Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.
Firstly, to Lawrence Springborg, our President, to all of the State Executive members, to Councillors here today, delegates, observers; thank you very much for your love of our Party, for your love of our great state and for your love of our nation.
I’ve been a proud member of this Party for a long time and my great, great, great grandparents in 1863 became dairy farmers in Albany Creek — only a stones throw from here, a great part of the world – it’s now of course known as ‘Mander country’ — it was known as Dutton country for a little while, but I’ve been living in his shadow for a long period of time now. So, Tim thank you for your kind words earlier on. A great state Member.
I acknowledge all of our elected representatives here today, in particular to my federal parliamentary colleagues.
I want to start with the star of the show, that is Cameron Caldwell. Cameron won the by-election in Fadden in difficult circumstances, with every Labor resource thrown against us. The grubby money campaign that we see from the union movement. Cameron Caldwell prevailed because he’s a great local member, he’s proved to be a great, effective Member in the House already. Would you please congratulate Cameron Caldwell?
Michelle Landry; I was up in Rocky the other day, she’s a superstar on the ground, as you know. She’s had everything thrown at her, but she pushed back, she built her margin up, she has enormous respect on the ground. Michelle, it’s great to see you and your team here today as well.
To Col Boyce, who’s hit the microphone already – it doesn’t take much encouragement to get Col up and speaking on issues — but again, a great contributor to our Party in Canberra.
Paul Scarr; Paul does a fantastic job, particularly with the communities here in Brisbane, in greater Brisbane – the ethnic communities where we need to do more with, to have more connection with — they share our values: our values of small business, of family and of hard work, and educating their children, and Paul does a fantastic job.
To Scotty Buchholz; who’s well known to all of you, does a great job in the transport sector, keeps us honest and makes sure that the hard work he does in his electorate pays dividends for our Party at a state and federal level. So Scotty, thank you for all that you do.
To Gerrard Rennick, who is across the back there; Gerrard, you’re a great contributor, again, this week to our Party Room. There are many people who have re-joined our Party because of the great work that you do, and I was speaking to a couple of them earlier on.
To Angie Bell, on the Gold Coast – Angie, welcome to the better side of town, here on the north side — thank you very much for the work you’re doing in a very important area of childcare and that early development piece is going to be something you hear a lot more from us on.
To Henry Pike, who has run a fantastic campaign in relation to the Voice, along with Luke Howarth sitting beside him. Both grassroots members, great examples of people who work hard for their community and they’re rewarded because of it.
To Keith Pitt, as well, who’s sitting at the back of the room; Keith’s often ahead of many debates – he stands up for what he believes in and his community respect him and reward him for doing that — so Keith, thank you very much.
To Llew O’Brien, who’s trying to hide in the background, a few rows back, but he’s worn the same shirt as the bloke beside him so he’s standing out.
Matt Canavan; Matt, you’re a great contributor to our cause. Again, willing to speak up and fight for issues that you believe in — so thank you very much for being here.
I also want to give a great shout out to the Dickson FDC members who are here today: people who have worked hard, they have been up against it on many campaigns here since 2001, and they have worked in a way that means we have kept a marginal seat in LNP hands for all that time. So would you please give all of my dear friends and close family sitting here a round of applause.
Susie, I didn’t miss you – well I did, but now I’m coming back to you for special attention. You’re there as well. That’s what happens when you don’t have a complete list…
And Ted, where’s Ted? There he is in the front.
David Crisafulli, I haven’t mentioned, and in his absence, the Lord Mayor. I think what we’re seeing in Queensland at the moment is true leadership. What you see from David Crisafulli and the Lord Mayor is they’ve made tough decisions in relation to the Budget, only in last week, to the benefit of rate payers across the Brisbane City Council area.
These are people who encompass our values and you should be particularly proud of what they do. David’s team is disciplined, his messaging; the opportunity represents for a fresh start in Queensland and he’s only just started. So, the next premier of Queensland, of our great state, would you please thank David Crisafulli.
There are a couple of issues that I wanted to deal with this morning, and they’re important issues for our country.
