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Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Page: 6182

Mr TUCKEY (8:50 PM) —Although this is not the purpose of my seeking the call tonight, it draws a similar comment—I want to talk about the trend in this House to rely on personal denigration of one’s critics as a defence of one’s personal or administrative failings. I cannot ignore today’s request by the minister for health for leave to make a ministerial statement. Beyond most of her colleagues on the front bench, this minister tends to allocate five per cent of her answers, to questions from either side, to her government’s performance on health services and the remaining 95 per cent to a virulent attack based on her version of the past practices of members of the Howard government. Were I her mentor, I would advise her to return to her office to listen to some of these contributions and suggest she might audition for the position of the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz.

Mr Griffin —Talk about personal denigration!

Mr TUCKEY —Yes, and anybody who listens might agree with me. The real reason for my rising tonight relates to this point, and more particularly to a defence on an issue of great public policy—the resource super profits tax. I well remember the GST debate, which is probably the most significant comparative circumstance over a long period. The responsibility of government is, through the provision of the detail and all the reasons of a practical nature, to convince the Australian people why the circumstances of Australians would be improved by new policy. But, in this debate, certain persons, to whom I wish to refer, have been attacked personally, perhaps because they are just rich. Years and years ago, it was said in comparing the attitude of the people of two nations—and I will not even mention them in this time of correctness—that if one of them saw someone driving past in a Rolls Royce they would say, ‘I’ll get him out of that one day,’ and the other would say, ‘I’ll own one of those one day.’ As far as I am concerned we should look very closely at our billionaires—who they are, what they do and where they got their money.

Three persons in particular get named in this place. Firstly I will deal with the two I have known since they were teenagers: Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart. I knew the parents of both of them. They were pastoralists in the region where I had my hotel. They were not particularly rich and the longer they stayed in their properties as the years went by the less rich they became. They were comfortably well off and, of course, financially better off than many other people. Lang Hancock was a prospector because he wanted to supplement his family income. He found iron ore and then had to fight the Australian government of the time for the purpose of lifting the ban on the export of iron ore. His daughter inherited the wealth he generated from his enterprise—and did she put it in the bank and go to the Riviera? No. She turns up in the office every morning and works nine to five, continuing to risk her inheritance to give people jobs and invest in the mining sector. Andrew Forrest’s first investment, Anaconda Nickel at Murrin Murrin, turned bad on him financially. Did he walk away with what was left? No, he has come back. Clive Palmer was a working man who made a lot of money out of property and reinvested it in mining. He gets laughed at today because he signed some sort of agreement. (Time expired)