Address in Reply

7 May 2015 11:14 AMMichael Hart


Mr HART (Burleigh—LNP) (7.40 pm): I rise to give thanks to the Burleigh community who have put their faith in me to be a strong representative in the 55th Parliament and continue the work that I set out to do after my election in 2012. Mr Deputy Speaker Furner, can you pass on my congratulations to the Speaker on his elevation to a very important role in this parliament. I also pass on my congratulations to the Premier, the Deputy Premier and all of her ministers on being elected to the government, which I think was probably as big a shock to them as it was to us.


Retaining the seat of Burleigh was undoubtedly a team effort. It had its ups and its downs, with hundreds of man-hours. While I cannot name every one of the 150 volunteers, I would like to take this opportunity to put on the record my thanks and gratitude to those who went above and beyond to make the win possible. I start with my campaign manager, David Pourre, and his wife, Jodie, who provided all of our catering on 31 January. I thank my campaign executive—Joe Milsom, Mark Henry, Karly Abbott and Joe Hanlon. I thank my staff who helped out in their spare time—Renee Whitehead, Jacqui Wild and Matt Taylor—along with the previous staff who have worked for me since I was elected, Gloria, Jill, Mark and Gordon. I thank my booth captains and regular campaign volunteers—Oliver and Alister Cran, Bren Milsom, Nic Rone, Nola Mattei, Jon Ingall and Craig Lucas. I cannot forget the wonderful efforts of the Young LNP who were down in Burleigh on several occasions and helped my campaign.


Of course I thank my family. My children, especially my boys Tim and Hayden, were out there in the wee hours of the 31st putting up all of our bunting and corflutes and making sure we had prime position over the Labor Party in Burleigh at those 13 booths that we ran on the day. My daughter, Jessica, captained one of the booths and she did an excellent job. She is almost as keen about politics as I am. I also thank their partners of course who were out there helping during the night and on the day as well.


I thank my sister, Jo, and her husband, Brad. I also thank my brother, Chris, and his wife, Jo. They came up from Ballina and helped out. Family is a wonderful thing in politics. I think many members here over the last couple of days have stressed what a hard job this can be on your family, and it certainly is. It is wonderful to get the support of those family members when you need it—and you need it during election time. If you do not need it any other time, I can tell you that you need it during election time. To have a great family who supports you in everything you do is vitally important. It is one of those things that is a must-have in politics.


I would like to repeat one thing I said in my inaugural speech because it is really important to me. I said—


I believe in the right of people to make their own choices in life. Regardless of whether or not I agree with them, they have a right to their own opinion and their own choices. I believe in small government with minimal regulation. I believe in a hand up from government, not a handout. In basic terms, I believe good government needs to ensure the population is secure from interference from the action of others. If a government does just that one thing, I believe it succeeds.


I stand by those words today. I have heard different views from some other members as they have given their inaugural speeches, but that is how I think and that is my philosophy in life and everything that I do in this place will resonate from those few words.

Since the Palaszczuk government have been elected, they have expressed their absolute desire to interfere in the daily lives of the people of Queensland. They have announced 34 reviews and inquiries—


Mr Rickuss: No, there’s more.


Mr HART: Up to the time I put this list together, there were 34 reviews but I think they actually announced another couple today. I have actually lost track of the number of inquiries we now have but let me go through just a couple of them. I first mention the review into boot camps and youth justice, and I am sure the shadow Attorney-General will be watching that very closely. Another review is into the Queensland greyhound industry, and that is absolutely needed. We also have a review into health targets. Isn’t that strange, given that we had guarantees in place that people would achieve their surgery on time.


Mr Rickuss: What did Confucius say about that?


Mr HART: You will have to remind me, I am afraid. We had that in place. Our former health minister put that in place and that was working wonderfully, but this government have taken that away and in fact they have actually lowered those targets. We had set a high target and they have in fact lowered those targets. It has to be easier to hit a target if you lower it. I hope the health minister—


Honourable members interjected.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Furner): Order! Can I have a bit of order?


Mr HART: This is not my first speech so feel free to let them.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: I realise that.


Mr HART: I hope the health minister is not going to come in here every time he cannot meet the targets and lower them even further. We will be watching very closely what happens in health, because it was—


Mr Bleijie interjected.


