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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 11920

Mr WINDSOR (5:07 PM) —Mr Deputy Speaker, just in terms of amendment (12) again, the word ‘idiot’ was used and there is some debate about whether it is an acceptable word to use. I would ask the general public who are listening to this: if someone votes in the House of Representatives for an amendment that is five lines long—an amendment which the coalition voted for; the member for Parkes just said that he voted for it—and if the same group of people in another place laud that amendment as being one of the greatest processes of probity that the parliament has ever seen—

Mrs Mirabella —Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. Is the member for New England speaking on a point of order?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr KJ Thomson)—No, we are considering Senate amendments. The member for New England is speaking to the question that Senate amendments (1), (9) and (12) be agreed to.

Mrs Mirabella —Well, he is not speaking to those amendments; he is speaking to a previous withdrawal that he has made. To assist the House and others who are interested in other substantive amendments to the bill, could he please wind up and not try to defend previous statements?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —There is no point of order. The member for New England is in order.

Mr WINDSOR —If that same group of people in the Senate who supported that amendment and lauded it—Senator Williams, Senator Barnaby Joyce and many of the others said it was a great amendment that Senator Brown was introducing into the Senate—then suddenly, on Wednesday night, find that it is not a great amendment, that they have made a mistake, then one would have to consider the word ‘idiot’ as being an apt description of their capacity to intellectually engage with five lines. In consultation with Mitch Hooke and others and the member for Groom, they have decided that there is a way out of this: ‘If we remove the term ‘mining’ and not have exploration licences, there is a way through this that can save the member for Parkes and others’ necks by confusing the issue.’ But, as I said earlier, all that has done is reinstate the very thing the member for Parkes just spoke against, the state based planning process, which is a problem, particularly when we have just initiated a basin planning process for the Murray-Darling system, we are going to do substantial water audits, both in quality and quantity, and we do not know the impacts of these interconnectivity issues.

The member for Groom took offence at a couple of things I said. Senator Barnaby Joyce is on the public record as saying they were leaned on by the Minerals Council—that is his statement. For the member for Groom to jump up and down and say this is a tragedy—

Mr Briggs interjecting

Mr WINDSOR —If you have got something to say, you can take five minutes on your feet. I agree with the member for Parkes: we will be successful in getting a study of the Namoi. But what that means in the Murray-Darling context is that an opportunity is going to be missed because we have got people on Haystack Plain on the Darling Downs with a similar issue and there are a number of locations across the Murray-Darling system that are going to experience these very same issues. And if we have to go through this political nonsense every time one of those issues is raised, to beg and cajole to get some money for an independent study, then heaven help us. I am very disappointed in the member for Parkes. I get on well with him personally, but this is an absolute cop-out for the people he is representing—and not only for those people but for the people that I represent in the same valley system. It is an absolute cop-out and an abrogation of the responsibility that he has been given by his constituents.

The other issue that was raised in relation to this by Senator Williams, a National Party senator, is that the original amendment that the coalition and Senator Williams voted for in the Senate was going to ruin small exploration companies because they would have to incur enormous expense to allow them to explore. The amendment is about the granting of exploration licences. No-one, even under today’s flawed process, explores unless they are granted an exploration licence. (Time expired)