We’ve just gone through a bruising debate in relation to the Voice; the Prime Minister’s spent $450 million of taxpayers money.
These are people in areas like Kallangur and Strathpine with great heart – only a stones throw from here — they’re working class Australians, many of them voted for the Labor Party at the last election, but they’re not going to vote for the Labor Party at the next election because the Labor Party has left them and their ideals and their values.
The Labor Party has put forward a proposition the Prime Minister announced in May of last year, that there have been scant discussions with the Australian public on. He prioritised the issue of the Voice, which has divided our country, above the necessary attention he needed to pay to cost of living pressures; because those families in Kallangur and Bray Park and Strathpine and around the country – they are working harder than they ever worked before.
They understand acutely the fact that cost of living is their biggest issue. They’re working a second job and the Prime Minister is trumping at the moment the fact that many of them are returning to work – and that’s a great thing — but the reason they’re returning to work and people are taking on second jobs — it’s not to provide family money for a holiday, or some luxury good – it’s to pay for the bills.
We know in the south east corner of Queensland, since the 1st of July, power bills have gone up for families by 22 per cent.
We know that they’ve gone up by a similar amount for small businesses. Those small businesses are passing on costs to families, and those families are struggling to pay their bills under Labor.
The Prime Minister promised on 97 occasions that power bills would go down by $274…$275 – we’d take even $274 — the fact is they haven’t. And a telling aspect of that commitment is that the Prime Minister has never had the guts to mention that figure once since he was elected.
He led people to believe that he had a plan and opportunity to help them. To help people who are struggling in small business at the moment – he has no such plan.
Two budgets have been presided over by the Prime Minister since he’s been elected. He has made the situation harder and more difficult for families and small businesses across the country.
Families who want to put food on the table, families who want to be able to fill their car, families who want to drive their dollar further when they go to the supermarket; but let’s not pretend that life is easy at the moment for millions of Australians.
The Prime Minister has been distracted and obsessed by the Voice over the course of the last 17 months. And so at this halfway mark of his term, it’s important for us as members of the Liberal and National Parties, the LNP here in Queensland, to take stock of where we are and where our country is.
The country is divided and there needs to be a period of healing. The country is not racist; four in 10 Labor voters who voted ‘no’ last Saturday are not racist. Millions of Australians who support the Liberal and National Parties who voted ‘no’ are not racist, and the elites telling them, alongside the Prime Minister, that they are or that they’re out of touch or because you live outside of a capital city that you don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ propositions, is a complete nonsense and is offensive, and the Prime Minister should stop alluding to it.
The Prime Minister has a seat, unlike mine, where he’s listening constantly to elites. He hangs out with the elite business leaders, with the elite union bosses, and he’s lost touch with his grass roots. That much is obvious to us at the halfway mark of this term.
The Prime Minister is implementing policies which hurt Australians.
Compared to our last Budget, over the course of the next five years, Australians will pay more than $300 million in taxes additional under this Government, at a time when families can’t afford it.
So it’s not just their energy bills that continue to go up, but they’re paying more tax under this Government.
We know that this is a Prime Minister who promised to reduce people’s mortgage repayments, but what has happened under this Prime Minister over the course of the last 17 months? The Reserve Bank has met on 16 occasions. They have risen interest rates on 11 occasions and interest rates have remained stable on five occasions.
When we were in Government, interest rates rose on one occasion in 96 meetings of the Reserve Bank.
We know that from the Reserve Bank Governor’s own advice, over the course of the last week or so, that it is possible that interest rates will rise again by another 25 basis points when the Reserve Bank next meets on the first Tuesday of November.
Australians didn’t vote for this.
Australians thought they voted for a Prime Minister in May of last year that they understood, that they could relate to; but what they’ve seen over the course of the last 17 or 18 months is a person in Anthony Albanese who is very different than that person that put himself up for election in the last campaign.
He has walked away from working class people. He has prioritised in a way that has made it harder for Australians and there is no end in sight for bad decisions.
