House debates

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Tax Laws Amendment (Foreign Source Income Deferral) Bill (No. 1) 2010

Second Reading

12:00 pm

Photo of Peter LindsayPeter Lindsay (Herbert, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I well remember, some 14½ years ago, making my first speech in this place. It was great because I was on the other side of the House—over there. Unfortunately, I am not going to get back there, but many of my colleagues will, in a short amount of time.

What a privilege it is to wear this green pin. I think all of us wear it with pride. It does not matter which side of the House we are on, we wear it with pride. We know and understand what it means.

My wife Margaret and my daughter Kylie have joined me here. In partnership with Margaret, I judged it was time to stand aside and allow renewal in the seat of Herbert. And that is a good thing, because the party needs others of ability to come along and bring new ideas. For a busy member of parliament, as you all know, there is never enough time to pursue so many personal interests, but I will now have that time. I will be able to sit and watch question time from Townsville!

It was such a privilege to have worked with John Howard, Peter Costello and the team of the coalition, as we managed the difficult task of fixing the economic and social problems of Australia after the last Labor government. The next coalition member for Herbert will be part of the team that has to fix the mess that is being created by the current Labor government.

It has been an honour to serve the people of Townsville. For 25 years now, as both the member for Herbert and also as councillor for Division 9 on Townsville City Council, I have been deeply grateful for our community and the support that they have given to me.

I have particularly enjoyed the work done, at all levels, with the men and women of the Australian Defence Force. Whether the role is in war fighting, humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping, training or mentoring, Australia can be mighty proud of the professionalism of the ADF.

I have also invested considerable time in Australia’s youth, through the Left Right think tank. It has been just so rewarding. Left Right was formed by Richard Newnham and Thom Woodroofe. It is an inspiring movement of young Australians dedicated to empowering all young people to contribute to public policy. Richard, you will be watching today and I want you to know that as CEO your energy, vision and leadership has been outstanding. You are truly a great young Australian and your parents, John and Susie, must be so proud of your achievements.

Colleagues, I leave my job knowing that many of my achievements in Herbert have made such a difference. Major initiatives have included the Townsville Ring Road and the Douglas Arterial, which many of my colleagues say is the ‘Peter Lindsay highway’. Such works as the Woolcock Street extension and the Woodlands to Veales Road upgrade, including the Mount Low Parkway intersection have been achievements.

I turn now to James Cook University. Back in 1997 I literally saved the university from financial ruin. The books were in a dreadful state but we were able to sort that out at the time with the help of Dr David Kemp. If you go out to the university you find that almost one-third of the university has been established under my watch and through my advocacy: the medical school and places; AIMS@JCU; Allied Health school; biotechnology places; Lightspeed; the communication facility, the pharmacy building and places; the microscope and mass spectrometry facility; veterinary science building and places; agricultural science places; a second medical school building and additional places, and the establishment of the Australian Tropical Sciences and Innovation Precinct. I am pretty proud of that.

In terms of the environment, I was part of protecting the Great Barrier Reef for generations to come through the world acclaimed Green Zones process. And hasn’t that been successful? All of the research now shows that it has worked and has produced more fish stocks for the fisherman and has locked up and protected our magnificent Great Barrier Reef for ever. I had Magnetic Island confirmed as a World Heritage listed area. The have been many Green Corps projects and a refurbishing of Reef HQ and so on. And I secured Townsville as one of the first of two Australian solar cities. I thank Ian Macfarlane for helping me do that.

In terms of Defence, you just would not know Lavarack Barracks now. There has virtually been a complete redevelopment of the largest defence base in Australia. There have been significant numbers of new Defence homes built, hundreds of new single-soldier accommodation units, redevelopment of port facilities for the LHDs that are coming along and the transfer of a new battalion to Townsville. Where is Dana Vale, the member for Hughes? I took the Third Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment from her! There has been massive redevelopment at the RAAF base in Townsville and at 5 Aviation Regiment at the Air Force base in Townsville.

I move to a disappointment. I certainly got one of the first Australian technical colleges in Australia built in Townsville. It proved to be the best in the country, and then the Labor Party came along and defunded it. They say, ‘We’re into skills training.’ They were into skills training by defunding the best technical college in the country! That is a disappointment.

In terms of health, we have established the Townsville after-hours GP service and I got funding for a bulk-billed MRI scanner at the Mater Hospital.

In relation to the community, we handed over Jezzine Barracks. We had a huge community program to do that. I think the parliamentary secretary at the time ultimately said, ‘Lindsay, how did you do that?’ because we handed over $45 million worth of defence land to the community and, on top of that, probably about another $25 million to redevelop that bookend of the Strand, and that is being done now. We secured funding for the Tony Ireland Stadium at Riverway and the redevelopment of the Murray Sports Complex. The member for Berowra is here; he will remember the first family relationship centre in Australia and the first Federal Magistrates Court in Northern Australia, and I thank him for his assistance in achieving that.

I would like to think I have made a difference, and others will judge that. I certainly take quiet pride in the part I played in the Howard government’s courage to take on the difficult issues. We have only got 11 of the class of 1996 here now: Don Randall is one, as are Danna Vale, Bruce Billson, Bob Baldwin, Jo Gash, Fran Bailey and Joe Hockey. We balanced the budget. We eliminated government debt. Do you remember the difficulties in doing that? We restored Australia’s AAA credit rating. We reformed superannuation. We liberated industrial relations. We swept away a raft of taxes, we cut capital gains and income taxes, and we built the Future Fund. Under the Howard government, unemployment was at record lows and the incidence of industrial disputes was the lowest in Australia’s history. What a mighty record. The Howard years saw higher wages, more productive workplaces, higher pensions, better living standards, more funding for health, education, defence and transport, better border protection—that rings a bell!—and an economic resilience that was the envy of the developed world which did not happen by accident. It was a great distinction to be a part of that decision process.

I would like to thank the people of Townsville for the opportunity to represent them in five Commonwealth parliaments. This is the third longest period of service by any member of Herbert since Federation, and Herbert was a Federation seat. Together we have achieved so much, with Townsville today being a confident, go-ahead city in which people enjoy living and working. That is of course why I proudly carry the tag of ‘the member for paradise’.

I do have some regrets—for example, when I see the debate going on in Townsville now in relation to health. The government comes in and says, ‘We’ve got this great new program for health,’ but what the government does not say is, ‘It’s not going to start till 2014,’ and we worry if it is going to start at all then. We need a PET scanner in the north. We have got to fly our patients to Brisbane at the moment, which is wrong. The government says, ‘We’re going to give you a PET scanner but, by the way, not till 2014.’ If there is a change of government, we will deliver a PET scanner immediately. Next week, construction will commence on the building that will house the PET scanner, and that is at Mater Park Haven Hospital. It will be ready. If there is a change of government, we will fund that PET scanner and it will be up and running as soon as we can buy a machine and install it—and that is how it should be.

Then there are the GP superclinics. I do not know how many of my colleagues have been promised GP superclinics. Remember the last election? ‘We’ll have a GP superclinic in Townsville and, by the way, we’ll have a family medical centre for Lavarack Barracks, the first of two—one in Darwin, one in Townsville—and we’ll build it straightaway.’ That promise is gone; it was canned. It translated into: ‘We’ll put Defence into the GP superclinic.’ So when do you think we will get a GP superclinic? Not in this term.


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