House debates

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Statements by Members

Dawson Electorate

9:39 am

Photo of James BidgoodJames Bidgood (Dawson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I wish to put on record my thanks to the Prime Minister and the federal cabinet for making the decision to visit Mackay this Sunday, 29 June. They will be holding a cabinet meeting and public forum at the Mackay North State High School. Registration takes place between 11 am and 12.45 pm, and there will be light refreshments. The public forum commences at 1 pm, when the Prime Minister will address the gathering until 2 pm. There will also be pre-arranged meetings with cabinet ministers from 2.15 pm to 3.15 pm.

This is a fantastic way for democracy to come to the people. So often in my electorate of Dawson people from Mackay to Townsville, a distance of 400 kilometres, have said: ‘Government is so remote from the people. How do they know what we are thinking and feeling and our views?’ Well, Kevin Rudd and this government are showing that they have got up, moved out of Canberra and are coming to the people. This truly is grassroots democracy. This has never been done before in the seat of Dawson. Never before has the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and virtually the full cabinet come to the seat of Dawson. This has sent a very clear message to the people of Dawson that this is a new government, with new ideas and new ways of conducting the democratic process.

I am pleased to say also today that it is now official that Chalco, the Chinese aluminium company, have, as of yesterday, signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government to position their new refinery at Abbot Point, 20 kilometres north of Bowen. Only seven days ago in this Main Committee I once again mentioned in a speech that I believed this was the best place for Chalco to go. I am pleased, and I thank the Chinese for making that decision. This is going to be something like the beginning of Gladstone. I want to pay tribute to Mayor Mike Brunker and to the state member, Jan Jarratt, who have held the torch for this vision for so long. I am glad to completely endorse and work with these levels of government.

This morning it gives me great pleasure to welcome to the parliament and to show around the students from a local school of mine, St Joseph’s Catholic School in Mackay. It has given me great pleasure to receive schools here and to show children how democracy works and how they can see democracy in action. We should be proud that we are a leading-edge democracy in Australia and that someone can watch these proceedings on the other side of the world via the internet. (Time expired)