Tad Watroba Speech to National Party Federal Council – 1/6/13

President of the Nationals Madam Christine Ferguson,
Leader of the Nationals the Honourable Warren Truss MP
Queensland Premier the Honourable Campbell Newman MP
Leader of the Nationals in the Senate and future Member for New England, Senator Barnaby Joyce
Senator the Honourabe Nigel Scullion MP
Parliamentarians and future Parliamentarians
Members and supporters of the NP, distinguished guests.
On Behalf of QCI thank you for your very warm welcome and thank you for the opportunity to address you again here in Canberra, even you have to put up with my accent again. I know my chairman Mrs. Rinehart would love to address such an important gathering herself, her unfortunately other commitments haven’t allowed her to be here with you in person. Nevertheless please accept her best wishes for a very successful Federal Council meeting.
A very important meeting indeed.  The last one before one of the most important election, if not the most important election in the history of our young nation.
Those of you who attended the National Conference here last September would hopefully remember my and my family background and our journey to this magnificent, full of opportunity land.
Also I hope you would remember my dissatisfaction with the political scene and the way the current government leads us.
You may also remember I said I never wanted to see anything even vaguely similar here in my chosen country to what was happening in the old Soviet Union dominated block.  In the last few years however, one wonders where our current federal government and their ideology tries to lead us.
There are some scary similarities in actions by some of the members of the current federal government and the other minority party, which the government rely on for support, with those I remember back in my old communist country. The “class war” is a classic example of that.
The big government mentality, and an “I know what is best for you” attitude, is another one. We as Australians must be very alert to that, and do everything possible to preserve our democratic way of life.
Regrettably nothing has changed for the better since last September. I dare to say the matters got worse.  The only bright spot here is the soon coming federal election in this coming September.
All of Australians will have the opportunity to speak up and choose a better future for our country and for all of us individually, or accept the current, unstable, leading us to a failure status quo. I hope and I’m sure all of you also hope that the former prevails. The change must happen, otherwise the younger and the future generations will face a real misery and will not forgive us that we allowed it to happen.
So I wish the Nationals the best at the next federal election, when together with the Liberals you need to win, to reverse this current unfortunate trend.
I realise it will take great effort and a lot of hard work to achieve the change. I wish all of the seating members and especially all of you who will be challenging existing members from the current governing coalition a great deal of success.
There is a popular saying that people get the governments they deserve. Let’s never forget this, and let’s help the good politicians there are, and help them to better understand the needs of our country, especially the need to make Australia cost competitive by reduced taxation and regulations, create a favourable environment to increase failing productivity and by truly welcoming the investment we need to get this country back on track.
At the federal level, where the current minority government is so driven to ruin our country, even some of its members are rightly concerned.  We haven’t deserved that, or have we?
The current government is there not because the Labor and the Greens got the majority on the parliament floor, but because a few so called independents chose to swap sides and chose the glory of being “in power”, possibly against the wishes of people who elected them in their constituencies and aligned themselves with this current anti-business, anti-jobs, anti-fiscal responsibility, leftist, minority government, for their own political ends.
So what is the solution? I think, not to vote for independents! Simple like that.
My chairman often speaks out about the current troublesome state of our economy and suggest simple but logical, common sense solution. For that unfortunately she draws unwarranted criticism from the government and a lot of bad press from most of the media.
But why aren’t our other business leaders doing more? Too many of our business leaders just donate to both sides and rarely speak out.  This helps us to get the governments we don’t deserve.
In her latest interview Mrs. Rinehart referred to the current unfavourable attitude of governments to the mining industry.  She said trade with the world, and especially now with Asia, has always been critical to keeping up our standard of living. From riding on the sheep’s back when we were a much smaller nation, we have raised our living standards on the back of the mining and related industries and consequent exports overseas. Without exports, we cannot sustain our living standards.
Plenty of Australians know these things in a casual way, but what few seem to properly understand – even people in government – is that miners and other resources industries aren’t just ATMs for everyone else to draw from, without that money first having to be earned, and before that, giant investments made.
It is incredible that after the last six years of record commodity boom times, we now find this once lucky country in record debt, with the federal budget tipped to deliver yet another deficit to further increase our record debt.
Add to that the debt in all our overspending states, and in the Northern Territory, too. This debt is simply unsustainable, especially when Australia now faces an increasing elderly population with increasing needs, and fewer workers to pay for it all.  This lucky country has got to start thinking, and acting.
This is not a time in Australia’s history, when Australia is already in record debt, which is increasing daily, to bury our heads in the sand, and pretend that everything is fine.
Nor is it the time to misrepresent these comments, or politicize these statements via media attacks on the risk takers, the investors, the wealthy entrepreneurs and message givers.
