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Wednesday, 17 November 2004
Page: 74

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation) (1:55 PM) —In the few minutes left in this debate I want to take the opportunity to congratulate all those members of parliament and senators who were elected at the last election and particularly to refer to those of two states in which I have a particular interest—my own home state of Queensland and Tasmania, which I think had a rather remarkable result in the federal election.

As you well know, Mr Acting Deputy President Brandis, we have an excellent range of members in Queensland. I particularly want to welcome the member for Bowman, Mr Andrew Laming, who gave a quite exceptional first speech this morning, and also Mr Ross Vasta, who will bring a number of skills to this parliament. All of the new members elected will bring a new range of ideas and skills to the parliament. Most of them, of course, are Liberals and from every state of Australia, but I am particularly proud of the two new Queenslanders who will grace this parliament with their presence in the next three years and beyond.

I also want to pay particular attention to the quite remarkable Senate result in Queensland, which you, Mr Acting Deputy President, and Senator Mason had a very large part in achieving. In all of the time I have been involved in the Liberal Party it has been a goal of mine to see a third Liberal senator elected. That is a goal I have particularly fought for since I was first elected in 1990. Mr Acting Deputy President, I know it is a goal that you have been pursuing for many years as well. It was a real delight for me to see that that goal was eventually achieved with the election of a third Liberal senator from Queensland. The election of the third Queensland Liberal senator will give the coalition control of the Senate after 1 July next year. It was a quite remarkable result.

In the other state that I am particularly fond of at the present time, Tasmania, there was also a very remarkable result. After not having had a lower house member in Tasmania for many terms of government, the Liberal Party this year was able to achieve the quite remarkable feat of having two members elected from Tasmania. As well as that, it has achieved very good results in the Senate, where a third Liberal has been elected to represent the state of Tasmania in this chamber post 1 July. Of course, the result in Tasmania is very much a result of a very good government policy on forestry and conservation in that state—helped, I might say, very considerably by Mr Latham's antiworker policy in that particular state. I know that I shared the sadness of many workers around this country to see a Labor leader selling out the workers as Mr Latham did in Tasmania. Tasmanians voted quite deliberately to give the Liberal Party, which supported the workers' rights in Tasmania, a quite remarkable result in that state. I pay particular tribute to my Senate colleagues from Tasmania who fought the good fight over many years for Tasmanian workers, for Tasmanian industry and for good Tasmanian conservation outcomes in the forest areas. It is a great tribute to them. I welcome all new members and congratulate all members and senators who were elected at the last election.