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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 2144

Mr DUTTON (7:45 PM) —Unemployment in Dickson has dropped to a record low of 3.2 per cent, interest rates are at 30-year lows and under this government the average mortgage is $960 per month less than what families were paying when Labor were last in power. Business overdraft rates have been halved, and inflation is half what it was under Labor. All the while, the Australian economy continues to grow stronger. All of these points remind us how successful the Howard government has been at managing the Australian economy when other Western countries have gone through economic downturns and recessions.

Australians understand that this success would be in grave danger if the Labor Party were elected at the upcoming election. It would be bad enough for this country to have Mark Latham as Prime Minister and Simon Crean as Treasurer, but when you look a little further at the possible ministry, you can start to develop an understanding of just how dangerous a Labor government under Mark Latham would be for the future of this country. Not one of them has ever worked in a small business.

Let me give one example: the shadow minister for workplace relations and for the public service, the member for Rankin. We have heard a great deal about the Labor Party's plans for small business in this country. They intend to give unions open access to workplaces. They intend to levy a federal payroll tax. According to the Business Council of Australia, the ALP's rollback of industrial relations reforms would kill off 100,000 jobs. So I was not surprised to learn today about a con job that will take place on 20 August—Friday week. If you have $110 to spare and you want to witness a case study in hypocrisy and cronyism then head along to Rydges Lakeside Hotel for a speech entitled `A truly independent public service'. Why would a speech with this title be a lesson in hypocrisy? It is because it is being delivered by the member for Rankin, Craig Emerson. Anyone who knows anything about the member for Rankin's employment history would be rolling in the aisles to learn that he is advocating a `truly independent public service'. In 1990, Craig Emerson was parachuted from Bob Hawke's personal office into a $100,000-a-year job as Director-General of the Department of Environment and Heritage in the Queensland Public Service under the Goss government.

In that time this `model' independent public servant ran as a Labor candidate for the federal seats of Longman and Forde. He wrote a booklet entitled Twenty Twenty Vision: Australia's Future, which was published in 1998, coincidentally the same year he entered parliament. The problem is that he used his `independent' Public Service resources to produce the book. Although he was cleared by the Criminal Justice Commission of any criminal offence, he was forced to make a repayment for government resources that he had misappropriated.

But it does not stop there. This booklet, a series of essays, strongly features Labor luminaries such as Bob Hawke and Wayne Goss. It resulted from a series of so-called non-political forums with various speakers. The first speaker was Bob Hawke—independent indeed; the second speaker was Wayne Goss—truly beyond reproach. The acknowledgements in the book read like a who's who of the Labor family in Queensland. There is a special mention of Glyn Davis, another Queensland Labor favourite. Mr Emerson advertised his own government office telephone number—

The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Dickson will refer to members of the chamber by their constituency.

Mr DUTTON —as a contact point for people to ring up and purchase tickets to attend this `non-political forum'. Subsequent to the parliamentary scrutiny, the CJC investigated the matter and wrote to Mr Doug Slack MLA, the then member for Burnett. The problem for the member for Rankin is that he clearly breached the code in his pursuit of political office. But it does not stop there. The plot thickens. The CJC's letter to Mr Slack also said that the Director-General of the Cabinet Office was apprised of the situation. Who was that? It was none other than the member for Griffith, Kevin Rudd—better known by the Leader of the Opposition as `Knucklehead'. It was old Knucklehead himself. This is what makes a joke of the launch earlier this week of Labor's proposals for the Public Service. The member for Rankin said that he wants to introduce honesty and integrity into the Public Service. What a hypocrite! This is the man who used his public service to further his own political career and to plant cronies of the ALP right through the Public Service in Queensland. The Labor party are owned and operated by the union movement. They cannot help but put their crony mates into positions of power. (Time expired)