Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Abbott Government; Attempted Censure
It is clear. This House has an obligation to debate and discuss the concerns of the people of Nhulunbuy and the surrounding region. That is why the standing orders need to be suspended. Why did the Leader of the House not allow us to have a matter of public importance debate? We would not have been through this, but he has prevented us from debating the issue. It is extremely important that the House understand the implications of the closure of this refinery for the community of Gove and the surrounding region. We need to suspend standing orders to allow us to debate it properly, to allow the government to respond, to allow us to hear from the government why it is that they do not care about the community of Gove and the surrounding region, to hear from the government why it is that not one of their ministers has bothered to show his or her face in the community of Gove or the region since the announcement was made. This is why we need to suspend standing orders.
Why is it that there is no understanding shown by this government of what the impact will be on services to the community around Nhulunbuy and in Gove itself? We need to understand this. I met some young people at the Nhulunbuy High School last week. We sat and spoke, along with others—with the Leader of the Opposition, with Senator Nova Peris and the local member Lynne Walker. We spoke to years 11 and 12 students about what their prospects are as a result of this closure. They did not know. No-one has been to talk to them. We know that, as a direct result of the closure, the school population will fall from 972 to something like 240. What does that mean for them? They have been given a blatant guarantee by the Northern Territory government that year 12 will go until the end of the year and year 11 likewise, but the teachers have been told that their jobs are guaranteed only until the end of the first semester. What does that tell you? That is why standing orders need to be suspended.
We need to know what this government is thinking. We need to know what answers this government has for the people of Gove and the surrounding communities. We need to know what answers this government has for the kids of Gove—those people, who are our nation's future in that region, are being told by this government that they just do not bloody well care. Well I care, my friends in the Labor Party care, the community cares and I know the people of Australia care. We cannot have this. We cannot have the Prime Minister or anyone else coming into this place and treating the community with such disrespect. It is just not on. As the Prime Minister said—