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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Page: 5776

Senator ROBERTS (Queensland) (11:50): As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I want to speak because, although the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Bill 2017 is a simple bill, I must address, as Senator Macdonald has, some of the lies and falsities peddled before. It seems that whenever we hear the three words 'Great Barrier Reef', the Greens and now increasingly the Labor Party fall into madness. We wonder now about the rainbow coloured, solar powered unicorns that are going to die. Everywhere there is madness when we hear three words 'Great Barrier Reef'. I want to address that because Senator Pratt started this absolute nonsense, Senator Rice continued it and then Senator Whish-Wilson continued it. I want to congratulate Senator Macdonald for speaking up and telling the truth.

This bill, at its core, is simple. This is a mechanical bill that fixes an unintended consequence of existing law. It is not about saving the planet. Particular regulations governing the Great Barrier Reef have sunset clauses which automatically expire at a certain date and need to be renewed if they are to be retained. This is a measure to prevent regulations from continuing once they have become outdated and unnecessary. This is not about the collapse of the Great Barrier Reef. In this particular case, the government does not want to let these regulations expire yet and would like to renew them by repealing and then reinstating those regulations with a new sunset date. There is nothing to see here. However, as the law is written, doing this would require the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to remake its existing plans of management. This is a pretty bureaucratic process, to say the least—and I'm sure Senator Leyonhjelm would agree with me—that needs to comply with part VB of the act and involves consultation periods et cetera—in other words, it is a hassle for no change, no benefit. This bill will simply allow the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to retain its existing plans of management when the regulations are reset. Our party has discussed this bill and decided to support it.

I must address Senator Pratt's comments because in her early comments she stated, 'We in federal parliament are the reef's custodians.' That, sadly, is the state in which we find ourselves now in the state of Queensland and the country of Australia. The real custodian under the Constitution is the state government of Queensland on behalf of the people of Queensland yet what we see now are federal environmental ministers reporting to UN bodies on the state of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef and we see misrepresentations from the United Nations. We see the reef being trashed in reputation only, not in physical existence. We see the reef being trashed in misleading and false statements, starting in this chamber, from the Greens and the Labor Party. We heard Senator Whish-Wilson talk about the reef being tens of thousands of years old. It's only 6,000 years old in the Whitsunday areas and in the north it's only 8,000 years old. Senator Macdonald is correct; the Greens peddle fantasies. We need to end the misrepresentations that are hurting jobs, because the Great Barrier Reef is alive and well and thriving.

Senator Pratt raised the clearing of trees. There is no problem with that whatsoever when it's done by farmers on their own land. Because who are the best custodians for the land? The people who own the land and, in that case, it is the farmers. Farmers don't want to see wasted chemicals going on their land. They don't want to see excess pesticides, fertilisers going on their lands. That costs them money for nothing. Farmers don't want to see topsoil being washed off the land, because they value the topsoil. Farmers are the best custodians because, when they come to sell, when they come to pass on to their kids, they want to maximise the value of their land. That's why farmers are the only ones with skin in the game, and farmers alone are the best to make the decision on whether or not to clear trees.

As I said, the three words 'Great Barrier Reef' put the Greens into pseudo-alarm: 'The sky is falling, we'll all be killed, we need action on climate, it's a wonder of the world, you can see it from space.' How many times have we heard this? 'It has been there for tens of thousands of years,' says Senator Whish-Wilson. Actually, no, it hasn't, as I've just explained. The Great Barrier Reef seems to now be collecting another milestone. It has died more times than John Farnham has retired, and we still see the endless claims.

Let's get on to Senator Rice's topic: climate change. But, before doing so, let's remind everyone of Senator Macdonald's wonderful question during Senate estimates to the chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel. Senator Macdonald asked him one simple question: if all carbon dioxide output from humans in Australia stopped, what would be the impact on climate globally? And the chief scientist's response after beating around the bush was two words: 'virtually nothing'. In fact, it would be nothing.

