From the Desk

Latest news from Senator James McGrath:

74th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore

Across the ages—through peace and war—the flame of freedom and liberty has shone in the world. In the darkest of times, when it seems that there is only turmoil and sorrow, that flame endures and burns its brightest—its light a beacon calling to men and women of honour, who seek the good and the right. That flame—like the Eternal Flame of Remembrance—is the essence of the human spirit: the birthright of all to seek a better life for themselves, their families and their country.

Public Health Policy

I wish to speak this afternoon on the evils that pertain to the nanny state. In the eternal war against the Left, our opponents take many forms—unwashed student socialists on campus, latte-sipping hipsters in trendy inner-city hangouts, bureaucrats, leftie journalists, and Labor and Green politicians in their ivory towers of condescension. The one thing they all have in common is their hostility towards the fundamental principles that we fight for as warriors of freedom: the liberty of the individual, a free market, small government and low taxes. As I have said before in this place, the simple statement by the Irish politician and freedom fighter in the middle of the Second World War, James Dillon, that 'democracy, freedom and liberty must always be defended' rings loud as a battle cry for those of us who stand for this axis of enlightenment.

Australian National Flag

I wish tonight to talk about the Australian flag. On 3 September 114 years ago, a bit of cloth—a blue flag, our flag—11 metres long and five and a half metres wide was raised for the first time from the main dome of the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, then the home of our Commonwealth parliament. Whether on the battlefield or sporting grounds or diplomatic posts or schools or homes—just like mine on the Sunshine Coast—right across this country, the Australian flag, that blue flag of stars and crosses, has come to symbolise our young Federation and the values for which we stand.

Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment Bill 2015

It gives me great pleasure to rise this evening to speak on the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No. 4) Bill 2015. This is a bill of unrelated tax and super measures. I will go through the three schedules in relation to each element of the bill.

Australian Defence Force Covenant

Today I wish to talk about a recent trip to the Middle East, but more importantly I wish to revisit the issue of an Australian Defence Force covenant. The memory of the Gallipoli landings 100 years ago and the ongoing commemorations of the Anzac spirit have brought the valour and service of the Australian Defence Force to the forefront of our national consciousness. The Australian Defence Force is a contribution, like no other, by brave men and women charged with defending the freedom and liberties that Australians enjoy and take for granted, be that at home or much further abroad. I have spoken previously in this place about the establishment of an Australian Defence Force covenant to recognise and to support the contribution that Defence Force personnel and their families make to our nation.

Banking Laws Amendment Bill 2015

It gives me great pleasure to rise this evening to speak on the Banking Laws Amendment (Unclaimed Money) Bill 2015. This is a very important bill for the savers and the taxpayers of Australia. Under the previous Labor government, over $550 million was raided from 156,000 accounts after Bill Shorten, the then responsible minister, reduced this inactive period for bank accounts from seven years to three years. Effectively, it was the greatest period of bank robbery since Ned Kelly was fandangling around the Victorian bush. This is a good bill because it is on the side of Australian taxpayers and Australian savers. No government should be taking the savings of Australians after such a small period as three years. Returning it to seven years is, I think, an appropriate balance for the taxpayers and savers of Australia.

Bruce McIver and the Bruce Highway

Tonight I want to talk about two Bruces— one briefly and one in more detail. The first is Bruce McIver, the President of the Liberal-National Party, who announced this week that he was stepping down as our president, and his last state executive meeting will be in Longreach on 25 September. On behalf of LNP senators I thank Bruce for his many years of work for our great party, and at a later time I will say more about his work for the cause of freedom and liberty in Queensland.

Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

It gives me great pleasure to rise this evening to talk on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (No. 2) Bill 2015. This bill will introduce three measures into the Social Services portfolio. In the first measure the bill will amend the social security law to streamline the current income management program under a two-year continuation. Income management and the BasicsCard will continue for two additional years to maintain support for existing income management participants. The income management element of the Cape York Welfare Reform will also continue for two additional years to June 2017 in line with the rest of the income management streamlining measures.

Migration Amendment Bill 2015

I rise to speak on the Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015. Protecting our borders and stopping the despicable people-smuggling trade was a key pledge of the coalition government in order to keep Australia safe and secure. We on this side of the chamber are very proud to support strong border security measures. As I said earlier this week, the highest priority of any government is security of the country, and the bill adds to these measures. But before going into the details it is worth highlighting the contrast between the coalition on this side and Labor and the Greens on the other side.

National Science Week