First Speech: Ian Goodenough MP

Member for Moore, Western Australia

9 December 2013

Mr GOODENOUGH (Moore) (15:20): Madam Speaker, as I rise to speak for the first time, I offer my warmest congratulations on your election as Speaker of the House. I look forward to serving with you as a member of the Speaker's panel. I refer to Her Excellency's speech on opening day, in which she said:

There is no limit to what Australia can achieve, but only if we respect the limits of government, as well as its potential.

The challenge for the Australian government is to foster a strong competitive environment by reversing overregulation, addressing the factors which increase the costs of doing business in Australia and reforming the industrial relations system to increase workforce participation and productivity. The development of strong policies for the business sector in the areas of corporate governance, financial services regulation and industry are required to promote the economic development of our nation.

I thank the electors of Moore for entrusting me with the responsibility of acting as their representative. It is a great honour and privilege to represent my constituents in federal parliament. I humbly accept this responsibility and pledge to serve by doing my very best in carrying out my duties. Moore is a coastal electorate located in the northern suburbs of Perth, with the city of Joondalup as its major regional hub. The electorate includes pristine beaches, three marinas and a national park. It has leading educational institutions, diverse businesses and advanced medical facilities. Employment self-sufficiency remains a major issue in the electorate, as daily commuter traffic congests arterial roads. To alleviate the situation, it is vital to progress the Neerabup industrial area. By cutting the red tape which has delayed the project, timely planning and environmental approvals will deliver up to 20,000 new jobs. In addition, development projects in central Joondalup and at the Ocean Reef Marina will boost commercial activity. The coalition has a plan for creating 2 million new jobs nationally, and the electorate of Moore stands ready to deliver its share of this target.

Within Moore, world-class research and development projects are being developed at Edith Cowan University. I look forward to being part of the Abbott coalition government which will implement policies to promote the commercialisation of Australian inventions and technology, harnessing the economic benefits of intellectual property developed in Australia. As the third largest hospital in Western Australia, with 650 beds, Joondalup Health Campus provides the state's busiest emergency department and a private hospital wing, as well as a clinical school to train future doctors, nurses and health professionals. I am an advocate for the expansion of the hospital facilities to provide a greater range of specialist medical services.

I am the eighth member for Moore since the electorate was first proclaimed in 1948. It was named after George Fletcher Moore, the first Advocate-General in Western Australia in 1834.

I pay tribute to my predecessor, Dr Mal Washer, who served in this parliament for 15 years and with whom I have had a very close association. A medical practitioner and avocado grower, Dr Mal Washer is highly respected within the local community and revered by his peers from both sides of the House. Dr Mal is well known for expressing his point of view and standing up for his beliefs and values. He has always been generous, supportive and a great mentor. I have some very big shoes to fill.

I am a first-generation migrant to Australia, arriving as a nine-year-old with my parents on 8 December 1984, exactly 29 years ago yesterday. The Goodenough family has a very rich history dating back to the United Kingdom. The Domesday Book of 1086 records my ancestors as landowners in the shire of Cumberland. Over the centuries, members of the family provided loyal service to the Crown through the clergy and military and in banking, before migrating eastwards during the 19th century with the expanding British Empire.

The Goodenough name often attracts comments and light-hearted puns. In 1809, my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, the Reverend Samuel Goodenough, Bishop of Carlisle, delivered a sermon to the House of Lords which gave rise to the epigram of the time:

'Tis well enough that Goodenough

Before the Lords should preach;

But, sure enough, full bad enough

Are those he had to teach.

Bishop Samuel Goodenough is buried in the north cloister of Westminster Abbey, and his descendants spread the family across the globe.

My extended relatives arrived in Australia during the 1800s. Police Trooper Henry Goodenough was present at the Eureka Stockade uprising in 1854 and is documented as a key witness for the Crown in the subsequent court trial. Commodore James Graham Goodenough served as Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Naval Station, residing at Admiralty House, Kirribilli, from 1873 until his death in 1875 whilst on duty. He is buried in the historic St Thomas Cemetery in North Sydney, and Goodenough Island was named in his honour.

My branch of the family were among the early British settlers in the colony of Singapore in the 1800s, who pioneered thriving enterprises in the bustling colonial outpost. Prosperity came to an abrupt end on 15 February 1942 with the fall of Singapore and subsequent Japanese occupation, an event described by Churchill as 'the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history'.