The Government’s renewable only policy, this wide pursuit of emissions reductions, at a cost to manufacturing, to businesses, to small businesses and families across the country is quite staggering; 28,000 kilometres of new poles and wires – as Ted O’Brien rightly points out – need to be built as part of Labor’s plans. Through prime agricultural land their building 22,000 solar panels a day and installing 40 wind turbines a month.
When you go to the Hunter, in electorates like Hunter and Newcastle, you speak to the fishermen there, they’re talking about a disruption to their businesses, and the tourism sector: a $600 million sector in that part of the world is at risk because the wind turbines they’re proposing to put offshore need to be put in a place which will affect the migratory patterns of whales, it will disrupt fishing opportunities for commercial fishers and recreational fishers and the like, and the Government has no advice yet to the local communities as to where those wind turbine cords and powerlines will be onshore. No advice as to which beach they will come into, no advice as to what Indigenous country will be disrupted, and that’s why our plan in relation to nuclear energy is so important.
The Prime Minister, I think, needs to stare down Chris Bowen. The Prime Minister’s demonstrated to the Australian public over the course of the Voice, he doesn’t have any of his own thoughts. He said over the course of the last week, having said it 34 times, he doesn’t know whether he believes in Treaty, truth telling, Makarrata, until he speaks to the Referendum Working Group when they move beyond the week of mourning.
Now, what Prime Minister in recent history can say to the Australian public; ‘I can’t tell you my personal opinion in relation to an issue, which I’ve claimed to be the greatest moral challenge of our time’.
There’s only one Prime Minister who in recent history has taken a similar approach, and that is the Prime Minister’s idol. That is the Prime Minister’s mentor in Kevin Rudd, and you’re starting to see a fair bit of Kevin Rudd in Anthony Albanese now.
He doesn’t stand up for his values, he’s transactional. He met with those Indigenous leaders the same way in which he’s met with others from the renewable energy sector, and he hasn’t been able to show and demonstrate the leadership that our country deserves. Australians are paying the price of bad decision making under this Government.
So we are going to stand up in relation to how do you make a credible pathway to decarbonising and to meeting our international commitments, but you can only do that if you firm up renewables with a proven energy source.
That is why Ted O’Brien is explaining, in a very methodical and calm way to the Australian public, small modular reactors and the nuclear technologies that we use in our submarines, have a clear [Inaudible] here in Australia, our country should be prepared to have a mature conversation in relation to that.
The Prime Minister shouldn’t need to speak to Chris Bowen to seek his permission on an issue. The Prime Minister should know that it’s in our best interests as a country to reduce power prices.
When you look at Ontario now, 70 per cent of their energy is contributed by nuclear energy. It firms up renewables in the system, and they pay a half of the kilowatt per hour rate that we pay in this country. They have a stability of supply, the energy regulator advises now, as you’re well aware, that there could be disruption to energy supply over the course of this Christmas period.
I want Australians, particularly pensioners and people on low incomes – that I spoke about before – to be able to turn on their heating over the course of winter. I want them to be able to turn on their air conditioning over the course of summer. I want manufacturing to thrive in our country, not to be driven offshore; and they can only do that if they have affordable energy, they can only do it if they have a secure energy supply — and this ladies and gentlemen, over the balance of this term is going to be a very significant issue for our Party and for our country.
The other issue that the Prime Minister needs to show leadership on of course, is in relation to national security.
The world is an incredibly uncertain place at the moment as we know, not just from Europe, but what we’re seeing unfold tragically on our screens in the Middle East.
It’s clear that the Prime Minister should have gone to Tel Aviv to express his leadership, to stand alongside the leadership in Israel, to stand alongside those who have been there to express their support in Rishi Sunak, to make sure that he’s there to stand by the support demonstrated by President Biden, and by the Germans and by many others.
The world needs to see a very clear demonstration of that leadership and strength. The Prime Minister’s demonstrated that he’s not a strong leader at a time when our country needs it most.
