Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (13:53): Twelve thousand people who turned out at a community meeting at Griffith last December and just under 12,000 submissions from right across Australia do not seem to matter much to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.
Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (12:09): Driving around my electorate of Riverina, the third largest by size in New South Wales and the 14th biggest in Australia, has given me plenty of thinking time in recent months. This is because the mobile telephone coverage is not what it ought to be and certainly not even what it once was.
The Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Protecting Elector Participation) Bill 2012 questions the integrity of the electoral roll. Surely this goes to the essence, the very core, of what we are about here in this parliament and who we represent. This bill could potentially result in electors being put on the electoral roll without their knowledge.
'If rural practice was a patient, I would say that its condition would be critical.' Those were the words of Dr Maxine Percival as she addressed the third annual Rural Doctors Association of Australia parliamentary breakfast on 29 February.
The coalition has sensible and timely amendments to the Corporations Amendment (Future of Financial Advice) Bill 2011 and the Corporations Amendment (Further Future of Financial Advice Measures) Bill 2011. The shadow Assistant Treasurer and shadow minister for financial services and superannuation, Senator Mathias Cormann, is doing a terrific job on this.
'Margaret Whitlam was a great human being and she and Gough were a formidable couple.' That is how the president of the Wagga Wagga branch of country Labor, Glenn Eliott-Rudder, described the late Mrs Whitlam, who died in a Sydney hospital on Saturday morning aged 92 years.
I rise tonight to acknowledge the many people who were interned in Australia during World War II. Many of those interned were dinky-di Aussies who had contributed greatly to Australia. Last month the South Australian parliament unanimously accepted a bipartisan motion, moved by Labor member for Light, Tony Piccolo, to acknowledge the internment of Italian civilians living in Australia during the Second World War.
Australia's farm and fish food production is worth $37 billion a year. Annually, $24 billion is made through exports, particularly of grain and meat to Asia. We are the No. 2 exporter of meat to the world market. Australian farmers feed 60 million people a day.
I was most impressed to see the passion shown by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities on this issue of cattle grazing in the Australian alps. I look forward to him showing exactly the same passion and commitment when he brings about a triple-bottom-line approach in the Murray-Darling Basin plan and ensures that we have social, economic and environmental outcomes considered in any water policy in this nation.