On the Budget reply


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (21:13):
I want to make a few comments on a budget speech
I heard tonight, but before doing that I would like to
comment on the previous speaker's discourse on human
rights. I say to her that I thought everything she said
had already been looked after in this parliament by the
Scrutiny of Bill Committee, and one wonders why we
have two of those committees. There is also a human
rights subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee
on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. So we have
three different bodies looking after human rights in this
parliament. I guess a couple more will not hurt!
Before I get onto my budget comments, can I
congratulate Senator Fierravanti-Wells on her speech
on further exposures on the member for Dobell. I just
wonder how long it will be before the unionists who
pay their fees across the union movement in Australia
demand a royal commission into what happens to their
union fees once they get to union HQ. I cannot believe
that the Health Services Union is the only union that
has spawned the sort of conduct we have been reading
about in the Fair Work Australia report. Indeed, I
know my namesakeno relation, I hasten to add
in the New South Wales parliament, a Labor member
by the name of Ian Macdonald, was alleged to have
spent money that was not his. In my own state of
Queensland I cannot on one hand count the number of
former Labor members of parliament who are currently
serving terms in jail for things like fraud and bribery
people like Gordon Nuttall, who was the darling of
the Labor Party in Queensland for many years. Some
would wonder why the people of Queensland were so
eager to get rid of almost every single Labor member in
the Queensland state parliament. My long experience
tells me they are waiting to do the same with every
Labor member, and every Labor senator that they can,
at the next federal election.
I am sure it concerns all senators that, in the case of
the HSU, the money of low-paid workers has been
misused. It appals all of us. But no-one can believe
that it stops there. The sooner there is a full inquiry
into the way union funds are spent around Australia,
the better off the union movement will become and the
better off those few workers in Australia who choose to
contribute to unions will be from the payment of their
money for what they believe is work to be done in their
interests, not in the interests of the few union bosses.
There are a couple of prominent union bosses who we
always see wandering around this placewe see them
on telly; we see them in all parts of the country and
the world. One wonders how they are getting there and
whose funds they are using. We hear of them being at
fairly classy restaurants and we wonder who is paying
for that. I do think that we need a real investigation
and that is something the Gillard government could
well do. Perhaps when Mr Shorten becomes Prime
Minister he might initiate a serious inquiry into just
what happens to union funds.
I have diverted myself a little. I did want to say
what a magnificent budget reply speech I heard in
this parliament tonight. Regrettably it was not in this
chamber. In the other chamber it seemed like thousands
of people applauded non-stop for about 10 minutes
when Mr Abbott finished his speech. They witnessed
what was a magnificent address. As my Facebook page
is running wild saying, what a real Prime Minister
what a magnificent speech from someone who will do
this country proud rather than be an embarrassment.
I am afraid that is the most common comment made
to me by my constituents about the current Prime
Minister. In fact, the most common question I am asked
by my constituents these daysalmost in an accusing
wayis, 'Why can't you get us an election; why can't
you let us have a say on this government' I do explain
to them that numbers count, and when you see the
goodies a couple of Independents have got for their
electorates you would be excused for saying they have
been bribed for their support. Of course I know it is
unparliamentary to accuse those Independent members
of being bribed so I will not say thatbut when you
see all of the things that have gone to their electorates
which most of the electorates in Australia have not got,
you can make up your own terminology.
Mr Abbott tonight gave a very statesmanlike speech,
and so many people in the gallery and so many people
on my Facebook and so many people in phone calls
to my office have said what a magnificent speech
it was; that is what Australia needs from its Prime
Minister. Regrettably, in this chamber, we have the
Greens political party again just rolling over with a few
words of criticism of the current government that they
keep in power, but then we had a speech that more or
less said to the Labor Party that it can do it what it likes;
the Greens will support them under any circumstances.
Even their change of leaderand I have to say the
Greens have been a little bit better behaved since the
change of leadershipdoes not alter the fact that the
Greens political party is really the ultra left wing of the
Labor Party. Perhaps the less said about the Greens'
budget response the better for us all. Again, can I add
to the congratulations of thousands of other Australians
my congratulations to Tony Abbott on a magnificent
budget reply speech tonight.

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