Tuesday, 23 November 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. Can the Deputy Prime Minister confirm that the first chair of Infrastructure Australia was Sir Rod Eddington, who led Cathay Pacific and British Airways and was director of JPMorgan and News Corp? Can he also confirm that the government has decided, but not yet announced, that the new chair of Infrastructure Australia will be the retiring mayor of Tamworth, Col Murray, who has described himself as 'a fairly solid Barnaby supporter'?
What is wrong with the former mayor of Tamworth? Does he not have quite enough letters after his name to be considered worthy by the Labor Party—a person who has been in the construction industry for 25 years; a person who was one of the leading mayors in New South Wales; a person who has underpinned the growth of one of our great regional cities?
But, of course, what we see on the Labor Party side is that, once we start having someone from a regional area, the Labor Party doesn't like that. They are not quite good enough for the Labor Party. That goes to show in grand form how the Labor Party does not believe in regional Australia. The Labor Party doesn't want representation from regional Australia at a prominent level. In fact, the member for Ballarat, of all people, came and absolutely back slammed a regional person.
Opposition members interjecting—
What would you have said about Chifley—that his train wasn't big enough? What has happened to the Labor Party? Unless you are endowed with more letters after your name than the alphabet, they say that you are not good enough. The academic snobs now reside on the other side. Once we had a problem with them just being sneaky; now they are sneaky snobs. This is what we are getting. It's a new world order.
So we can say to the people of regional Australia: if you get yourself a Labor government, get ready to get sacked, because they don't believe in regional people. They don't believe in the coalminers. They don't believe in people who've done an honest day's work standing in a private business, building it up and then going into community service as a senior mayor of a senior regional city in Australia. It's not good enough for the Labor Party: 'Oh, no; you've got to live in Grayndler if you want a job in this joint; you've got to come from Grayndler.' How am I going—alright?
Yes, on a point of order, given that he gave himself up that he wasn't being relevant. He is not being relevant to the question. This is about the qualifications for a serious job, the chair of Infrastructure Australia. From a government that promised to reappoint Sir Rod Eddington to that job prior—
Completely relevant, Mr Speaker. We go back to the conceit of those people on the other side, who believe 'sandstone Sandy' is the only person who could possibly lead Infrastructure Australia. The Labor Party believes that a person who did an honest job—
You've already had one point of order. You can't have two. You should know that.