Speeches by Senator James McGrath:


I want to talk about the vexing issue of red and green tape. Before I do that, however, I will digress for a little bit. Today is a sad day for the Liberal-National Party in Queensland. Over the past few weeks, we have seen some longstanding Liberal-National Party members of parliament announce their retirement. In a future debate, I will talk more about their achievements, but tonight I thank Rosemary Menkens, first elected in 2004; Ted Malone, first elected in 1994; Vaughan Johnson, first elected in 1989; and Howard Hobbs, first elected in 1986, for their service to Queensland and their local communities. I hope their retirements are long and that they understand that we will never forget their work over their many years. They all leave big shoes to fill.

Asylum Seekers

Australian Defence Force

I rise to speak about an important issue. It is an issue that I flagged in my first speech to this chamber some three months ago and one that I would like to reiterate here tonight. That is, the need for an Australian Defence covenant. The Australian Defence Force is an institution like no other. It is an institution built upon and maintained by honour, courage, integrity and mateship. It is an institution that serves as the backbone of our society and embodies the fair go egalitarian attitude that makes Australia the place it is today. John Key believes New Zealand to be the best little country in the world. I think Australia is the best middle country in the world.

National Independent Commission Against Corruption

ABC and Student Unions

I was really interested in what happened here earlier this afternoon. I am very new to this place and some of the old hands who are here have said they have never seen anything like it—like the shambles that took place with Labor, the cataclysmic destruction of Labor's position. Sitting on this side of the chamber, looking across at Labor senators, I wondered what the collective noun would be for 'stunned mullets'. I know what it is: it is the Senate Labor caucus. They had no idea what was going on. I shall remember today for a long time. I also hear that Senator Wong's leadership is under attack, that Senator Conroy, who got 98 per cent of the vote for his pre-selection—a very North Korean vote and I congratulate him, I would love to get 98 per cent for my re-preselection hopefully in a few years time. I shudder to think what has happened to the two per cent who did not vote for Senator Conroy. My friends in the gallery understand that Senator Conroy is walking the corridors, doing numbers to rid Labor of Senator Wong. I am not here to talk about the Labor shambles this afternoon.

President Mohamed Nasheed

While the world and those who believe in freedom and democracy mourn the political murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, a state planned judicial assassination of another freedom fighter and opposition leader is underway in the Indian Ocean. Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives, has been arrested on trumped-up charges, denied legal representation and assaulted by police and faces an unfair trial that will ultimately end in the denial of his presidential ambitions.