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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 3000


Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (19:55): Mr Speaker, you know that we live in the best country in the world—we certainly do. One aspect that makes Australia great and unique is our democratic governance and accountability as members of parliament to the people and the places we represent. Since my election in 2013 I have been out meeting and greeting people on a regular basis. Yesterday I put up a Facebook post asking locals if there was anything that they wanted me to address in parliament this week. There were various topics, including whales in Antarctica, veterans' affairs, cameras on the Ted Smout bridge, immigration, the state government train debacle, the Bruce Highway, homelessness, false accusations against some men in divorce situations, the NBN, section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and same-sex marriage versus heterosexual marriage. I do not have enough time to cover all of these topics now. I will raise a couple of issues and try to cover some of the other ones at a later date.

In relation to traditional marriage, Mr Jason Young said, 'I would like parliament to strengthen the value of the family, including preservation of traditional marriage.' Sally Mitchell said, 'Marriage rights for all Australians.' The coalition took to the last election the promise to hold a plebiscite so that all Australians would have a democratic choice when it came to changing the definition of marriage. I am pleased to say that we have voted on that in the House of Representatives and supported that. It is now with the Senate. Over past parliaments we have had a few marriage bills that were defeated. I supported the plebiscite and made the commitment that I would honour the outcome of the Australian people. Unfortunately, it looks like the opposition will not support that. They do not trust the Australian people on that issue, neither does the Nick Xenophon Team and the Greens. I made a full speech on the plebiscite, if constituents would like to look at it.

Then there is the NBN in North Lakes. Mr Trent Dixon said: 'NBN. I have another 12 months to wait.' Vieve Mason said: 'Why parts of North Lakes/Mango Hill still have no NBN or internet connection? Been waiting five years now.' Vieve and Trent I hear you. North Lakes has been waiting longer than five years—probably 10 to 15 years, since it was built. Of course Labor made a lot of promises when they were in government but there was not a lot delivered. I call it fibre-to-the-press-release. In 2013 there were 5,279 premises connected in Petrie. Right now we are at 34,500 and there are over 14,000 with an active NBN connection. There are 10,000 under construction. Vieve, there are 6,000 in Mango Hill and North Lakes. The Prime Minister and the Minister for Communications know how important this area is for the Petrie electorate. I am very pleased to announce that in early 2017 just about all of North Lakes will be connected. It is being rolled out now in Copeland Drive and Discovery Drive. It is all being rolled out now. That is great news.

I also want to mention Mr Damian Dancer, who said: 'The Bruce Highway, Luke. You need to get that sorted out, mate. The Pine River Bridge through to the Bracken Ridge overpass.' Damian, I hear you. It is about a $1 billion build. We simply do not have the money at the moment to do it but I am talking every day I am down here to the transport minister. I know that we need to get it from four lanes to six lanes. There will be a bottleneck when the Gateway upgrade is completed. That is a section that is well on my radar. Thank you for raising it on Facebook with me.

Debra Summers said: 'What's the government going to do to get the country to start making money not borrowing it?' Mark Wilkinson said, 'Reducing government which costs millions, three levels of government for 23ish million people is crazy.' Mark and Debra, I hear what you are saying. The purpose of government is to provide strong economic management and to keep its citizens safe. In relation to the deficit and in particular to Debra, we are the only party that has a strong economic plan for jobs and growth. We believe that if we can create more jobs in the private sector through giving incentives to small and medium businesses, through reducing company tax from 30 to 25 per cent and helping with the instant asset tax write-off, it will create more jobs. We have got our defence manufacturing plan. There are a whole lot of issues. There is increased funding for health and education. We have a plan to address the chaos and we have had $6 billion in savings since the 2016 election.

If people would like to talk to me, I am doing mobile offices on Saturday, 19 November. The details of that are on my website: lukehowarth.com.au. Thank you to everyone for contacting me. I will address more issues later.

The SPEAKER: It being 8 pm, the House stands adjourned.

House adjourned at 20:00