government's policies. They are to be commended for that. We now have the Labor Right and the Labor Left working together as a team to stop the ships going out. We can stop the ships going out by introducing ridiculous policies such as the mining tax and the carbon tax. We can see the effects of those happening right now, whether we like it or not. As if one would suggest for one second that a new tax is not a consideration as to whether a person makes a decision to invest in this country! You would have to be completely and utterly out of your tree to think that with a tax that can vary between $23 and $350 anyone would come and invest—and, of course, they are not! How, after Labor has cleaned up the sea, they are going to clean up their debt I am not quite sure—

Senator Conroy: Gross debt or net debt?

Senator JOYCE: It's both, and they are both getting bigger. When the debt could really go through the roof is if you were wacky enough to try to build yourselves another telephone company. It can only bring on—what was it?—six clients a week! A $60 billion investment and six clients a week! What a return! What a genius! What a financial wizard!

Every time I think of Senator Conroy I remember that wonderful picture where he had all the optic fibres festooned all over him, walking around like a Christmas decoration on the front of one of those magazines. The day that Senator Conroy looks like a Christmas decoration—that is how we will remember him. That is the sort of acumen that we can talk about.

I commend this bill for cleaning up the sea, and I commend the people who have done such an exceptional job of cleaning it up thus far by stopping the ships both coming in and going out!