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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 63


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:08): Well, excuse my mirth, Madam Deputy President! Senator Farrell is one of the few people over there who I genuinely like. I think he is a good guy and makes a wonderful wine. I can only think that Senator Farrell may have been imbibing too much of his own wonderful wine with that presentation he just gave! He said the government should be concentrating on policy issues and on the people of Australia. Have a look at question time today. The government asked serious policy questions all the way through, and I'm delighted to—

Senator McCarthy: A point of order: unparliamentary language against a fellow senator.

Senator McAllister: On a point of order: Senator Macdonald reflected inappropriately on Senator Farrell in his remarks earlier and he ought to withdraw.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: If Senator Farrell had taken the point of order, I would have apologised, but he obviously took it in the spirit it was given. He's a wonderful man. I'm not for a moment suggesting he's drinking during the day. I was really giving him a free advertisement for his wonderful Farrell Wines, and that's what he should be concentrating on. This is a ridiculous point of order and typical of the Labor Party.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald has further explained what he meant. Unfortunately, I didn't hear it and nor did the Clerk. Please continue, Senator Macdonald.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: If you had heard it you wouldn't have thought there was anything improper about it, as Senator Farrell clearly didn't. I can't understand the Labor Party sometimes.

Here we on this side are asking serious policy questions. I was delighted to be able to ask the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Canavan, about the wonderful announcement today that Adani is building a new railway line in North Queensland and Central Queensland, joining the port of Abbot Point to the Carmichael mines. That will mean those Carmichael mines can go ahead with development, with creating real jobs for Central and North Queenslanders. It's an announcement today that has absolutely brightened my heart, and I might go and get one of my favourite wines, the Farrell red wine, to celebrate such a wonderful announcement.

But what did we get from the Labor Party? This is why I doubted Senator Farrell's sanity, in a nice way. He's accusing us of talking about ourselves and not about policy issues for the people of Australia. Every question today from members of the Labor Party was about parliamentarians, about the internal workings of the Liberal Party. Can I tell people: not many people on this side of the parliament are too interested in that and, I can assure you, neither is any other Australian. They are interested in things like real jobs for Australians that the Adani mines will bring. They're interested in the NBN rollout, new black spots and, as Senator McKenzie so eloquently announced, the many initiatives happening in rural and regional Australia.

But what did the Labor Party do? They talked about politicians. There was not one question about jobs; not one question about the economy; not one question about the disadvantaged in our community; not one question about infrastructure, about development, about the economy or about reducing Labor's debt; and not one question about the more than one million jobs that have been created since the Liberal-National government has been in power. These are all the issues that Australians are interested in, and the Labor Party, under their current leadership, took their whole hour to ask about internal party matters.

That's why Mr Shorten is so detested by the Australian public. As was said during question time, Mr Morrison has been in the job only a couple of weeks, but already he leads Mr Shorten in the opinion polls as the better Prime Minister. And it's no wonder, when he leads the 'rarble'—to quote a Labor Party senator—that you see over on the other side of this chamber. They're not a group of senators interested in Australians, interested in policy issues, interested in economic issues, interested in the disadvantaged—interested in the things that Australians are interested in. All the Labor Party seem to be interested in here is internal politics. I don't know why they didn't ask a question about Senator Cameron and former Minister Obeid, who was in Senator Keneally's cabinet, and the former minister the bad Ian Macdonald—

Senator Keneally: On a point of order: I'd like to point out that the minister has misled the parliament and I ask him to withdraw.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: That's a debating point. Please continue, Senator Macdonald.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Senator Keneally was closely associated with Mr Obeid and the bad Ian Macdonald.

Senator Keneally: Point of order: again the senator has misled the parliament. He is invited to read the New South Wales ICAC transcripts, and I ask him to withdraw his comments.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: These are debating points.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: You see how sensitive members of the Labor Party are when we talk about the bad Ian Macdonald—that is, the New South Wales Labor minister who is now in jail for corruption—or the other bad Labor minister, Mr Obeid, who's also in jail. These people were in the cabinet when Senator Keneally was there. Why didn't they talk about them? We don't talk about them; we talk about policy issues, the things that really interest Australians. (Time expired)