Queensland Government

I love being a Queenslander. I love our state. We have great beaches; we have great farmland and landscapes.

Senator O'Sullivan interjecting—

Senator McGRATH: Thank you, Senator O'Sullivan, for your warm support. We have people who are never backwards in coming forwards in telling us politicians to get back in our box. We have glorious weather: we have Bundaberg rum; we have everything going for us.

I was up in Townsville on the weekend with the state council of the Liberal National Party. It was a very good meeting. We had lots of motions debated and passed. It came to me when Campbell Newman was speaking that we have one of the best governments in Australia, if not the best government in Australia with this fantastic Liberal National Party government.

Senator Polley interjecting—

Senator McGRATH: You knew it was coming. You knew where I was going to go. I am disappointed that you waited so long. There are so many of the Newman government's positive achievements since their election in March 2012. I could talk all night on the wonderful achievements of the Newman government. Please bear with me while I give you some highlights of the achievements of this great government. I know that Labor senators want me to do this.

Before I get to Campbell and his government, let's talk about the Labor Party; let's talk about their little box of secrets, their esky of badness, their chilli bin of truth. What is the truth about the Labor Party in Queensland? Labor have squandered the last 2½ years. Instead of coming up with policies and ideas, do you know what Labor in Queensland have done? They have stood to the sidelines carping. They are experts in naysaying, whingeing and scaremongering. No-one likes a whiner. But I tell you what, the Labor Party in Queensland are good at whining because that is all they do. They have opposed the reform of the Liberal National Party. They do not stand for paying off the debt. It is like the Blinky Bill of Queensland politics—someone will come along with a magic pudding and pay it all off. The Labor Party in Queensland will not make the tough decisions with their mix of voodoo hoodoo economics.

You are led by the leader of no, the captain of negativity. Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Australian Labor Party's state representatives have given Queenslanders nothing to vote for. Queenslanders should not be fooled.

Senator Polley interjecting—

Senator O'Sullivan: Madam chair, I cannot hear the speaker. I am very interested in this subject.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I am not quite sure that is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth but, nonetheless, order senators. Senator McGrath has the call.

Senator McGRATH: I would love some good interjections but we have just got lots and lots of noise at the moment. Please put some good interjections. Please tell me some reasons why the Labor Party in Queensland should be defended. Queenslanders should not be fooled: a vote for the ALP's is a vote for no new ideas, no new plans and a number of recycled MPs who were turfed out at the last election, and who in 2009 lied and fibbed their way back into office. They promised not to sell assets. Anna Bligh and the Labor Party said they would not sell any assets. Guess what they did? On the Sunday after the election there was an ad in the Sunday Mail selling the assets of Queensland. People in Queensland should not trust the Labor Party.

Let us talk about the election campaign in 2012. I do have a conflict of interest here: I was involved with the campaign where Labor MPs and Labor headquarters ran one of the most despicable dirty campaigns in Australian history, where they targeted the wife of the leader of the Liberal National Party. So instead talking about policies or talking about the issues, they targeted Lisa Newman. Shame on the Queensland Labor Party. What is disappointing is that Labor have not learnt. They will do anything and they will say anything to get into power. They will get into bed with the Greens, they will get into bed with the Palmer United Party, they will get into bed with Katter and they will get into bed with anyone to get back into power because this is the modern Labor Party in Queensland.

Uncertain times like this are when Queensland needs a strong team with a strong plan for a stronger Queensland. One of the things that Campbell and the government in Queensland have done is have a 30-year plan for the future. Name me one government in Australia that has sat down with the people of their state or territory and said: let's have a long-term plan of where we see this state going. The government of Queensland undertook a massive consultation exercise with community representatives where they sat down and asked: where do we see this state in 30-years' time because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Campbell Newman and the government in Queensland have a plan to make sure that the state of Queensland has a strong direction in looking after public services, making sure the economy is looked after and that Queensland knows where it is going.

