Things to read while stuck at home

Dear Friend,

Don’t Mention the ‘C’ Word

In this time of crisis, protecting our national sovereignty by saving lives and livelihoods is the objective of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and your Liberal National Government.

I write to you from Canberra where the Parliament sat today to pass the $130 billion JobKeeper programme to help keep more Australians in jobs. This is on top of our support for householdsbusinesses and the flow of credit.

I’m not going to mention the ‘C’ word in this email. We shouldn't be defined by a virus emanating out of China but by our actions, motives and deeds as we deal with the impact of a world thrown into an unhinged axis of death, health and economic pain.

While we open our eyes to the seriousness of our predicament, we should never close our sense of the dream that is Australia. We should listen to the Prime Minister, National Cabinet and health officials.

For the latest advice, please visit www.australia.gov.au as your first point of call. Otherwise, you can contact my office using the details listed below.

We are all in this together.

Local Elections

Many of our party members across Queensland – too many to mention by name – either stood for or helped with local government elections on 28 March. Thank you to everyone for all of your work.

For those of you who have won or will win: let’s work together over the coming years to fight for Queensland. And for those of you who missed out this time: thank you for putting yourself forward to serve your local community. But let’s also work together – many hands make light work!

You may already know this but it’s worth reminding that Brisbane City Council has the largest budget and population of any local government area in Australia. And on this day last year, Adrian Schrinner replaced Graham Quirk as Lord Mayor.

The LNP first won the Lord Mayoralty with Campbell in 2004, and majority control in 2008. Brisbane has the longest-serving administration of any political party in Australia – meaning years of good economic management, stability and service delivery. On 28 March, not only did we retain the Lord Mayoralty, but also held onto 19 out of the 26 Wards thanks to the incredible work of the Lord Mayor, Deputy Krista Adams, LNP HQ and City Hall team. This is in a city where we only hold four state seats. Unsurprisingly, most of the media missed the significance...

To our LNP candidates who sadly didn’t get across the line – Kimberley Washington in Deagon, Roger Hooper in Forrest Lake, Megan Piccardi in Wynnum Manly, Nathaniel Jones in The Gabba, Maurice Lane in Tennyson, Warren Craze in Moorooka and Toby Moore in Morningside – thank you for flying the flag.

Sadly, the Electoral Commission of Queensland proved themselves to lack even the most basic skills, such as counting.

State By-Elections

Firstly, in the safe Labor seat of Bundamba, our LNP candidate Rob Shearman, SEC Chair Jon Janetski and local party members did you proud!

In Currumbin, Laura Gerber held off what was otherwise a well-funded Labor onslaught in a marginal seat – an insightful precursor to Labor’s tactics ahead of the State Election later this year.

No matter where you live, we should always give Queenslanders the opportunity to vote for smaller government, lower taxes and greater freedom. Both Laura, Rob and their campaign teams know that. But even during this most difficult time, we must hold Labor to account.

Loo Paper

I spent a few years as a teenager living in Innisfail, where shelves were stripped when cyclones approached. But it never isolated to just loo paper. For the life of me, I can’t comprehend why there was a mad, unhinged, barmy run on loo paper. People are weird sometimes, aren’t they?

All Government Spending On-line

Now more than ever, we need to ensure taxpayers know where their money is being spent.

In good news – not only was Teresa Harding elected Mayor of Ipswich, but as part of her ‘Sunlight Project’ – she committed to publishing all awarded contracts and spending over $10,000 as machine-readable open data each month.

General Motors Holden

It’s important that the media don’t provide an alibi for bad behaviour by focusing solely on the current crisis. The bad behaviour I’m talking about, of course, is the actions of General Motors Holden. Put simply, their treatment of Holden dealers, car owners and the many thousands of impacted families is a disgrace.

Recently in the Senate, I gave General Motors a succinct analysis of their deficient corporate conduct.

In addition to supporting the Senate Education and Employment References Committee inquiry into certain aspects of General Motors’ conduct as Deputy Chair, I’ll be writing to the ACCC asking for their examination of additional issues. Watch this space.

Reg Reform

Politicians often promise to cut red tape. It’s a bit like motherhood and apple pie – promises are made with good intent but more often than not fail, as it’s a three-stage cycle:

  1. Red tape is cut but it's the easy low-hanging fruit variety;
  2. It all becomes a bit too hard and nothing really happens; and
  3. Red tape increases.

Proposals to reduce red tape by just cutting the number of regulations along the lines of a ‘one in / one out’ or ‘one in / two out’ are based on a false premise, namely, that all regulations have the same regulatory impact. In reality, different regulations can have differing regulatory impacts – in other words, some may be light and others heavy.

To properly reduce regulation, we must look beyond the number figure of regulations and dig into the number of impacts within each regulation. I appreciate there are a few other issues on the agenda, but I’m proposing the following:

  • A public audit of all regulatory impacts across government to determine the total number by each department;
  • Ministers and departmental secretaries to be tasked with reducing the number of regulatory impacts; and
  • Each Minister and department to report progress to parliament every six months.

If you have any ideas on ways to reduce red (and green) tape, please email me.

Washing Your Hands

Did you really need to be told to wash your hands? I didn’t think so.

Paradise Dam

Just like we shouldn't allow General Motors to use the pandemic as an alibi for bad behaviour, the Queensland Labor Government’s many scandals should not be forgotten. Exhibit A is the scandal of Paradise Dam.

Cat Video Update

Darcy.jpg
Darcy the cat 'watching' the Prime Minister.

While the news is full of gloom, these elephants should make you smile while these dogs (especially the one on the right) appear very happy. But perhaps not as happy as these two kids. The British Spectator recommends eight films about isolation to watch while in err... isolation. If this is too depressing, President Reagan has some good, clean jokes about the Soviet Union.

And if we're stepping back in time, Belfast in 1976 might as well be on Mars compared to the modern Belfast of today. Not everything about the 1970s involved Fenian and loyalist terrorists as we had the confirmed bachelor Mr Humphries from Are You Being Served and the 'he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy' scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

My friend Jack wanted me to put this Garth Brooks & Blake Shelton song in the email and considering that Kenny Rogers has gone to the great concert in the sky, here he is with Dolly Parton. Although this family singing ‘One More Day’ from Les Miserables is pretty good.

Even republicans will like this flirtatiously starchy scene with Princess Anne from The Crown and this trailer for Series Three has a great musical backdrop.

My Nambour Electorate Office

My Nambour electorate office is closed to in-person meetings but will remain staffed. We will be available via phone on 07 5441 1800 and email at Senator.McGrath@aph.gov.au to address any concerns or questions you may have.

Last Words

As Her Majesty said, 'we will succeed... we will meet again'.

Regards,
James

PS   This clip of Greta Thunberg’s parents is still funny.

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