There are two states, Queensland and WA which generate most export income for the whole nation, mainly by two of the best industries we have in Australia, mining with its related industries and agriculture.  Those two industries are mainly located in the heartland of the National Party voters and supporters.
I am sure the well being of those two major drivers of our economy is very close to your hearts and you are, same as I am, very concerned about them.
Sadly the current federal government does everything to make it more difficult for those prime industries, instead of recognising that we must maintain our cost competitiveness or otherwise we would become unable to compete and hence unable to export to the world markets.
By introducing more and more taxes, more red/green tape those two best industries we have in this country, become rapidly uncompetitive against the same competing industries overseas.
I attended the BOAO forum in China earlier this year, a forum where political and industry leaders of not only Asian countries but also from other parts of the world participate.
Amongst others there were our PM and the New Zealand PM.
The New Zealand PM talked proudly about what his country could offer to the world, great dairy products, great meats, fruit and wine, great tourist destinations, clean air, great education for foreign students, etc etc.   How appropriate for the occasion.
We do have the same, even better in Australia, but our PM didn’t bother to mention it.
Our PM in stark contrast, instead of also using this great opportunity to promote Australian industries and trading relationships for the region and beyond, talked about climate change and carbon tax!
How out of touch with economic realities.  How out of touch with Her own country.
And how out of touch with the largely Asian audience, who showed little or no interest whatsoever in those particular topics.  But then this was only her first official visit to China, one of our greatest trading partners. Don’t think I need to say more.
It is time we get the federal government we deserve.  The next few months are critical for return to a fiscally responsible, a real nation building government.  I’m sure the Federal National Party will do everything to support responsible candidates in the incoming federal election, however we cannot rest on the current opinion polls, we all need to chip in, whenever and however we can, to ensure the desired outcome.
I would like to let you know that my colleague Professor Ian Plimer is willing to travel to any electorate where the presentation of factual information about climate can help secure victory for a National Party Member or Candidate. He is here ready to receive suggestions from you.
We need to talk to our friends, neighbours, our children and their friends in a voting age, promoting a free enterprise culture to make sure they at least understand why they should vote the right way for our country.
Every vote counts, as every politician knows.  This does need our active diligence and help, we sure can’t rely on our mainly leftist media to explain that this country is in record debt, and badly needs a government who will be fiscally responsible, stop overspending and wastage of taxpayers money, one which recognises that we must be more cost competitive if we don’t want to become like our friends in UK or Greece, Portugal or Italy, where there are not only riots, but where even essential services must be cut, thanks to years of overspending, irresponsible government policies.
In the more unstable economic world we face we need governments support, instead of obstructions.
It is time for bold new ideas for Australia – ideas like developing the largely untapped resources of northern Australia through the establishment of Special Economic Zones throughout this region.
I share Mrs. Rinehart’s enthusiasm for ANDEV – Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision.  It has attracted the support of many talented Australians, who share a deep commitment to the development and future prosperity of our nation.
Most of Queensland, a big chunk of WA and the whole Northern Territory could benefit from such an initiative, if our politicians listen to good ideas and implement them.
But this needs to be done on a major scale to be effective, not some minor fiddling, that then the bureaucrats can sit back and say, well that didn’t work.
Real change is needed to welcome investment, compete for investment and make Australia able to be cost competitive.  The North has abundant water and under-utilised land at a time when the world’s population is growing bigger and richer. The global population is projected to rise from seven billion to nine billion by 2050, and the global middle class from 500 million in 2009 to 3.2 billion by 2030. This will create an explosion in demand for food and energy. The North has the potential to develop beyond our imaginations.
We should learn from the successful economic policies in other countries, for example the transformation of Singapore under Lee Kwan Yew government.  A transformation from a poor, third world country, with no water of its own, insufficient land to feed its people and no minerals – to the rich, ultra-modern and debt-free nation it is today, with major investments for its future, very low crime rates, very good hospitals and schools, truly five-star hotels, a leading international airport, excellent shops and restaurants, entertainment complexes and more.
The Singaporean government kept taxes low and encouraged investment, and look what happened to our neighbour – without even any of the natural benefits that our North has!
We owe it to our children and grandchildren, to lead this nation out of debt.  Increasing the burden of taxation and regulation in our very high cost North, is like throwing away the map, smashing the compass and taking the batteries out of the GPS.
I am pleased to introduce to you John Roskam of the Institute of Public Affairs who is here with his colleagues Hugh  and  Dom, promoting the  concept eloquently explained by Mrs. Rinehart and ANDEV.
Madam President, and the Leader of Nationals, your great Party represents real Australians, people who love this country and want to see a good future for Australians.
On behalf of Mrs. Rinehart, on behalf of the Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd Group of Companies, on behalf of QCI and on my own behalf, thank you for your outstanding dedication to Australia.
All best and thank you.