Labor cannot be believed when it comes to education. Labor cannot be trusted when it comes to much at all. I will take the shadow minister up on a couple of things. She talked about Labor's funding policy. This parliament governs for a nation, this parliament governs for the Commonwealth. But, when Labor left office, its half-baked education funding policy did not take into account Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory—
It is with a great degree of pride that I stand here tonight as the new Assistant Minister for Defence—
Mr Tehan: Hear, hear!
Mr McCORMACK: supporting Senator Marise Payne, who is doing a wonderful job in that very important and very intricate portfolio. I stand here in the chamber alongside the member for Wannon, who is the newly appointed Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and Minister for Defence Materiel.
On indulgence – Much has been said and will be written about Warren Truss and the member for Goldstein in days ahead, but I just wanted to cut through to some of the funny sides of Warren Truss. When I was first ejected from this parliament, Warren made his way across the chamber and said to me, 'Your predecessor never was thrown out of parliament.' It was true. But then one day, on 16 February 2012, Warren Truss was thrown out of parliament, perhaps a little bit unfairly, and I led a walkout of the National Party.
At the outset I will commend the member for Murray for her diligent and ongoing work in the water space. Nobody has fought harder than the member for Murray for a good outcome as far as a triple bottom line approach to the woes that are the water debate. As I said, I certainly give her credit for the job she has done and that she will continue to do as long as she is a member of the lower house here in the federal parliament.
The construction industry is one of great importance to the Australian economy. Construction projects across the country provide thousands of Australians with jobs, with homes and with businesses, and with hope. These are an important contributor to national gross domestic product and economic growth.
With more Australians choosing to build their own homes and with business construction increasing with the coalition government's proud record of $50 billion—a record—infrastructure investment and the private investment sector right across this wide brown land, the need for a reliable and professional construction industry has never been stronger. The coalition understands fully the importance of a strong construction industry. It is vital that we have the homes, businesses, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and other projects which communities need. But it is just as vital that those people who build the projects do so in a professional, reliable and, most importantly, a safe manner and safe environment.
Indeed, a Nat. I refer to Louis Dreyfus, a grain merchant and part-owner of Newcastle Agri Terminal or NAT, who supplied the wheat for the largest grain train ever in Australia. It is a 1.3-kilometre long grain train. Louis Dreyfus supplied that wheat, sourced from Moree and Narrabri, with the mother lode being consolidated at Narrabri before being hauled into port by Southern Shorthaul Rail’s locomotives. That came from the electorate of Parkes. I talk about Mr Dreyfus and I talk about NAT because that speaks to the integrity of our government. Our government is delivering integrity—integrity in infrastructure and integrity in what we do.
Mr McCormack (Riverina) (10:12): I rise today to say that last Friday I had the absolute pleasure to officially open the Temora Medical Complex in Hoskins Street. This was the realisation of a six-year dream for Temora, and no-one worked harder for that facility's opening than the new Mayor of Temora Shire Council, Councillor Rick Firman, in his capacity as a councillor and as deputy mayor before the last election as well as in his role as the chairman of the council's Health Strategies Committee.
Mr McCormack (Riverina) (11:51): Australia's youth are wonderful and this is certainly so in the Riverina. I opened the Shout Out regional New South Wales Youth Summit at Griffith last Wednesday and then spent an absorbing time at the event at which local high schoolers had the opportunity to meet local decision-makers, share their experiences with education and meet inspirational people such as Sam Cawthorn.
Mr McCormack (Riverina) (12:42): I rise to speak on the National Gambling Reform Bill 2012, the National Gambling Reform (Related Matters) Bill (No. 1) 2012 and the National Gambling Reform (Related Matters) Bill (No. 2) 2012. We just heard the member for Mackellar prosecute the case very well regarding the pecuniary interests and conflict of interest that the member for Banks, who is also on the Revesby Workers Club board, may or may not have.
That the Basin Plan made under the Water Act 2007 and presented to the House on 26 November 2012, be disallowed.
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan has generated a wealth of fear and uncertainty for regional communities and cost good, hardworking country people a wealth of money. An attack on the nation's farmers is, in fact, an attack on the nation itself. This is an assault on regional Australia.