Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (17:07): That is typical of the Greens political party. They do anything possible to destroy Australian industry and jobs, particularly in the tourism and mining areas. Today, I highlight the Greens political party's continuing attack on tourism in Australia. You will recall it was the Greens political party that ran the scare campaign about Queensland's Great Barrier Reef, a reef that attracts millions of tourists from everywhere, who all indicate that the Barrier Reef is one of the most magnificent sites they have ever seen. The reef continues to be in that category and continues to be protected.
Senator Siewert is leaving the chamber, but, unfortunately, Senator Siewert never gives credit to the only government that has ever done anything serious about marine protected areas in Australia. Senator Siewert was around, I think, when the Howard government first introduced an oceans policy. It was the first time that had ever happened in Australia. As a result of that oceans policy, back in the early days of the Howard government, when Senator Hill was the Minister for the Environment—and I think I might have been Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment at the time—the Australian government did what was then a world first: it established an oceans policy which included several marine protected areas. Do you ever hear the Greens giving credit to the coalition for that? Do you ever hear them attacking the Labor Party for never doing anything for our marine reserves and marine protected areas? Do you ever hear the Greens giving credit to the Howard government for the biggest increase in green zones on the Great Barrier Reef ever? That was a decision made by the Howard government which, I have to say—and I was pretty involved in it—attracted a lot of criticism from the fishing industries. I was then Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, but it was something that the Howard government thought was right, so it did it. But did the Greens political party ever give any credit where it was due?
I continue to be amazed at the way the Greens political party will never acknowledge what is effectively the only political party—the Liberal and National party—that has done anything positive for our oceans and our marine protected areas. What they do instead is continue with this vicious campaign to denigrate some of the great attractions of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef and the Ningaloo Reef, in the west of the country. These reefs are carefully managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which was set up by none other than a Liberal government, some years ago. Is that ever acknowledged by the Greens political party? Of course not—because, unless it is the Labor Party that has done it, they never give credit. With anything that the Liberal and National governments do, the Greens and the Labor Party will always join together in very often baseless and usually hypocritical attacks on a government that has been serious about the environment and continues to be serious about the environment.
I was up in my office, working away as normal, and I heard this debate come on. I knew immediately the approach that the Greens political party would take, because they never do anything themselves. They are in this position as a party that will never be in government, in spite of some wishful thinking by Senator Di Natale in the press on the weekend. They will never be in government, so they do not have to worry. They can just say whatever they like, knowing that they will never have to run a nation that has so many different facets of government, all of which require attention—one of them being the financial affairs of the country, which was the subject of the previous debate. So, while you will never get it from the Greens, I pay tribute to the Fraser, Howard and current Liberal-National party governments for their great work in protecting marine areas.
Question agreed to.
The following documents tabled earlier today (see entry no. 2) were considered:
Environment—Marine protection—Letter to the President of the Senate from the Minister for the Environment (Mr Hunt) responding to the resolution of the Senate of 12 October 2015. Motion to take note of document moved by Senator Siewert, debated and agreed to.
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)—Report for 2014-15. Motion to take note of document moved by Senator Macdonald. Debate adjourned till Thursday at general business, Senator Macdonald in continuation.
Australian Research Council (ARC)—Corporate plan 2015-16 to 2018-19. Motion to take note of document moved by Senator Macdonald. Debate adjourned till Thursday at general business, Senator Macdonald in continuation.
Australian Research Council (ARC)—Report for 2014-15. Motion to take note of document moved by Senator Macdonald. Debate adjourned till Thursday at general business, Senator Macdonald in continuation.