Jun 2012

ADJOURNMENT: Imports, Employment

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Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (11:21): It seems to me that very seldom does a day goes by when I do not get further bad news from the coalface. I have long since given up reading journals and newspapers and watching the television, because the flow of information is so erroneous and misleading.

Everybody involved in agriculture knows that it is simply closing down. The free-market—for the sake of a better term— and deregulatory policies of the Keating government and then the Howard-Costello government have been absolutely disastrous for agricultural Australia. Of course, no-one else in the world is free-trading.

This week we found out pineapples were coming in from overseas and that a very large proportion were carrying a very serious disease which can be air borne. There was no action by AQIS. They had decided in the first place to allow pineapples in, knowing that the disease was endemic in Malaysia.

We pleaded with them not to allow prawns in, because they contained white spot and IHHNV, but AQIS allowed them in. We now have IHHNV, which is a very serious disease, on the Barrier Reef and 21 tonnes of poison was dumped into Darwin Harbour to try and kill white spot. Biosecurity is a joke. They have said, 'no', to nothing.

When confronted at a meeting in Innisfail, they were asked, 'What application have you rejected in the last seven years?' They rang Canberra to try and find out if they had rejected something: there was nothing that they had rejected. In other words you know if you make an application to Australia, eventually and ultimately, your product will get into Australia.

They talk about the restrictive nature; tell that to the grape growers. When the grapes were allowed in we were told by the coalition government—the Howard-Costello government—that the restrictions would be such that they would not really be able to bring the grapes in. That was pretty true for about six months and then the restrictions were liberalised. Then they were liberalised again and again. Now if you go into our supermarkets you will mostly buy California grapes, not Australian grapes. For example, apples are coming in from China, California and New Zealand. They have fire blight in those places and they spray the apples with streptomycin. If you like eating streptomycin on your apples, most certainly buy an apple from overseas.

Biosecurity is just a joke and those people are taking their money under false pretences. On the issue of the loss of jobs, it is very, very sad to see what is happening in publishing throughout Australia. I do not seriously believe—I think a few Australians do—that the mass sackings of journalists at the present moment are a necessary requirement. People are not going to move totally onto the internet to get their information but, obviously if they do, the journalists will be working on the internet.

We have had large mass sackings from newspapers in North Queensland. These papers will be subedited, apparently, from Brisbane. In fairness to the Murdoch press, even though they own all the newspapers for one million people in North Queensland—almost all of them are Murdoch owned—there has been journalistic freedom and a moderate fair go has been provided to these newspapers.

The transfer and centralisation of power in Brisbane in itself is appalling. I have two very talented ladies working on my staff, and both of them were journalists working for the Murdoch press. The pool of resources of intelligent people who are knowledgeable in these areas and have certain convictions will shrink, because the number of journalists just will not be there.

As well as that, Fairfax is coming under a very serious influence—and, in my opinion, a very bad influence—of the mining magnate— (Time expired)

SOURCE: Hansard www.aph.gov.au/hansard

Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
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F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
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F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
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Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au