Mr HART: The minister has a track record. I think the member for Kawana is telling me that the minister has a track record. We will watch very closely the results that come out of health because it was one of a number of things that we did very well—very, very well.

There is an inquiry into the fair price for solar power. That was another big mistake that the previous Labor government made when they put in place the FIT. They were paying people a 44 cent feed in tariff, when we were only charging people 26 cents to take it out.


Ms Jones interjected.

Mr HART: We hear from the Minister for Education that that is good policy. Is it good policy? When you pay somebody more than it costs you to provide something, you lose money. Wow!


Mr Rickuss: You’re an economic genius.


Mr HART: The thing is, member for Lockyer, I was in business before I came into this place so I have a bit of a track record on knowing how business works and how to employ people. I employed 50 to 100 people at numerous times. We made money, we lost money and we had that experience. What do the members over there have? I will be very interested to hear over time exactly what sort of experience they have. I hope it is not just experience in unions. I hope there is a bit of business experience. Maybe one or two of them over there have a bit of business experience. That would be fantastic.


There are quite a few other reviews, but the one I would like to really stress is the review into the VLAD laws. Our former Attorney-General and our former premier put in place some laws that were really needed on the Gold Coast and they have made such a difference to the Gold Coast. People down on the Gold Coast feel much safer than they have ever felt before, and it is all because of those laws. The perception is that if you break the laws there is a jail sentence there, and if you are convicted you are going to jail and you are going to jail for a long time.


People are worried about that. The people who break these laws are worried about it and they have changed their attitude. Unfortunately, the day after 31 January, when it became clear that we were not going to maintain government and that the Labor Party could win government, the bikies were back on the Gold Coast. They were back in my electorate of Burleigh. At 8 o’clock the following morning I saw eight people on Harley-Davidsons—and I do not have an issue with Harley-Davidsons because I had one myself until recently. Let’s not go down the track of saying that we are picking on people who ride bikes or who have tattoos because that is not what this was about. This was about criminal organisations.


Mr Bailey interjected.


Mr HART: I can tell the minister that I have been around Burleigh for 30-odd years, so I have a bit of experience and I know what I am talking about. I have lived in my electorate for 33 years. I have seen organised crime. I have seen crime come and go. At the moment life where we live is perfect. This has made such a difference. I say to the member for Kawana that he did a fantastic job. I really hope that those opposite take notice of what is happening on the Gold Coast and other parts of Queensland and do not change those laws. Do not water those laws down. We fixed the problem, but do not give us the problem back because we do not want it.


There were two or three other inquiries announced today. One of the things I heard the Premier say today is that she is introducing a Premier’s business advisory council. I wonder who will be on that. Would it be classed as a business council if it is full of union people? Do we class unions as business? I do not know; I do not think we would, although they do make plenty of money. Maybe we can. I gather that there was also an announcement today about fly-in fly-out. I am on the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee and we are doing an inquiry on fly-in fly-out. Now we have an independent inquiry with a couple of regional mayors appointed to it. There is going to be quite a bit of money spent on that inquiry as I imagine it will be travelling around talking to people, and we will be doing the same thing. I wonder where all these inquiries have come from and what is the intention? How does the government—


Mr Pearce: I’ll come and talk to you. Do you want to do it now?


Mr HART: Well, I am speaking at the minute. How does the government intend to create jobs? Are we creating jobs by holding more inquiries, because I do not think that is the best way to do it. I really do not.


Ms Grace interjected.


Mr HART: There is something that I have noticed about the Australian Labor Party over the last three years that I have been in this place. They seem to be very good at taking the big whiteboard of history and erasing it. Then they draw up their own version. We are hearing that 24,000 people were sacked and we have heard that 20,000 people were sacked. What was the actual number? Does anybody have any idea?


Mr Rickuss: There were very few sacked because they were redundancies.


Mr HART: Nobody was sacked; there were people who took redundancies.


Ms Jones interjected.


Mr HART: That is why I am where I am. Where am I? I am standing right here.


Government members interjected.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Furner): Order! Member for Burleigh, take your seat. Member for Burleigh.


