James speaks in Parliament, critiquing the government for its sale of public assets and high electricity prices

Wednesday, 18th September

“We heard about magic tricks from the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. This motion and its purpose is one long virtuoso example of a magic trick. It is trying to distract attention from the appalling situation that the government finds itself in thanks to the antics of the Deputy Premier. When we talk about asset sales, I think the one asset sale that Queenslanders are interested in right now is the sale of the Deputy Premier’s husband’s house. We have heard over and over again that it is going to be sold but we do not know the circumstances under which it is sold and we do not even know if or when. We only have the Premier’s word on that and so far that doesn’t seem to be very valuable.”

” I have heard speakers before me talk about what a mistake it was for the government to move this motion to discuss asset sales, when they are the ones who have sold assets and this side has not. I can see the sullen countenances to my left. I can see their faces. I have seen happier faces on a pirate flag. They are looking at this and they are saying, ‘What are we doing this for again? Why did we come in here for this? We have the story down pat. We don’t need speaking notes for this one.’
I have a list of the assets that this government or its predecessors have sold. Around the cabinet table that sold $16 billion worth of assets were ministers who sit right now with that odious rump on the benches opposite. I am talking about Queensland Motorways, the Abbot Point port, QRNational which is the one that was never going to be sold, the Port of Brisbane, Forestry Plantations, the Cairns and Mackay airports, the Brisbane airport, wind energy assets, gas assets and Enertrade, Golden Casket, Powerdirect, Sungas, Sun Retail and Allgas. In this state under Labor, $16 billion or more worth of assets were sold. It is the Labor Party that sells assets and it is completely disingenuous for them to try divert attention away from their problems by talking about asset sales. The LNP does not sell assets in this state.
Just a moment ago, I was talking to my good friend the member for Pumicestone. They are still at it. As we speak, they are selling land on Bribie Island. The tender closes tomorrow.”

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Stewart): “Order, members!”

Mr LISTER: “Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I can hear myself quite well. I am not worried about the interjections, in case you were worrying about my welfare.”
This Labor government is in no position whatsoever to lecture the House, the LNP or the people of Queensland about asset sales. We have no faith whatsoever in the Labor government, although there are not many assets left to sell. What happened to the $16 billion from the sale of assets under Labor? The money was blown! It was frittered away on thought bubbles and projects, such as the $100,000 program for weight loss for dogs. That is the sort of stuff that the Labor Party does with the money that it derives from asset sales.
I am also completely riled by the idea that electricity prices are being controlled by this Labor Party for the benefit of Queenslanders. That is not case in my electorate of Southern Downs. From the copious correspondence that I have sent him, the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy very well knows that in my electorate people are doing it tough. Along the border between New South Wales and Queensland, which is a large portion of my electorate, people are paying way over the odds for electricity, no thanks to this Labor Party government. I am talking about people who grow things from nothing, who employ people and who generate wealth, prosperity and taxes to pay for us and all of the services that we scrutinise in this House. Where is the deal for them? Nothing that comes from the Labor side of the House can teach us how to run the economy or how to provide cheaper electricity prices. Only the conservative side knows how to deliver for the economic growth and the welfare of the state of Queensland.
When I see the Deputy Premier pointing to us and talking about asset sales and economic management, it is like the pot calling the kettle black. It is like the Deputy Premier pointing to Gordon Nuttall and saying, ‘Dodgy!’ It is completely disingenuous. Everyone in this House understands the purpose of this motion. It is a distraction. The people of Queensland are not impressed. Look at what happened at the federal election. Look at what happened to seats in North Queensland. Look at the standing of the Labor Party with people. It is this kind of nonsense and subterfuge that is annoying them and turning them away. They want action; they do not want talk. They want a government that listens to them and delivers the things that they are after such as proper electricity reforms, not ideology and not an agenda dominated by the social proclivities of the member for South Brisbane and others.
This state needs an LNP government to run electricity properly so that we can ensure that the farmers, the families, the small businesses and everyone in my electorate of Southern Downs and throughout Queensland get a better deal on their electricity. We will not be selling assets. If you want to look at asset sales, look at the Labor Party, because they are the ones who have done them all.”