Speeches

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:11): It was my pleasure yesterday to attend the official opening of the Hillcrest Fire Station and Yarra Valley group headquarters in Woori Yallock on the Warburton Highway in the electorate of Casey. The Hillcrest brigade was formed some seven years ago when three of the local brigades—Don Valley, Launching Place and Woori Yallock—decided to merge under the motto of 'Three communities, two stations and one brigade'. Yesterday, after seven years of work, we saw the opening of their brand new station and Yarra Valley group headquarters. I want to pay tribute to Captain Fiona Burns and the team for all the work that they have done in bringing about yesterday's opening and for all the work that they do on behalf of the community. Yesterday, it was also an opportunity to recognise some of their members who have been awarded national medals. I want to…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (13:52): On Sunday, 4 May I had the pleasure of attending the Gladysdale Primary School annual festival. It was the 30th anniversary of their annual festival, a festival which raises money for the school. It was a great community event with many stalls run by local businesses, parents, past parents and teachers, who all combined to raise $12,000, which will be used for new play equipment and reversible basketball rings. I want to pay tribute to the principal, Mr John Shackleton, to all of the teachers and to the school council, who put in so much work in trying conditions—freezing cold weather in the heart of the Yarra Valley on that Sunday morning—to bring about a successful festival again this year. It was also a great community-building event. There were a number of competitions. I make mention of the winners of the scarecrow competition, Amy Knight…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (15:49): Here we are again on budget day witnessing more Labor denial. We are all forgiven on this side for thinking we have just heard three speeches much the same. When you analyse them, the member for Fraser was a bit different from the member for Moreton. I think the member for Fraser knows that Labor has a big apology to make to the Australian people and he is not quite comfortable with that fact. He very carefully managed to not mention any of the things he has advocated in a previous life that might reform some of the structure of the budget. With the member for Moreton, on the other hand, I think the Labor brainwashing machine has done a pretty complete job. I think he actually believes everything he said. He said he was confounded by a few things. We would say he is…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:21): by leave—The 2013 federal election will long be remembered as a time when our system of Senate voting let voters down. Combined with pliable and porous party registration rules, the system of voting for a single party above the line and delegating the distribution of preferences to that party delivered, in some cases, outcomes that distorted the will of the voter. The system of voting above the line has encouraged the creation of microparties in order to funnel preferences to each other, from voters who have no practical way of knowing where their vote will ultimately land once they have forfeited it to the parties' group voting tickets. The current rules for party registration have provided the means and unacceptable ease to create the parties in the first place to garner primary votes above the line and then harvest the preferences in a whirlpool of…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (10:14): I seek leave of the House to make a short statement as chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters on the committee's inquiry into the 2013 federal election and to present a copy of that statement. Leave granted. Mr TONY SMITH: In February I informed the House on behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters that it was the committee's intention to report early—ahead of its full report—on the specific issues relating to the voting system used to elect senators. It is my intention to table out of session a report prior to the resumption of the 2014 budget sittings. The committee has conducted a number of public hearings and still has some more evidence to hear in coming weeks. Suggestions for reform have included changes to the Senate voting system as well as broader changes to party registration. Many of…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (15:41): We have seen the wording of this matter of public importance and we have heard from the shadow Treasurer and the Leader of the Opposition. We on this side of the House look at those former members of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments, and I have to say it is as competitive as an Olympic 100-metre final. It really is, but for all the wrong reasons. It is a photo finish as to who has the worst policy record. We sat here during the interrupted question time thinking: who could have penned this Matter of public importance? It is a matter of public importance that is based on the premise that the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments made the right choices and had the right priorities for Australia. You can argue with us, but do not argue with the outcome of the election, which was an endorsement of the choices…
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