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Monday, 11 November 2019
Page: 3495


Senator ROBERTS (Queensland) (18:12): As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I want to use this speech to ask the government to start governing. Where's the vision in this government? What about Australia's productive capacity in the future? Governance has three parts. Firstly, there's trusteeship, which is looking after the values of the country—the principles. Secondly, there's stewardship, which is about managing. And, thirdly, there's governorship, which is about making sure that the country has a future.

Minister Littleproud was asked about water storage some time ago. In response to finding out that water storage is depleting and that, in fact, storage per person will have reduced by 30 per cent by 2030—a critical infrastructure feature and something that Australians, humans in general, must have: water—he said it was 'a lack of planning'. He said that there have only been 20 dams built since 2003 and 16 of them have been built in Tasmania and four in the rest of the country. 'It's time for the eastern states to do their job,' he said. They have done 'three-fifths of bugger all', he said. 'It is time for them to start planning and building,' he said. 'There is no reason to stop; now is the time to do it—when it's dry—to start digging the holes.' Again, he said: 'Let's release some of the figures on the water storage state by state. In Queensland'—his home state—'it's gone from 2.78 gigalitres per person to 1.75'. That shows that there's been 'no planning'—this is Minister Littleproud talking—'no thinking. If we continue to get a population increase, which we will—we're naturally getting that through migration—we have to have the state governments have water, which is a source of life for all of us.' So the minister knows—he is the minister for water—that water is the source of life, but he admits there is no plan for the productive future of this country.

This government is reacting and building facades, and that's bringing this government undone. We dodged a bullet when we fortunately did not have Mr Shorten elected as Prime Minister, but this government thinks that putting on a farmer's shirt and a baseball cap or a high-vis vest, a hard hat and safety glasses is governing and leadership. It's not. So I ask Mr Morrison: where the bloody hell are ya?

Look at energy and the prices skyrocketing. We went from having the lowest electricity prices in the world and a stable and secure supply to now the highest prices in the world. We have the same basic resource for generating electricity, yet our prices have increased, while our competitors, like China, take our coal and use it to provide cheap, clean, affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible electricity.

Quantities of water are drying up. The price of water is skyrocketing. As for property rights, farmers can no longer manage their land because the bureaucrats are managing it. They've had their property rights stolen from them. We say to those farmers: 'We will keep pushing for the restoration of your property rights that were stolen by the John Howard government in collusion with Labor Party premiers and National Party premiers in the states of Queensland and New South Wales. We will seek restoration or compensation.' We have a natural drought that is a part of Australia's cycle of climate, but we have a man-made water crisis. We have free trade agreements that are undermining Australian industry. We have a taxation system that lets multinationals get away with paying no tax or little tax, and that's been the case since 1953, thanks to a Liberal prime minister in Sir Robert Menzies.

A lot of these policies are underpinned by the climate scam. Never has there been any empirical evidence proving that human-caused carbon dioxide affects climate. The Greens continue—they're on day 63—of being unable to provide that. They continue to avoid that, yet we have these policies, a lack of property rights, energy prices that are skyrocketing, a lack of water and high prices for water. There's one area not based on climate, and that is the banks. The four major banks are enabled by both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party to have a go at every Aussie. So Aussies are not being given a fair go. I've seen companies fail, I've rescued companies, I established a pioneering world-class project that led its way internationally and certainly in Australia, and I know that the solution to this country's problems is having a government with a long-term focus that wants to restore Australia's productive capacity—a government that makes decisions based on solid data, calmly makes decisions on facts and has a proactive approach with a plan. That's leadership: understanding and meeting people's needs cohesively, holistically and consistently, and driving to a vision.

Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything, and that's exactly what we're seeing in the governance of this country under both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party, under their duopoly. Right now we are witnessing the disintegration of a government. People are waking up. They were certainly terrified at the thought of Mr Shorten as Prime Minister, but now they're realising that Mr Morrison is just a facade builder and a marketing man. So where the bloody hell are ya?

By the way, the ABC is now inciting violence, yet the government want to fund the ABC further. I say, and One Nation says: close the ABC or sell it. They recently revealed in Senate estimates, under questioning from me and Senator Hanson, that they got the Al Jazeera tapes—which were a fabrication—in January, and put them to air five months later, just before an election. That's interfering. The government is paying for the ABC to interfere and enable a foreign power to interfere in our government and in our political system. That's why we are questioning the government's lack of vision, philosophy and values. Where the bloody hell are ya? This bill highlights the piecemeal approach that's poor governance. Australians want, and Australia needs, a vision, strategies and plans based on objective data, and we need to start doing that by starting to restore property rights for farmers and restoration or compensation. We will be supporting these appropriation bills, but we highlight the fact that these bills are exposing the government's failure to manage this country and govern this country.