The Jewish community here, as a result of the horrible, horrific Hamas terrorist attacks that we’ve seen in Israel, many of them are living with great anxiety. Not because of something they’ve done, or not because of something they’ve said, because of their religion, because of the fact that they practice the Jewish faith, and in our country that should never ever be tolerated.
The Prime Minister’s hesitation in coming out and condemning that activity, his hesitation and refusal now to go to Tel Aviv, sends exactly the wrong message.
We don’t tolerate discrimination on any basis: not on the basis of religion, not on the basis of colour of skin, not on the basis of geography or any other attribute. We treat every Australian equally and condemn every act of violence.
We should be very clear as a nation that our values that have stood us in good stead, that many men and women have fought for to defend, and in many cases lost their lives to achieve the outcome that allows us to live here in peace today. We should never forget where we’ve come from, and now is the time for our Prime Minister to show strength and resolve.
It’s in our national interest – the Prime Minister can’t on the one-hand say that this is the ‘most precarious period geopolitically since the Second World’, and then turn around and cut a billion and a half from the defence budget.
He can’t stand here and say that ‘we need to make sure that we can deter any act aggression in the South China Sea, or any act of aggression against our own country, and to stand as a credible partner with the United States, the United Kingdom, and all the Five Eyes partners and allies, and then announce that they’re going to delay the acquisition of defence materiel, which is important to defend our country.
Our country needs strong leadership, and it’s not getting it from Anthony Albanese.
So, over the course of the next 18 months, you’ll see us announce policies which will build on those already announced, which speak to our values.
We’re in a strong position at the halfway mark because we’ve stood up for what we believe in as a Party.
Once again we’ve stood up and reflected the values and the views of our membership, of ordinary Australians, of hard working Australians, of entrepreneurs, of people who love their country; and we’ve demonstrated that during the course of the Voice debate. We stood up at a time when 65 or 70 per cent of Australians were expressing their support for the Prime Minister’s proposition in the Voice.
He thought it would just sail through on the vibe. He thought it would be his moment in history. He thought he could wedge us and he thought it would be a political blow to us when the ‘yes’ vote got up 51 to 49. But the Australian public called his bluff, and so did we.
We stood in a united way, and in a respectful way. We spoke with a tone which was respectful to Indigenous Australians. Jacinta Price and Warren Mundine and Kerrynne Liddle, they’ve gone around the country speaking with those who support us and those who didn’t in relation to the Voice.
That’s why those people can claim [inaudible] great heart in Strathpine and suburbs like it across the country, know that the LNP, Liberal Party and the National Parties are back in town.
We will, over the course, as I say, over the rest of this term, build on policies that will give back to those people, that will relieve the cost of living pressures, that will help get our economy back on track. We will make sure national security, again, is a priority for the federal government.
I’ll finish on this note:
The work that we’ve done together as a Coalition in Canberra, to the great credit of David Littleproud, and those who sit in the National Party Party Room, there is not a sliver paper of difference between the two parties. The way in which we’ve been able to work in a collegiate way.
My colleagues here today, and those who aren’t from around the rest of the country, who have worked together, have found common ground and where there’s been points of difference we’ve been able to work through them together. That unity, that discipline that we’ve demonstrated over the 18 months will deliver us victory in 18 months time.
The sacrifice that our members make, the hard work that they do in their electorates, they contribute to the national debate to show [inaudible] and contributor’s to important debates. That is going to be a basis of our success in 18 months time.
If we continue to work together, we show the discipline that we’ve demonstrated over the last 18 months and we stand up for our values in a way that we haven’t perhaps in recent times.
We certainly did over the course of the Voice debate and we are now in relation to the energy debate and the national security debate, and other things that are so important to our country – we will win the next election.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re part of a great Party. We should continue to be proud and we should talk with our friends, and our neighbours about the difference between the two parties. If we do that, we can win here at the state level, and David Crisafulli will have a huge mess to clean up, but he’s a person who can do it, he’s got the attributes.
And I intend to lead our Party, along with David Littleproud as Leader of the Nationals in a strong Coalition, to victory in 18 months time to get our country back on track.
Thank you very much.