1 year ago




84 SENATE Tuesday, 14 February 2017 trying to get to the bottom of exactly what members of this government knew about the expansion of this training facility prior to last year's election. To recap briefly, just before last year's election the LNP, led by defence minister Marise Payne, went to the election with a big announcement talking about jobs and dollars that were going to be ploughed into Central Queensland as a result of the expansion of this training facility under a deal with the Singaporean government. Of course, the one thing that was missing from their announcement is the thing that we are finally starting to learn— that all along they intended that prime agricultural land would be compulsorily acquired as part of this expansion. Over the last couple of months we have had minister after minister talk about what they knew and did not know and deny that they knew that compulsory acquisitions were required. They tried to blame it on the defence department, and all the while Rockhampton and Central Queensland residents and businesses and farmers were left without any information from the government about what exactly they intended. They were told by one minister that there were not going to be any compulsory acquisitions. They were told by other ministers that there would be. There was mass confusion and mass distress right throughout the region, across Central Queensland. The one thing that was impossible to find out for sure was what government members and ministers knew about this expansion and the need for compulsory acquisitions prior to the election. What we now finally know, based on the answers that have been extracted, painfully, from Senator Payne, the Minister for Defence, over the course of this week, is that she was advised by her department prior to the election that this expansion was going to require compulsory acquisition of land. The very strange thing about this is that neither she nor any other member of this government had the courtesy, the honesty or the decency to level with Central Queenslanders and tell them that this expansion of Shoalwater Bay and the dollars that were going to come with it were going to come at a price and the price was going to be the need for compulsory acquisitions of properties which supply tens of thousands of cattle to the beef market in Central Queensland. So we finally now know that the Minister for Defence was advised prior to the election that compulsory acquisitions were required. The thing we still do not know and still do not have a clear answer on is what the two federal LNP representatives in Central Queensland—Senator Canavan, the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, and Michelle Landry, the member for Capricornia—were told prior to the election. They have been getting around Central Queensland in the last couple of months trying to say that they did not know until after the election, that they were not really sure when they were told. 'Please don’t ask me when I knew or what I knew. Go and talk to someone else about that.' I can assure people in Central Queensland that the opposition is still very much committed to finding out what was known by their federal LNP representatives. It absolutely defies belief that the Minister for Defence of this country could be tripping around the countryside, making election announcements right throughout Central Queensland, talking about the benefits of this deal; it defies belief that that sort of announcement could be made when the minister has finally admitted that she knew prior to the election that acquisitions were going to be required; and it defies belief that she would not have told her ministerial colleague Senator Canavan and the local member Michelle Landry that these acquisitions were going to be required. It also defies belief that the Deputy Prime Minister, who is the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and a member of the National Security Committee, was not himself informed about the need for compulsory acquisitions. The only alternative, if these people did not know, is that they are completely out of the loop. And what sort of local member does the member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, say she is if she is so irrelevant to government discussions that she is not even aware that a massive announcement is going to require the compulsory acquisitions of properties in her electorate? It is worth remembering that Capricornia turned on just over 1,000 votes and was the seat that delivered government. Profession Clive Bean from QUT has come out today and said that Michelle Landry would not have won this seat. I encourage Rockhampton residents to complain. Victoria: Crime Senator HINCH (Victoria) (19:40): It is always good when you can take a line from Shakespeare and adapt it for home consumption. So: something is rotten in the state of Victoria—really rotten: street crime, gang crime, home invasions, carjackings, prison riots and a court system that lets a man out on bail, despite strenuous police opposition, resulting in carnage in the Bourke Street Mall. Melbourne, my Melbourne, is barely recognisable as a place that keeps getting voted 'the most liveable city in the world'. It is hard to see us winning next year. The state opposition leader, Matthew Guy, said the other day: 'Every day we're seeing riots, we're seeing crime waves'. And he said of the Andrews administration: 'This is a government who is standing by and allowing Melbourne to become the Johannesburg of the South Pacific.' That should be 'which is standing by' but I agree with the sentiment. CHAMBER