Mr HART: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for your protection. Undoubtedly, I do not think anybody on this side of the House—certainly not me—could have missed the message that the people of Queensland sent us on 31 January. The margin in my seat took a 4.9 per cent swing, and there were greater shifts in a lot of other seats. A lot of our very good members of parliament, people who were doing a fantastic job, are no longer here. If we did not hear the message from the people of Queensland, then there is something wrong. I certainly heard it. I heard that they had an issue with the way that we governed. I do not think they had an issue with the results that we produced because I think we produced very good results. That is why we are seeing green sheets appear everywhere now. We are seeing things that are better than they have ever been.


Our Treasurer opposite stood up this morning and talked about the latest quarterly financial results to March. As most people who have been in business would reflect on, the first quarter goes from 1 January to 31 March; it is those three months. There was an election on 31 January. Things do not happen that quickly, folks. The reality is that the good results that have been achieved in that quarter have actually come from things that the previous government did. For those members who did not watch any of my speeches in the last parliament—and I suspect that is all of them because they would not have had any interest in them. If anybody would like to see them, they are available on the web, so have a look. I have talked numerous times in this place about the government being like a big ship. Before the election in 2012 we were a big ship running at an iceberg. It was also described as an aeroplane going over an abyss and accelerating into the ground. We were a big ship heading for an iceberg. The LNP government pulled back the throttles, turned the steering wheel and nothing much happened for a while because that is what happens with big ships. Like big governments, it takes quite a while for things to react. So we pulled back the throttles, we turned the steering wheel and things started to eventually turn around. It got to the stage where we had actually turned this economy around. We were heading for a surplus budget, which we have not had in this state for numerous years. We were heading for a surplus budget and we were just starting to slam those accelerators open. That is why we see the cranes on the skyline, because of the action that the LNP government took. We were getting great results. I would anticipate that it is going to take a little while for the actions of the state government to take effect and for things to start slowing down.


I wish to raise a couple of things about my electorate of Burleigh which are the things I really want to talk about. I have already spoken about the organised crime laws. I was a big supporter of the Gold Coast shipping terminal. That has now gone and 6½ thousand jobs have been killed on a political whim. It would have been better—and for those members who do not know, my background is engineering. I suspect that a cruise ship terminal might not have been possible in the Broadwater, but why would we not let it go through the process and see whether it was, in fact, possible before we made a political decision—just like the Labor Party did in 2006—to kill off something that was going to provide thousands and thousands of jobs?


The Gold Coast quarry, which sits on the edge of three electorates on the Gold Coast—my own and that of the members for Currumbin and Mudgeeraba—was something given to us by the Bligh and Beattie governments. It was put in place. When I stood for election in 2012—and the other two members were already in parliament—we said that we would try to stop it if we were elected. However, when we came to government we found that that process had gone too far; we simply could not stop it. We went out and we told people that that was the case, that we could not stop it. However, candidates from the Labor Party and the Premier were on the Gold Coast saying, `We can stop it.’ They led those people completely astray, because the people believed that they could stop it when those candidates knew they could not. Only this week we have heard an answer to a question on notice from the Deputy Premier that stopping that quarry is not going to be possible. They have got into government and they figured out that what they said previously was just not going to be possible.


We have achieved a lot of things in Burleigh over the last few years. We have $100,000 for the Palm Beach Soccer Club for their lighting. A lot of people will now be able to practise of a night rather than having to travel all over the Gold Coast playing at different fields. We have the Gold Coast police helicopter and we have the Rapid Action and Patrols Group, and what a wonderful job they are doing. I will wrap up by saying that—


A government member: The desalination plant!


Mr HART: The desalination plant is actually in the member for Currumbin’s area, but what a wonderful thing it was. Let’s not get started on all of the failures of the Labor party like the Health payroll system. I want to mention the Get in the Game program because it is a fantastic program which has benefitted just about every electorate in Queensland. Soccer clubs, football clubs, tennis clubs and surf-lifesaving clubs have all had their memberships contributed to by the Get in the Game program. I thank the former sports minister for instigating that, and it is something that the new government needs to look at. I would like to see that funding continue, because it provides access to sport for a lot of our children who may not otherwise have it, and it adds to a healthier lifestyle.


With those few words, I would just thank the people of Burleigh for putting their faith in me again. We have done some wonderful things together. There is a lot more for us to do, and I look forward to that.


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