During a fiery debate, a former state Premier has said he no longer recognises Australia and the country has “lost its mojo”.
Former Queensland Premier and Senate candidate Campbell Newman says Australia has lost its way and should return to the nation building policies of last century.
“I don’t recognise Australia … because this country has lost its mojo,” Mr Newman said on the ABC’s Q&A on Thursday.
Responding to Greens Senator Larissa Waters who called for more taxes on billionaires to fund essential services, Mr Campbell said the solution was to look to last century.
“I grew up as a teenager in a country that believed in national development,” Mr Newman, who is running as a Liberal Democrat said.
“It was the generation of World War II who built this country, who built the highway system, aluminium refineries, coal-fired power stations, dams and irrigation schemes, and there was opportunity.”
He called for less tax, less spending and voluntary superannuation to encourage business activity.
Senator Waters took the polar opposite approach, echoing her party’s policies of free TAFE and University and dental care included in Medicare.
“Everything’s going up except wages. You know what else went up? The wealth of billionaires during Covid – mining billionaires in particular – doubled their wealth. So we’ve actually got a growing gap between the very wealthy and ordinary people, and this government isn’t doing anything to fix that,” she said.
“We can have a government that works for you and not just big corporates and political donors, if we make the billionaires and the big corporations pay their fair share of tax. We can raise the revenue and then fund the services that people need to address that cost of living.”
Later in the program the pair clashed on the issue of climate change with Mr Newman pressing Senator Waters whether she would back specific new infrastructure projects.
“Will you support flood mitigation dams to protect Brisbane and Ipswich because the Greens have a track record of opposing dams and infrastructure like that because there‘s always a threatened species,” Mr Newman asked.
Ms Waters said her party would consider flood mitigation measures but no “decent” proposals had been made.