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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3335

Ms HALL (ShortlandGovernment Whip) (20:26): I rise to speak to the motion. The motion we have before us today is nothing but a political stunt. It is not about wild rivers. It is not about the motion whatsoever. And the contribution from the previous speaker showed to me that he had not read the motion. He said 'we have got one chance' to vote for and get this wild rivers bill through the parliament. Well, could I tell the member for Bowman: this is the third version of the wild rivers bill that the opposition has introduced between the House and the Senate. They could not get it right. The problem is that they have been unable to get their legislation right. Three different versions, each with different contents, and each with different clauses. One chance? Well, I think there have been three chances and I am still not convinced that they have it right.

The motion we are looking at tonight talks about delays in consideration of the wild rivers legislation. I put to the House that a considerable amount of delay has been caused by the opposition's ineptitude—the fact that they cannot get it right. The Leader of the Opposition is the person who sponsored this legislation that has been put to the parliament and which has been sent off to committees, because it really does need to be looked at. Any legislation that is obviously so inept and has needed to have so many changes obviously needs the highest level of scrutiny, and I have little confidence that the ad hoc changes that have been made along the way in this bill will actually fix it up. It is right that it be looked at by the committee.

The latest—and I emphasise 'latest'—bill was referred by the parliament to the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs for consideration. The committee has not yet reported on the bill and it is not appropriate for the Leader of the Opposition to try to force this bill to a vote. He is trying to circumvent the process that has been put in place.

I might just share with the House, as a member of the Selection Committee, that members of the opposition constantly refer legislation to committees, and I am quite convinced that they do not even know why they are referring the legislation. I think that they just do it to delay legislation passing through the parliament. One piece of legislation that was referred to the Economics Committee and reported in this House was the mid-term budget appropriations legislation. If there is any legislation that is really examined carefully before it is put to the parliament it is that legislation.

This is all about playing politics—playing politics with Indigenous Australians. This is not about improving the lives of Indigenous Australians in Queensland; this is about playing politics with the lives of those Indigenous Australians in Queensland. This bill seeks to overturn the Queensland wild rivers regime and is pure politics—politics, politics, politics. We got an insight into those politics when we heard the member for Bowman talking about the Queensland election; the Queensland election is why we are debating this tonight in the parliament. This is bad legislation that has been poorly thought through. It has been sent to committees—and, I might add, three separate pieces of legislation have been sent to committees—because the Leader of the Opposition could not get it right. Well, if the Leader of the Opposition cannot get it right, that shows you the strength of those sitting on the other side of the parliament. This motion deserves to be thrown out of the parliament. It does not even deserve to be considered. I in no way support this legislation. (Time expired)