My family endured three decades of hardship following the end of the war as Singapore struggled to rebuild. I was born 30 years after the end of the war, and I recall the latter stages of the recovery, characterised by ramshackle housing, unsealed roads, poor sanitation and very basic utilities in certain areas. This was an invaluable experience growing up because it provided me with an appreciation of what we have today. Through hard work, resourcefulness and the sound values instilled in us by our parents and grandparents, my cousins and I have managed to rebuild.

My grandparents' war stories of daily survival in occupied territory—in particular, my favourite story of them concealing from the Japanese, in a grave in the dead of night, Lee-Enfield rifles and bayonets—instilled in me the importance of marksmanship, defence, military service and the alliance with the United States of America, which liberated my family.

It was a very sentimental occasion to be sworn as a member of parliament on the Bible which my grandmother gave me 30 years ago, in 1983, just prior to migrating to Australia. This bears testament to my lifelong Christian faith in the Anglican tradition.

Upon arriving in Australia in 1984, I attended Leederville Primary School, and later I attended Aranmore Catholic College, graduating as dux of the class of 1992. Leaving high school, I secured a job as a trainee accountant at a well-known firm of chartered accountants, Hendry Rae & Court, studying for my commerce degree at Curtin University by night. Through the firm I met former Premier Sir Charles Court, a great Western Australian who inspired me to be industrious and enterprising. I then joined the Liberal Party, working my way up as an office bearer and election volunteer. I later worked as the accountant for an engineering business, subsequently purchasing a shareholding in a company which supplies pipe fittings to the commercial construction and mining industries.

I know firsthand what it means to be in business—to employ staff, to stock inventory, to comply with regulation, to take commercial risk and to be responsible for balancing the books. I have personally experienced the decline in Australian manufacturing due to rising costs, declining margins, and regulatory burden. Venturing into commercial and residential property development, I similarly experienced the obstacles to business development caused by overregulation.

A former Australian Prime Minister once said in the 1990s that one should not aspire to hold public office until one has washed one's hands in Solvol. Not many people know what Solvol is, let alone have washed their hands in it. It is a metaphor for bringing working values and practical, shopfloor experience to public life. In my case, there is always a supply of the industrial detergent in my factory and at my farm. I bring to this parliament valuable industry experience and will always remember the needs and aspirations of the people whom I am elected to represent in this place.

My first foray into public life was in the Town of Vincent Council elections as a 22-year-old, in what is considered a Labor stronghold. I lost by over 260 votes. I learnt from the experience and, undeterred, I contested the City of Wanneroo elections.

I have been actively involved in the community, including as a board member of Peter Moyes Anglican Community School, for nine years. I look forward to using my local government experience by working cooperatively with the Cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo in advocating for federal government support for key infrastructure and services in our region.

The greatest challenge facing Australia in the 21st century is increased international competition from emerging economies in our region. In a globalised economy with free trade and mobility of investment capital across international borders, a nation's economic performance will determine living standards. Over the next decades, Australia will face unprecedented competition for resources and energy as populations seek to improve their standards of living. We will be competing with billions of people who value education and are prepared to work long hours to produce, earn, save and invest to get ahead economically. Those nations which fail to produce as much as they consume will fall behind into greater levels of debt.

Only through responsible fiscal management—by getting the budget under control—can we reduce the burden of national debt irresponsibly incurred over the past six years, and only through effective monetary policy can the Australian economy forge ahead in a low-inflation environment. In order to maintain Australia's place in the global economy we must capitalise on our strengths in primary, secondary and tertiary industry. We must support agriculture and fisheries by developing robust policies that support primary producers, so ensuring our long term food security and biosecurity.

Our government must implement policies that support the mining, resources and energy industries across the nation—and in particular in my home state of Western Australia, where iron ore, minerals, and natural gas are leading export earners for the nation. A coalition government will invest in infrastructure to support these industries and remove the burden of the mining and carbon taxes. A coalition government will actively work to develop trade and investment relations, that are in the national interest, with countries not only in the South-East Asian region but also the United States of America and in Africa, Europe and beyond.

We will also act to protect our borders and maintain our sovereignty. At a time when countries in our region are increasing military spending, it is essential to maintain a strong Australian Defence Force—not as an aggressive action but to protect our rightful place in the region. I am a strong supporter of the Australia-United States Alliance in terms of both defence and economic issues.