We not only don't believe, as Senator Pratt says, in climate change being caused by carbon dioxide from humans; we know it is not being caused by humans. In fact, we know there is nothing unusual or unprecedented occurring in climate, and I will soon be discussing the results from my challenges of the CSIRO. Consider these hard facts, physical observations, hard data, measurements. For the last 22 years there has been no trend other than flat in global atmospheric temperatures—22 years with no warming, 22 years with ever-increasing and record carbon dioxide output from China, India and the Western developed world. There has been no warming despite record amounts of carbon dioxide from human activity.

The longest temperature trend in the last 160 years was 40 years of trend from 1936 to 1976—40 years when human production of carbon dioxide increased dramatically due to the Second World War and the postwar economic boom. And what was that trend? It was a falling temperature trend. There were rising carbon dioxide levels from humans, and the temperature fell for 40 years, the longest trend in the last 160 years. And then we look at the Bureau of Meteorology's own records and we find that temperatures in the 1880s and 1890s were warmer than today. And the CSIRO doesn't dispute that. In fact, I will issue a challenge again to anyone in the Labor Senate benches and anyone in the Greens Senate benches: find me someone who will debate the empirical evidence and the corruption of science, and I will gladly meet that challenge.

People don't seem to understand that some of the same coral species that we have on the Great Barrier Reef exist off the coast of Thailand, where the temperature is two degrees warmer. People don't seem to understand that, on any given day in Queensland, the temperature at the northern part of the reef will be four or possibly five degrees centigrade warmer than the southern part. People don't seem to recognise that in 2008 we had record cold temperatures in South-East Queensland and the southern portion of the Great Barrier Reef bleached entirely naturally.

There is no evidence of humans affecting global climate and there is no evidence that humans through impact on climate are affecting the Great Barrier Reef. There is a gaping hole in Senator Rice's plan. Pictures of cute animals, colourful exotic fish and wild alarmist statements are not evidence of anything happening. They are not evidence; we need to go to the empirical evidence, as I have just presented.

Sadly, Senator Macdonald raised the name of Senator Robert Hill. He was no saviour of the Barrier Reef. He was a foot soldier, I believe, of the United Nations—certainly misguided, possibly a useful idiot. But let's get back to the facts: based on those facts, the Greens are anti-science. They undermine science, they misrepresent science and they falsify science. As a result—because, in protecting the environment, the first step is to care enough to get the facts—because they distort the truth they cannot be pro-environment, because they are hurting the environment. By shutting down our production of carbon dioxide here and sending it to Third World countries with outdated power stations that do not have pollution-scrubbing equipment, the Greens are actually increasing total pollution globally. The Greens are increasing pollution globally—real pollutants: sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide particulates. The Greens are hurting the environment.

The Greens are anti-industry. They are killing jobs in this country: farming jobs, mining jobs, manufacturing jobs, service industry jobs and tourism jobs in Queensland. They are anti-worker, for the obvious reasons: they're killing jobs. They're antidevelopment. They're killing progress. Fundamentally, for human progress we need decreasing energy prices. The Greens' stated outcome, their stated desire, and their outcome already being achieved, is to increase energy prices. That is the exact reverse—the reverse!—of what is needed for human progress.

So that makes the Greens anti-civilisation: anti-industry and anti-progress. They are anti-Australia because they are undermining Australian sovereignty by pushing the UN agenda. They are anti-female, pushing the Islamisation of this country. They are anti-homosexual because they're pushing Islamisation of this country. In short, they are anti-human: anti-people, anti-civilisation and anti-progress.

Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party will delight in continuing to support the reef and the people of Queensland and Australia. We support farmers and we support the environment. We must do whatever we can to focus on cutting real pollutants—sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide particulates. We must protect the water, we must protect the soil and we must do that based on facts, and that starts with care to unearth the facts.

Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party supports the truth. We want to pass this bill and we want to do it by ensuring that we present the facts, expose the Greens and protect Queensland jobs. We join with the government in recommending passage of this bill. Thank you.