House debates

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Matters of Public Importance

Australia's Political System

4:02 pm

Photo of Luke HowarthLuke Howarth (Petrie, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I love to listen to the member for Griffith. She is a very good speaker. She was obviously a lawyer. She is very animated. She is a bit monotonous at times but a very good speaker. If the member for Griffith wants to talk about integrity, I am happy to do it, because I just do not understand the previous speakers. They all want to talk about the member for Fisher, but he is not even on the MPI. I thank the member for Isaacs for the MPI because I agree with it wholeheartedly—I really do—but let's read the MPI:

The importance of integrity—

Which, obviously, the member for Griffith has just spoken about—

accountability, responsibility, and acting in the public interest in Australia's political system.

I agree with it wholeheartedly. I just do not know why you did not put the member for Fisher in it, if that is what you want to talk about.

But the point is that it is a great MPI. As the member for Petrie, I wholeheartedly believe in this MPI. We should have integrity, accountability, responsibility and public interest in everything that we do. I note that the students up in the gallery are listening to this. I say to them: these are great principles. We should abide by these things here and in everything we do in life. I say to the people of Petrie who elected me: as your federal member, that is what I strive to do every day when I am in this place.

I looked at a few definitions. What is 'integrity'? It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. What is 'accountability'? It is being responsible, or being required or expected to justify actions or decisions. What is 'responsibility'? It is the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something. What is 'public interest'? It is the benefit or advantage of the community as a whole—the public good. All these are great things.

As members of this place, we know that we really do live in the greatest country in the world. We have freedom of race and religion. Business and work opportunities abound. We have a fair and strong democratic voting system, and our Constitution is brilliant. We are also a strong Commonwealth and we have had a strong democracy since we federated in 1901. These four points are all important in what we do. As the member for Petrie, I want to abide by those things every day when I come into this place.

As a federal coalition government, we are getting the budget back under control. We are trying to be 100 per cent responsible for the next generations—like those behind me in the gallery and like my children. But what do we see? Let's look at the facts. In 2007, when the previous federal coalition government left, how much debt did we have? We had zero.


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