Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2013-2014; Second Reading
May I commend the member for O'Connor for his speech and for his contribution to this place. Last Saturday at the Nationals preselection, another very worthy candidate for the seat of O'Connor was preselected for the Nationals. His name is Chub Witham, and I look forward to him making a very worthwhile contribution to this place, as Tony Crook has done for the constituents of O'Connor, who have benefited greatly from having a Western Australian Nationals member representing their interests.
Just recently—in fact, it was on 29 April—the Prime Minister made a speech to the Per Capita Reform Agenda prior to the budget. She used a rather bizarre example, I thought, when she was trying to explain what the budget cuts which were approaching would mean to the average Australian person. She drew on the example of John: Imagine a wage earner, John, employed in the same job throughout the last 20 years.
We all know the speech. We all heard it. We all raised our eyebrows at it. Certainly John had to tighten his belt in the example that the Prime Minister used.
I would like to imagine an irrigator by the name of John. I might use the example of John Bisetto, who was the one who told the water minister when he went to Griffith that he was a disgrace, about the so-called water reform he was planning to implement. The irrigator John in my example might be John Bisetto; it might be any other one of those great family farmers at Griffith and in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area whose name might just happen to be John, but certainly their uncertainty has not been lifted by the water reform, by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan enacted by this government. Certainly I look forward to an Abbott-Truss led government, which will keep its word and cap buyback at 1,500 gigalitres, which means that only 249 gigalitres of water will then remain to be recovered. That will be a good outcome for the irrigators of my area and certainly a good outcome for all those irrigators by the name of John.
Also imagine a stay-at-home mum. Let us call her Jane. Jane is concerned that there is nothing for her. She is a stay-at home mum and she is choosing to look after her kids, but what is there on the table for poor Jane?
Indeed, we have a regional student. Let us just, for example, call her Jennie. Jennie is also affected because, as Senator Fiona Nash, the Nationals regional education spokeswoman, told Senate estimates yesterday, just 17 per cent of regional 25- to 34-year-olds had bachelor or postgraduate qualifications in 2011, compared with 36 per cent of those from the city. Residents of regional Australia, Senator Nash said, are only half as likely to have degrees as their metropolitan counterparts. That is really tough on them. It is really tough on the Jennies of the world, the Jennies who are trying to make a great contribution to this country, but because of Julia and her government they have not been able to do that.
Mr Perrett interjecting—
Oh, come on!