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 SENATE 85 Not only Melbourne, but throughout Victoria, crime is rampant. It is out of control. In Caroline Springs on Saturday night, dozens of Sudanese youths—and I will identify them as Sudanese even though it is politically incorrect to do so—terrorised and terrified families at a community fireworks night, running through the crowd snatching mobile phones and handbags, punching anyone who resisted. Once the fireworks started and people started using their mobile phones to take pictures, the gang struck. One eyewitness said it was like the running of the bulls. Another witness said, 'They had no fear, no respect for authority'. Obviously not. One teenager was bashed and had his phone stolen right outside the Caroline Springs police station. I said they have no respect for authority. Why would they? They are treated with kid gloves. Reportedly, troublemakers get ice-cream and pizzas in juvenile detention as rewards for behaving themselves. Why would they, when a department spokesman referring to the latest prison riot, yet another one, actually referred to rioting prisoners as 'clients'? They are criminals, prisoners. They are not clients. Although, the way the current government treats them, you can understand if they see themselves as clients or customers. On 3AW last week Neil Mitchell found a bombshell of a line in the small print in an ombudsman's report. It turns out that, after rioting juveniles ransacked their Malmsbury and Parkville detention centres and were sent to country prisons, the government decided that it would be the decent thing to have their parents visit them and that it would be fair and decent for you the taxpayer to pay for it. They forked out for taxis and Uber rides for the folks to get there from Melbourne—I guess at around $200 to $300 a time. I do not know, although I would bet on it, that the taxpayers even paid for their motel or hotel expenses. Ignore the fact that the only reasons these young crims were in the country jails was because they destroyed their city abode. A cynic would say it is a surprise that they are even in jail because they usually get bailed so easily—some of them eight or nine times. Thugs repeatedly are given chance after chance out on bail and go on to commit further offences. The justice system and magistrates continue to put the offender first and the victim and community protection last. I have talked to a lot of police. They all say the current court system of granting bail to an accused is utterly frustrating and at times dangerous to the community. Police keep trying to remand the accused person until they hit the court system. But more often than not they are released on court bail, despite concerns by the police: exhibit A—Adrian Bayley, rapist and killer of Jill Meagher; exhibit B—Jimmy Gargasoulas, Bourke Street Mall; exhibit C—Sean Price, killer of Masa Vukotic. Exhibit D is still to come. It could be any day soon. Melbourne is currently going through an extraordinary wave of carjackings and violent home invasions which are apparently not happening anywhere else in Australia. One of the problems I think is the VicPol policy to not tell it like it is, to be politically correct. It takes me back to the days when Christine Nixon was Police Commissioner. There were African gangs terrorising Kensington. I remember saying on 3AW that 'Mrs Doubtfire' had instructed police not to call them 'African gangs'—or even 'gangs'. Jesus wept. How much have they learnt since? Mollycoddling does not work. Ignoring reality does not work. The way things are going in Victoria, my state's next number plate slogan should not be 'Victoria: The Garden State' or 'Victoria: The Place To Be'; it should be 'Victoria: The Crime State'. Palliative Care Tasmania Senator BILYK (Tasmania) (19:45): Yesterday, this Senate condemned the Turnbull government for its failure to secure the future of Palliative Care Tasmania. I would like to thank my colleague Senator Polley for cosponsoring the motion and the Senate for supporting it. I know I have raised this issue several times in this place, but I do so again, because the closure of Palliative Care Tasmania is now imminent. In fact, I understand that, without further funding, they could end up closing their doors as early as this week. As I pointed out in the motion, Palliative Care Tasmania were funded to deliver the Networking End of Life Care Across Tasmania Project. Over the past four years, through this project, they have delivered education and information about palliative care, end-of-life care, death, dying, grief and bereavement to over 15,000 Tasmanians. This is an amazing achievement. When Labor funded this project four years ago, Palliative Care Tasmania was given a target to deliver education to 1,000 people, yet they have reached over 15,000. Despite this amazing success, there is still a massive unmet demand for their services—demand which they, sadly, no longer have the capacity to meet, because their funding has run out. Even last week, Palliative Care Tasmania had to knock back seven requests for training from aged-care facilities. That is one request every day. Darren Mathewson, the CEO of Aged and Community Services Tasmania—the peak body for aged care in Tasmania—said that the closure of Palliative Care Tasmania will reduce his sector's workforce development. Mr Mathewson told the media: The aged care industry needs ongoing support in this area of core business to ensure our workforce is adequately skilled and supported and we are building capability across the industry. CHAMBER