As a proud Western Australian, I am a federalist who believes in preserving the rights of the states which formed the Commonwealth at Federation. The Commonwealth must ensure equitable funding arrangements for all states, including my home state of Western Australia. In particular, the declining share of revenue from Commonwealth-based taxes such as the goods and services tax and royalties needs be addressed as a priority. Western Australia may represent 10 per cent of the Australian population, but it accounts for more than 46 per cent of national export income and 16 per cent of gross domestic product.

The remoteness of and the tyranny of vast distances in Western Australia make for costly infrastructure to support these industries. I make the case for a review of Commonwealth funding arrangements and for increased investment in infrastructure in Western Australia which will, in the long term, create economic development and return more taxation revenue for the Commonwealth.

I have a vision of building an Australia of the future based on the principles of democracy, meritocracy, and national unity drawing upon the motto 'e pluribus unum', which translates from Latin as 'from many, one'. From many cultures and origins there must be one united Australian national identity. Australians from all walks of life must unite with a common purpose of building a strong nation with a robust economy that is able to provide for the wellbeing and defence of its citizens.

In doing so, as a nation we must address the issues of multiculturalism and reconciliation, whilst preserving the fundamental character and values of Australian identity. These complex social processes are by necessity two-way streets. There has to be a degree of give and take to promote a balanced approach to the competing goals of diversity, assimilation and integration in our emerging national identity. From my own experience I can attest to the value of interacting with people of different cultures and fully participating in my local community.

Well-connected and networked individuals benefit from a greater understanding of different cultures and exposure to wider opportunities for advancement. Australians should be proud of the British heritage of our country—the Westminster system, our public institutions, modern agriculture, industrial production, technology and a service economy—all of which have delivered the society and lifestyle which we enjoy today. We must never allow the significance of this heritage to be diminished.

It does not matter how long one has been in Australia—whether just a few years or 40,000 years—or from which country one has originated. What matters is what one does in Australia—one's character and commitment, the achievements accomplished and the contribution made to our country. What is needed to succeed in Australia is a positive attitude and a strong work ethic.

Having personally visited the poorest and most marginalised Australians, 2,000 kilometres north of Perth, and seen first-hand the living conditions and hopelessness, I realised that the job of reconciliation will not be complete until these forgotten people, and many like them in remote communities across Australia, are embraced by our society.

Reconciliation will only be achieved when the questions are asked: when was the last time you invited an Indigenous person to your home, when was the last time you shared a meal with an Indigenous person and when was the last time you employed an Indigenous person? And the answers to these questions are: 'I do it regularly.'

True reconciliation cannot be achieved with words or a document. It can only be achieved with real actions. Reconciliation must be practical, material and tangible. In this parliament we have the opportunity to push the boundaries of reconciliation and multiculturalism and set forth a movement that includes Australians of all backgrounds in a national understanding that unites us all.

I would like to pay tribute to the Western Australian division of the Liberal Party, to state director Ben Morton and the team at Menzies House for running a professional campaign. In particular, I acknowledge my home division of Moore. To my campaign team and over 400 branch members and volunteers who helped me during the election, I thank you. It was a collective team effort. I could not have done it without your support.

To my parents, Reg and Mary, thank you for the values you have instilled in me; your hard work, commitment and guidance over the years has led me to where I am today. You taught me to be hard working, self-reliant, and a contributor to society. To my closest friend, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, thank you for your steadfast loyalty and encouragement over many years. Similarly, to the Hon George Cash, former President of the Western Australian Legislative Council; thank you for guiding and mentoring both Michaelia and me in our formative years.

I thank my state counterparts the Hon. Rob Johnson, the Hon. Albert Jacob, Jan Norberger, the Hon. Peter Katsambanis and their respective wives for their friendship and loyalty over the years. Also, I thank the honourable members for Curtin, Sturt and Groom, and Senator Mathias Cormann for assisting me during the campaign.

There are too many names to mention, for risk of omission; however, in particular, I must thank Tony Brooks, Counsellor James Limnios and the Limnios family, Mayor Tracey Roberts, Mary Anglin, David Anson, Marlon Lockyear, Dev and Pat Naidu, Kevin and Sue Fairman, David and Cindy Harding, Miles Wood and my cousins based in Australia, Clyde, Sean, Garrett, and David Goodenough.

I thank all members, senators, and staff of the parliament for warmly welcoming me into this place and helping me to settle in over the past few weeks. Madam Speaker, in closing, I dedicate myself to the service of the people of Moore and our great Australian nation through my service in this parliament.

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