National

LNP senator fights back against activists

By AAP Newswire

A new Queensland Liberal senator has vowed to fight back against activists living hundreds of kilometres from mining projects holding towns to ransom.

Paul Scarr, who topped the LNP Senate ticket at the May federal election, took aim at those railing against development against the wishes of local communities.

The former general counsel for mining company PanAust said the company's Laos mine had lifted thousands out of poverty.

"Whether it is a village in Laos or a town in Queensland, it is the local communities who matter," Senator Scarr told parliament in his first speech on Tuesday.

"Their futures - the future of their towns, their communities, and their children - should not be held to ransom."

He said mining approvals like Adani's Queensland Carmichael project and Roy Hill in WA shouldn't take a decade.

"We are better than that. We must be better than that."

With a who's who of Queensland LNP in the gallery, Senator Scarr noted the importance of free speech on university campuses and respect for conscience of religious medical practitioners.

"I will always be a fierce defender of the right of the individual to express their views, to hear other people's opinions and to be sovereign over their own beliefs, thoughts and conscience," he said.

After graduating university Senator Scarr worked for a law firm in Papua New Guinea between 1999 and 2001.

He wants Australia's rugby league-mad neighbour to get a team in the national competition.

"Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see a PNG team in an NRL grand final, except perhaps seeing that grand final played in Brisbane," he said.

"Sport brings people together and Papua New Guineans and Australians love their sport. It is part of our bond."

Senator Scarr said free enterprise was the way to lift living standards, urging the coalition to take up the fight against Labor.

"This is no 'trickle down' theory. This is the power of free enterprise. It is time for the capitalists to rise up and defend capitalism," he said.

"There is no greater force to lift people out of poverty than free enterprise. I have seen this first hand in my own working life."