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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Page: 820

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (16:47): As someone who has just been described by the previous speaker as 'thick as two planks'—and perhaps I empathise with that—

Senator McKim: He was being very generous.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I must say I am intimidated in this debate by a speaker of such high intellect—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Marshall ): Order! Senator Macdonald, if you would just resume your seat. Senator Whish-Wilson, on a point of order?

Senator Whish-Wilson: I just want to correct the record. It is thick as two short planks, not two planks.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: This is not the time for correcting the record; this is the time for taking points of order, if that is what you want to do, but I assume you do not.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: As someone who has just been described by the previous speaker as 'thick as two short planks' I must say I am a little intimidated to enter this debate, particularly in the face of such a speaker of high eloquence, high intellect, high sophistication—

Senator McKim: Hear, hear.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: as the idiot we have just heard from.

Senator McKim: You've just contradicted yourself.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: In case Senator Whish-Wilson was living under a rock—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Can I just ask all senators to consider the standing orders and the chamber which we are in? I know, Senator Macdonald, you have also been sorely provoked through this debate, but I just urge all senators—

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Can I have another couple of minutes, please?

Senator Whish-Wilson: No, you can't.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The clock should have stopped.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: It should have; it did not.

Senator Whish-Wilson: I don't have enough handkerchiefs.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I bring all senators to order. We will make a small adjustment to the clock.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Can I start again? As someone who has just been described by the previous speaker, Senator Whish-Wilson, as 'thick as two short planks' I must say I am a little intimidated to enter this debate after such a high-intellect presentation by the previous speaker, someone so sophisticated, so articulate as the person—

Senator Whish-Wilson: Go on; say it.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Well, as the idiot who just spoke. In case Senator Whish-Wilson was living under a lettuce leaf at the time of the 2013 election, it was not Tony Abbott who voted down the carbon tax; it was the people of Australia, who voted for us in record numbers. That is what they thought of the Greens and the Labor Party and their combined policy of a carbon tax and the impact on Australia. Whilst the Greens care nothing for rising unemployment in Queensland or for small-business mum-and-dad operations who make their living out of mining support industries, I do. I care for the unemployed, I care for small business and I care for Queenslanders who will be put out of business by the cost of power.

This is what the Australian people told us. It was not Tony Abbott; it was the people of Australia. We have had the Greens telling us the world is coming to an end if we have another coal-fired power station. Could I just tell you, as I always used to say to the Greens, whilst the Greens want to shut Australia down, around the world there are 216 coal-fired plants being built as we speak. In China there are 579 coal-fired power plants in operation and another 575 planned or under construction. In India, 49 high-efficiency low-emission coal-fired power stations are in operation and 395 are already planned or under construction. What do the Greens have to say to that? 'We want to shut down Australia's few coal-fired plants that deliver industry affordable power, that deliver power for Australians at a reasonable price, and that ensure that we do not have the blackouts such as we have had in South Australia in recent days.'

I am delighted that the Greens have again brought this debate before the chamber to highlight their absolute inability to understand what is right for Australia and what impact high-quality, accessible, affordable coal reserves have on Australia, on the Australian economy and on our ability to get cheaper power. With the latest generation or next generation of high-efficiency low-emissions technology and advanced ultra-supercritical generation, emissions from Australia can be reduced by up to 34 per cent. Isn't that a goal we should be aiming for at the same time as providing jobs for Queenslanders and cheap power for Queenslanders and Australians?

I urge Adani to continue with its coal proposition in Central Queensland. I am very much looking forward to the jobs that would create—which the Greens have no interest in. The Greens have not one bit of interest in the unemployed or in the small businesses that will benefit out of this. And I certainly look forward to it, and I encourage Adani at every stage to proceed with this wonderful project for Australia. (Time expired)