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Interview with Senator Concetta Fierravanti-W -

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(generated from captions) South Wales Liberal Senator, Well now to Wollongong-based New joins us in our Illawarra studio. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who

Welcome to State Focus. Hello. Democrats campaign against a Is the combined Labor, Greens and time, as it's not likely to happen Coalition senate majority a waste of post-election anyway? very hard. Look I think they're trying very, last election, the Coalition I mean, the reality is that at the senate and that was when one looks received a majority vote in the did receive - it was a conscious at the increase in the vote that we

to give us a majority in the senate. decision by the Australian public make is: that's not likely to happen But I guess the point I'm trying to Well it's really a matter... again, is it?

in the first place. It's pretty rare that that happened Australian people.'s really a matter for the constitution - it basically says I mean when one looks, Guy, at the that senators shall be elected. whether they be blue, pink, green It doesn't say what colour they be, or red. Australian people and in the past, The reality is, it's a matter for to give governments majority in the the Australian people have seen fit senate to give go operates that doesn't happen very Because of the way the senate has happened in the past and you often, but the reality is that it government has held the majority in have had occasions where one that has happened rarely - not the senate, it's been a situation there are provisions for it to often - but it does happen and happen... there Yeah. governments in succession where it's Because we've had a whole lot of been minorities, haven't we? had a Liberal Coalition minority for We've had a Labor minority there, we a while. - as I said, it is up to the Well it is a feature, I mean that's they saw fit to do at the last Australia people and that's what election. infer that that is wrong - and that And can I just say, to somehow

the Greens and their fringe really seemed to be gist of what somehow inferring that this is left-wing groups are doing - is bring this back to a control by a wrong, and that somehow we need to have to say in the case of the minority group of people, which I group Greens - i Greens - is a very extreme minority has to be a house of review rather But don't you agree that the senate than a rubber stamping process? It would ideally operate that way. review when indeed the Australian Well it has always been a house of houses of review in the democratic Senate is one of the most powerful successfully functioned as a house world, and indeed it has of review. is perhaps not well-known amongst A lot of the work that senate does work that it does is in its the Australian public, a lot of the legislation. committee work, in its review of

had the majority in the senate, we And can I say that since we have and a very effective senate, where have maintained a very efficient legislation, we have had bills we have had good scrutiny of record number of questions being referred to committees, we've had had the continuation of a very asked in question time, and we've

effective senate estimates review. Alright. We are running out of time, but just a couple of quick points to make: first of all, every general election that we have - federal election - is always a half senate election. So this time, you're not changed, you stay there for another 3 years? Yes. So how do you think you'll go if there's a considerably reduced Coalition membership in the senate? Well as we have functioned in the past, I mean let's not forget

before 2005, the Howard government did not have a majority in the senate. Certainly there were occasions where our legislation was obstructed, one only has to look at the Unfair Dismissal Legislation, which was rejected 40 times. Governments have functioned in the past without control of the senate and I'm sure that that will continue.

We have negotiated amendments in the past and I'm sure that - just as we have before 2005, if that control of the senate is no longer there - we will continue to effectively govern as we have in the past. Okay, just one quick thing: you're Illawarra based - Wollongong based - New South Wales Liberal senator, what are some of the things you'll be keeping an eye on for the Illawarra in the years ahead? Well can I say that Howard government has well and truly

delivered billions of dollars worth of funding for the Illawarra, and I'm sure that the strong economy that we have had - and in the end it does come down to a strong economy - when you do have a strong economy, you can deliver on important initiatives. Here in the Illawarra we've seen many important record funding to the university, a new technical college of almost 20 million dollars, 5 million dollars Port Kembla Industry Fund, record

investing in our schools - almost 9 million dollars. Many, many small and large initiatives which have been given to the Illawarra as a consequence of that dividend of good economic management. Alright, that's where we have to leave it. Thank you very much for coming in to talk to us today. Thank you. Okay, thank you. That's Wollongong-based New South Wales Liberal Senator, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, joining us in our Illawarra studio.