This is not the Brisbane parliament; this is the Queensland parliament. There is more to Queensland than Coronation Drive or Yeerongpilly. The members from the other side who have spoken in this debate have all been city based members who will be able to zip home within five, 10 or 15 minutes and get to functions, as the member for Mermaid Beach said.
This is not about family-friendly hours. This is about the 38 seats in the area of Brisbane— which are mostly held by the Labor Party—and the ability of those members to get to functions and P&C meetings and leave us regional members from the bush stuck here in parliament when there is no parliament that is actually sitting. Like I said, this is not the Brisbane parliament; it is the Queensland parliament.
The Labor Party’s attempt to reduce the hours we work in this parliament is nothing short of laziness and it is robbing Queenslanders of their opportunity to make sure that we scrutinise legislation and keep this government to account. The sessional orders we are debating tonight go to the very essence of why we are all here. All of us have been honoured and given a privilege to represent the constituents in our electorate. Wrapping this all up as a move for family-friendly hours is a farce. How is this family friendly for regional members? Regional members are here all week. In fact, we will now have to jump on a plane or get here on a Sunday. The member for Callide will have to find a flight on Sunday, leave his family, leave his wife and be down here on a Sunday night. It is the same for the member for Traeger, me as the member for Gregory, the member for Whitsunday, the Gold Coast members and the Sunshine Coast members. These members will all have to leave on a Sunday to be down here because the government wants to change the sessional orders. The government wants to go out there and say that this is family friendly. This is not family friendly. This is about shutting down debate. This is about knocking off work early.
Regional members are here all week. We cannot just zip home at night and see our families. Members living in the Brisbane catchment area can get home within about five, 10, 15 or 30 minutes, but members from the regional areas will be stuck here. Let us be absolutely clear. We are here to work. We are one of the few parliaments in Australia with the least number of sitting days and now Labor want to cut the hours that we sit. Last term we got the feeling that they were running out of bills to table. We just got that feeling. They were running out of ideas. I guess in the 56th Parliament they have no idea now. They have absolutely no idea.
Members on this side want to work. We are not here to knock off early. We are given an opportunity to represent the people in our electorates and they want us to work. They do not want us to knock off early. How can I go back to my electorate and say, ‘I’m not really putting in 100 per cent because we’re knocking off early’? We need to have these sitting days and we need to have these hours to be able to scrutinise and keep the Labor Party accountable.
I would not like to see the Labor Party or those opposite run an agricultural business. Could you imagine them running an agricultural business? As a harvesting contractor, you get in there, you get the crop off and the machine works around the clock.
Opposition members interjected.
Mr SPEAKER: Member for Gregory, it is actually those on my left who are drowning you out at the moment. I ask members to please keep their interjections to a minimum—even those on your own side of the House.
Mr MILLAR: Could you imagine those opposite running a harvesting contract business? They would hardly be able to do it properly. Let us just say that it is a wheat crop. You have worked all winter trying to get that wheat crop out of the ground and it is going well. It is looking good, but in November the storms are coming so you have to get the header out there. Could you imagine the Labor Party introducing those family-friendly hours when it comes to contracting? The clouds could be coming over but they would say, ‘No, let’s knock off early.’ Then they would wonder why they were going broke. They would say, ‘Why are we going broke?’ Maybe it is because they knocked off a little bit early. Seriously, those members opposite and those new members should think about the member for Callide, the member for Traeger, the opposition leader and also their own members, including the member for Cook who has to come down here on a Sunday and leave her family.