Senate debates

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Answers to Questions

3:01 pm

Photo of Matthew CanavanMatthew Canavan (Queensland, Liberal National Party) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate take note of all questions without notice asked by coalition senators today.

What we saw in question time today, and have seen from the conduct of the government over many months, is that they do kind of miss Joel Fitzgibbon. They really do miss Joel. I miss Joel. I think lots of us miss Joel. This government in particular really misses people like Joel Fitzgibbon, who actually stood up for the rights of workers, stood up for their jobs, and stood up for their industries that helped them pay for their homes and put their kids through school. But, instead, we now have a mob that, notionally, is meant to protect workers' rights but is instead funding the very radical activists that want to put those workers that they're meant to represent out of a job.

It was Joel Fitzgibbon himself over the past week who, at a conference, called out his former Labor colleagues for funding the Environmental Defenders Office, a group of radical climate activists—and I will get to that in a second. Mr Fitzgibbon, a respected statesman of the Labor Party, called his colleagues out, saying they were 'handing taxpayers' money to activists and financing job-destroying legal challenges'. That's exactly what they're doing.

In fact, in recent months the EDO has been using the money that it receives from this government and other governments to defend an individual, Mr Emil Davey, in the courts in Western Australia. Mr Davey has been exposed on CCTV footage scoping out the home of the Woodside CEO just before the infamous protest that occurred there a few months ago. So we have this complete and utter grub here who is scoping out other people's homes. He publicly did this. The government did condemn this conduct, or they did publicly say they didn't accept that protests should occur at people's homes.

He's now in court, being charged with helping organise this terrible trespassing of someone's home, and it's the Labor government that is helping the organisation defend him. That's the Labor government, the people that say they represent workers and say they represent the resources industry that provides good, paying jobs for millions of Australians. They are funding these people who want to put them out of a job. Karl Marx said that it would be the bourgeoisie that dug their own graves. Well, it is the Labor Party here who are funding their own gravediggers by not taking the warnings of Marx, which is quite ironic. If we want to defend jobs in this country and if we want to defend the industries that help fund this whole place in a way, we should not be funding these activists.

The other day it was revealed that half of the company tax revenue that the government are receiving to fund their runaway spending is now coming from the resources industry. It's coming from coal, gas, iron ore, copper, gold and lithium. It's coming from all of those industries, yet here we have a situation where the government is funding the organisations that want to kill that goose that's laying the golden eggs for our nation. Worse than that, by funding one of these groups, the government is disenfranchising other groups that certainly don't have the resources of large-scale green activist organisations. Some of these organisations have budgets of tens of millions of dollars.

This week we've had a group of First Nations people from the Northern Territory who want to see the Barossa project go forward. They want to see gas developed in the waters off the Northern Territory because they view that it will provide their communities with jobs, opportunities and an economic future. Where is the assistance for that group? We had Senator Wong say here today that she supports democracy and she supports helping all these different groups that are underfunded. I don't think green activists are underfunded—not these days, anyway. Certainly this First Nations group from the Northern Territory is underfunded. Where is the funding for them? Why aren't they getting assistance from this government in their fight against a radical greens movement that often goes to Indigenous communities and divides those communities. It tells them a bunch of fairytales and holds their hand while the challenge is on, but as soon as their job is done and the challenge in court is successful they desert them, and there is no future for those towns or areas of our country. The government has to be called out here because it says that it's for jobs and it's for these industries but it's funding the very people who want to kill them.


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