We could talk about job creation. There have been 44,000 new jobs created since 2012 election. In Queensland we have created over half the new jobs that have been created in Australia since 2012. This has not happened by chance. There is a strong team in Queensland. I think Australia's this Treasurer is Tim Nicholls, a fantastic Treasurer. We have Australia's best Premier and Jeff Seeney as Deputy Premier driving infrastructure, making sure that we have got the roads and bridges of the 21st century in Queensland.

Where Labor goes very quiet is when we come to debt because Labor do not like to talk about debt. It is sort of like the elephant in the room for them. I challenge any Labor senators who are in the chamber tonight to tell me how much, after 20 years of Labor government, debt was left in Queensland? What is the interest bill? Lots. There is $85 billion worth of debt.

Senator Polley interjecting—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! We could do with a little more calm in the chamber for this speech and a bit more respect for the senator speaking. Senator McGrath has the call.

Senator McGRATH: Thank you, Madam Acting Deputy President. I hear the phrase 'comedy hour'. The debt of Queensland is not a laughing matter. Do you know what it is? It is an annual interest bill of $4 billion. People listening at home and fellow Queenslanders, Labor thinks that your $4 billion annual interest bill on a debt is going to hit $85 billion—would have hit $85 billion under Labor—is a laughing matter. The issue with debt is it means that when you are paying off the interest bill, you are not putting the money into public services, you are not putting money into schools and education. What we have got to do in Queensland like what we have got to do federally is make sure that we get the economy and the debt under control so we can put more money into the health system, so we can put more money into the education system. We can stop wasting money on government expenditure that is not needed.

In the final 10 years of Labor's reign—and it was a reign in Queensland—the Labor Party set themselves up as an almost one-party state, because sometimes my side of politics was not particularly flash at winning elections. Labor ran this one party state in Queensland where for the last 10 years government expenditure increased by an average of 8.9 per cent a year—8.9 per cent a year is how much it went up each year. From 2012 to 2013 and 2014, it increased by just 1.2 per cent a year.

We normally hear Labor talking about the impact on services. Let's talk about the dental waiting list. Let's talk about the money we put into services. How many people were on the dental waiting list when Labor were turfed out in 2012? I will tell you—here it is: 61,405 according to my notes. Do you know how many people are on the dental waiting list now? None; zero—there are no people on the dental waiting list.

Ambulance response times—down; things like that. Another hundred front-line staff—

Senator O'Sullivan: Violent crime on the Gold Coast.

Senator McGRATH: Let's talk about violent crime on the Gold Coast. Let's talk about the war on bikies. Let's talk about the war on those outlaw motorbike gangs. Let's talk about the crime on the Gold Coast. Since Campbell Newman, the government and Jarrod Bleijie, the Attorney-General, put the VLAD laws, these anticriminal gang bike laws, through parliament—opposed by Labor, opposed by the Independents and all the other sooks around this place—do you know what has happened on the Gold Coast? Crime has plummeted. Crime has gone down by—

Senator O'Sullivan: Through the floor.

Senator McGRATH: It has gone massively through the floor. It is almost a crime scene—it is fantastic what has happened to crime on the Gold Coast. People love it. Schoolies on the Gold Coast can feel safe because: do you know what? They are not being preyed upon by drug-pushing bikies. That is a good thing for mums and dads listening: send your kids to Queensland—

Senator O'Sullivan: Who done that?

Senator McGRATH: Campbell Newman did it, Senator O'Sullivan. This is a good thing. This government is a government that has delivered. It has delivered a greater budget to health. It has delivered a greater budget towards fighting crime—800 extra police on the beat. This is police in uniform out there arresting criminals. But if you want to listen to the Labor Party and the Greens and their friends in the hippy movement, it is all about protecting the bikies. We are about protecting families. We are about protecting the economy in Queensland, making sure there are jobs for Queenslanders and that Queenslanders get the training and the education, because guess what? Queensland is the best state in the country. (Time expired)