Senate debates

Monday, 29 July 2019

Bills

Health Insurance Amendment (Bonded Medical Programs Reform) Bill 2019; Second Reading

9:46 pm

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

On this side of the chamber we call it humility. It is important to make this point because it goes to the heart of this issue—regional representation and the extent to which people who come to the Senate representing regional areas either mock the contributions of people like Senator Roberts or fail to make solid contributions of their own.

I have two other points on the performance of the Australian Labor Party in Queensland. We all know that Queensland is one of the most regionally diverse states in Australia—I think probably second only to Tasmania. So the issues that we're talking about in this particular bill, which is about addressing workforce shortages in rural communities, are very important. When people listen to the contribution of Labor senators tonight and tomorrow they should bear these electoral statistics in mind. I have two final statistics before I go to the heart of what we're talking about here.

The first point is that the ALP received their lowest primary vote in 85 years, recording only 33.3 per cent in 2019. Their worst result was in 1934 with 26.8 per cent. Finally, the ALP preference flow in Senator Watt's home state of Queensland fell from 57.9 per cent in 2016 to just 50.2 per cent in 2019. The coalition gained the seats of Longman, with a swing of plus four per cent, and Herbert, with a swing of plus eight per cent, leaving the ALP with only six out of the 30 seats in Queensland. That's a very important point when you think about those 30 seats in Queensland and the number of seats that are predominantly regional seats.

Moving to the substantive issue this evening, I'm drawn to this particular debate because I want to reflect on an article that was published—

Debate interrupted.

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