Wednesday, 3 April 2019
The federal seat of Petrie is home to many hardworking Queenslanders who want a hand up in life, not a handout. Petrie is represented in this parliament by one of the hardest-working Australians I've ever had the good fortune of knowing, my friend and colleague Luke Howarth MP.
During the six years that Luke Howarth has been a federal member, he's been fighting for locals and delivering for locals. The Bruce Highway has been upgraded. The Gateway Motorway has been upgraded. The Moreton Bay Rail Link has been built. The Rothwell Roundabout has been fixed. Boundary Road has been upgraded. The Dolphin Stadium has been built. Luke has fought for funding to install CCTV, keeping the community safer. There have been environmental projects, such as solar for local community groups. Of course, there is more funding for schools and hospitals. Luke Howarth is a hardworking, honest man who is delivering for his community. He is exactly the sort of person we need in parliament because he is exactly the type of person who fights for the people of Petrie.
Bill Shorten's candidate for Petrie, Corinne Mulholland, doesn't even come close. She has no real-world experience, having worked for politicians and now the council for her entire career. She was campaigning for a year whilst still employed by the council. She was campaigning for the Labor Party on a cushy, six-figure, taxpayer-funded council salary. Worse, as detailed by The Sydney Morning Heraldon 13 September last year and by the Brisbane Times on 7 November 2018, the Labor candidate is connected to allegations of cronyism and corruption within the council. As the Herald notes, Ms Mulholland controlled much of the mayor's diary and oversaw the council's events and marketing operations. This is the same council that is now under investigation by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission. I call on Ms Mulholland to come forward and detail—
I think it is a shame that at this time of the evening we're subjected to this tirade from Senator McGrath. He's making all sorts of allegations in an outrageous way. I think he should withdraw the allegations he has put.
Firstly, Senator O'Neill, unless you can correct me, I don't gather that anything unparliamentary has been said. I will say that it is not uncommon for adjournment speeches to deal with similar subject matter. I didn't hear anything unparliamentary. I'm happy to be corrected if there is something—
What we're seeing, for those listening at home, is a protection racket from the Labor senators opposite who want to cover this up. I call on Ms Mulholland to come forward and detail her involvement in this dodginess. The allegations are circulating about her. Come forward and detail—
I'm disappointed, Senator Ketter. I could speak for 20 minutes on the mystery behaviour of Labor candidates. This is in addition to the hypocrisy of Bill Shorten's Labor candidate for Petrie on saving the North Lakes Golf Club from being sold to developers. It's an issue which the North Lakes community and Luke Howarth have been passionately advocating against. Luke Howarth has been on the community's side on this issue from the start. It was only since Ms Mulholland saw that the community groundswell was starting to grow that she got onside. This is really suspicious, because Ms Mulholland was previously suspiciously silent on this important community issue. Many have said that it may be due to her close relationship with the council.
The choice for locals in Petrie is between two polar opposites. There's Luke Howarth, who has been working hard and delivering for his constituents. Luke Howarth was a tradie who grew up in Bracken Ridge, who taught at the local judo club and has run his own business. It's Luke Howarth who understands the hard work that goes into providing for and raising a family. He'll always be there for the people of Petrie, making sure it's easier for them to get ahead. Or there's Bill Shorten's Labor candidate. The Labor candidate's been taking advantage of ratepayer money and working for Labor on the clock. The Labor candidate who's never worked outside of the—
Senator McGrath's getting a little excited, and I'm pretty sure he just accused—he didn't say the word 'allegation'—the Labor candidate of taking something, taking money.
What we're seeing opposite here is a protection racket. Labor senators are coming in to try and protect this poorly performing Labor candidate up in Petrie because they know that Luke Howarth is a brilliant local member and Luke Howarth is going to hold Petrie like he did at the last election. The arrogance of Labor—they thought they were going to take Petrie in 2016, and they didn't. There was a swing to Luke Howarth. I guarantee you, Mr President, there'll be a swing to Luke Howarth at this coming election.
The choice is here: you can vote for a Labor candidate with all these allegations hanging over her or you can vote for one of the hardest-working members in parliament, Luke Howarth MP. You can send a message to the protection racket over there, send a message to the Labor Party, and say: are you going to stand up for the real serving members of the community, not these fake plastic Labor people who come in here and get their jobs in the Public Service? Stand up for people like Luke Howarth because they're going to stand up for you. Thank you.