Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Treasury Laws Amendment (Supporting Australian Farmers) Bill 2018; Second Reading
Again, he's laughing and joking. Whilst people out there are doing away with themselves he is laughing and joking. That is true. He just laughed and joked. Don't say it's not true. It's on the record. The radio will have picked up that you were laughing and joking.
The tragedy of this was that Wayne Swan, former Treasurer, ALP, and Joyce, National Party—not LNP; National Party—are both from outside Queensland, in the sense that their parties are controlled from outside Queensland. They gave $750 million. It was given to the LNP government of Queensland, and they did not go to a reconstruction board. They did not reconstruct the loans. They gave them further debt. Very seldom in my entire life have I heard my son shocked and in trauma, but when the figures came out he said, 'The figures have come out. At the back of Queensland, principally North and Central Queensland, the subject of the cattle collapse'—he's had a lot to do with the cattle collapse, as a result of the ALP's actions on live cattle—'out of 2,500 cattlemen who needed that assistance they have given it to four people.' Four people got that assistance. We worked like dogs down here to get $450 million. God bless former Treasurer Swan, because he took pain in getting the $450 million made available. God bless Barnaby Joyce, because he took pain in getting that money made available. In good faith they gave to it the state government—the LNP government of Queensland—and they gave it to nobody.
I said that we were suffering one suicide every three weeks and I was corrected. A number of people venomously attacked me, because it was one every two weeks in the industry. Don't think about graziers here; think about the contractors, the workers and the businesses that depend upon this industry. But four people got it. The policy of this current government is exactly the same as the policy of the LNP in Queensland. The minister comes out of the LNP in Queensland. It is exactly the same policy.
Now, I've spoken to the Prime Minister personally. I have pleaded on my bended knees to go to a reconstruction board approach. Theodore, Chifley, Curtin, McEwen and Doug Anthony, arguably the greatest men in the political history of this nation, all went to a reconstruction board. They knew what needed to be done. But if you can't go to a reconstruction board then you are simply imposing more pain and more debt upon the people. It is counterproductive in the extreme. Having said those things that needed to be said, I put it before the Prime Minister. I went to see the last Prime Minister. He stared at his watch and he stared out the window. I may as well have had a conversation with a gum tree. The next morning I went down to see Arthur Sinodinos. I told him what had transpired. He, like a good and faithful minister, said nothing. He said: 'Shut up. What do you want?' I named four things. He said, 'Have your chief of staff in my office at 10.30 tomorrow morning.' By half past 11 that day, we had the four things through.
I don't think I contributed in any way to the downfall of Mr Turnbull. I most certainly contributed to the downfall of Julia Gillard. She was responsible for the live cattle decision, and she copped it. What, did she really think that I was going to walk away and not break a leg if someone did that? Running commentary: the minister is talking again at the table. At no stage has he listened to anything we've said, just like the LNP people that went on the inquiry all over Queensland and didn't listen to anything that the people there said. They just won't listen! The second thing that needs to be done is on grain. There has to be feed. A grant to people using grain is absolutely essential. I mean, the cattle have to be fed. To feed the cattle, you have got to do that. I might add, in conclusion, that Hell's Gate would feed a million head of cattle a year. Wouldn't that be a weapon? Hughenden and Charters Towers—two little projects we put before the Prime Minister—would feed 300,000 head of cattle a year. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had that weapon at our disposal as well?