Thursday, 13 February 2020
Matters of Public Importance
Today's MPI is 'the failure of the government to focus on the needs of Australians'. Those on the other side have lost their way when it comes to focusing on Australians, particularly coalminers in this country. At the moment the vision that those who sit on the other side of this chamber have is very bleak for that industry. I was brought up in Central Queensland. I went to an all-boys boarding school there and a lot of the guys I went to school with went and worked in the coalmines. Their fathers worked there. My father worked in the coalmine. He was a white-collar worker.
Most of the coal industry guys, rightfully, have belonged to a union of some type and have during their lives predominantly supported those on the other side, the Australian Labor Party. Every time I catch up with my school alma mater, whether it's at an old-boys reunion for the boarding school or elsewhere, more and more of them say to me: 'I can no longer support the Australian Labor Party. They used to represent us. They no longer do.' Increasingly those who wear high-vis and work in the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland are supporting us, and this is not just at the federal level.
I remember my state colleague Jim Pearce, the member for Fitzroy. He was an absolute gentleman. He came up through the coalmine ranks. He was an electrician. Jim originally came from Mount Morgan and was one of Labor's gentlemen. Unfortunately, he lost his seat in Fitzroy. It was unthinkable that the seat of Fitzroy in Queensland could be lost by Labor.