I wish to add my condolences to those expressed this afternoon in this chamber in remembrance of former senator Russell Trood from Queensland. I did not serve with Russell, but I was the campaign director in 2010 who failed to see get him re-elected—a failure which, I am happy to report, he did not hold against me personally. Looking up at former senator Mason there, in relation to the story of the preferences from the Sex Party, which has become either the truth or an urban myth about how we got Senator Mason over the line, I wish that perhaps the Sex Party had got more votes and we could have got Russell Trood over the line.
It is a pleasure to speak in this matter of public importance debate and to look at the hypocrisy we have already seen in terms of mediocrity in a mere 10 minutes of this debate starting. When I think of mediocrity, I look opposite and I see a sea of mediocrity. It is something that scares me, because the Labor Party, the opposition, are the government in waiting; they are the alternative to my government. When I look at the Labor Party I am scared, I am fearful, because, if we fail to win the next election in 2½ years time, these knuckle draggers opposite, these oxygen thieves, will have their fingers on the levers of power.
It is a great honour to be a senator for Queensland, and it is a great honour to represent the people of Queensland, whether it is dealing with the yellow crazy ants of Far North Queensland or being the patron for the restoration of the World War II igloo on the Atherton Tablelands. It is a great honour, and the LNP carries the torch for all Queenslanders. You only have to look at our Senate team and the senators who represent the LNP to see that we are a diverse team with a lot of senators who bring skills and abilities to the table that are sadly missing in the Labor Party.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.