Speeches

Questions without notice (budget)

Senator RUSTON (South Australia) (15:32): I too rise to take note of answers given by Senator Wong in relation to questions asked by Senators Abetz, Brandis, Joyce and Sinodinos. Senator Cameron and those senators on the other side who spoke before you, we are talking about broken promises, when you say one thing and you do something completely different. This is not about the interpretation of economic indicators, as you have just stood up and talked about; it is actually about telling the Australian public the truth. I draw to your attention that in 2008—

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Matters of public importance (climate change)

Senator Cameron, I have to pull you up on one point that you made earlier in your speech. You said that the Greens have the luxury of never having to govern. I beg to differ; I believe over the last 2½ years the Greens have had a huge role in governing this country. In fact, I do not think we would have a carbon tax had it not been for the Greens' interference in the policies of the Labor Party. Do not forget, it was your very leader who stood up and said: 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead,' and, as soon as she was in a minority government and required the Greens' support, all of a sudden we had a carbon tax. I raise that as a point of clarification on your comments.

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National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill 2013

I too rise to speak on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill 2013, and do so to support the bill.

I am sure that everybody who has stood in this place so far to speak on this particular bill would have risen and said that as parents—and most of us probably are parents—the one thing that you consider yourself very lucky for is when you have your children and your children come out 'with 10 toes and 10 fingers', as the senator said before. But there are many people who do not have that luxury. I think we do need to acknowledge that most of us in this place are extremely lucky because we have the luxury of not having to deal with the issue of disability on a firsthand basis.

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Questions without notice (NBN, media)

I too rise to take note of the answers given by Senator Conroy in relation to questions asked today in the area of his portfolio. Before I get to the communications and broadband portfolio I would like to comment on some things that Senator Gallacher said: 'The BER is a resoundingly good use of public money.' I find that quite an interesting comment. Maybe he would like to tell the people of Berry Bay in South Australia that it was a resoundingly good use of public money when they built their school shelter in a school that they moved out of about three months after it had been completed. The other thing Senator Gallaher said is he cannot wait to get the NBN 'past my house'. He referred to the electorate of Grey, which I assume he is a paired senator for, and that is fine for Senator Gallaher, who probably lives in the country. But what about the many people in Grey who will not be getting the NBN going past their houses?

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Questions without notice (media)

I too rise to take note of answers given by Senator Conroy to questions asked by Senator Abetz and Senator Birmingham, mainly in response to the package of media reform bills. I only wish that I was as confident as Senator Urquhart of the intention of these particular reform bills in their ability to deliver such things as an increased amount of Australian content in our programs. I also wish that I was as confident as she was that it was not an attack on our freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

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Appropriation Bill 2012-2013

I, too, rise to speak on Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2012-2013 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2012-2013. From an economic and fiscal perspective, I think that the government's primary purpose is to make sure that we have got an economy that is able to generate income so that we can afford to have all the things that a socially responsible society seeks to deliver to its people. To be spending money that we do not have, or to spend money that has been borrowed without any sensible plan for economic growth, seems to me a very irresponsible way to be approaching our fiscal and budgetary situation in this country.

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Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee report Murray Darling Basin Plan

Before I start my remarks, I put on the record the appreciation of the people of the communities that I came from. I came into the process of the debate on this Murray-Darling Basin plan very late. As a person who lives on the river and as a water licence holder, we watched the whole development of the plan unfold over the last few years with complete and utter horror. It was not until I got here and realised that a committee such as the one that has produced this plan was actually in place to deal with all of the issues that the people in my community had been raising as matters that had not been addressed in the process of the plan.

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Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee report Murray Darling Basin Plan

Before I start my remarks, I put on the record the appreciation of the people of the communities that I came from. I came into the process of the debate on this Murray-Darling Basin plan very late. As a person who lives on the river and as a water licence holder, we watched the whole development of the plan unfold over the last few years with complete and utter horror. It was not until I got here and realised that a committee such as the one that has produced this plan was actually in place to deal with all of the issues that the people in my community had been raising as matters that had not been addressed in the process of the plan.

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Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2012

A number of the things raised by Senator McKenzie are fantastic examples of where the agricultural sector in this country is overburdened by the weight of compliance regulation and red tape.

I stand to speak on the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2012. This bill seeks to make a range of amendments on a range of different bills. I would like to briefly comment on the wine legislation amendments, but I would like to reserve the majority of my comments today for the States Grants (War Service Land Settlement) Act 1952, which is to be repealed as part of this bill.

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Questions without notice (public media advocate)

Senator RUSTON (South Australia) (14:51): My question is to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy. I refer the minister to the Prime Minister's comments this morning that the appointment of the public media advocate would be made in consultation with the opposition. Can the minister confirm what the criteria for selection will be?

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