Stuart Robert is the MP for the electorate of Fadden and has held the seat since the 2007 election. Fadden is bounded by the Logan and Albert Rivers in the north, the Pacific Motorway to Coomera in the west, Molendinar and Labrador in the south and the Pacific shore from the Gold Coast Seaway to Jumpinpin Inlet in the east. Fadden is a very safe LNP seat with Mr Robert winning 53.6 per cent of all votes. I interviewed him at his election party on election night.
EE: What’s been your key message of the campaign?
SR: We have a plan, a real solutions plan. We have a plan to stop the waste, stop the boats, pay back the debt and get the country onto sound economic footing, compared to six years of Labor chaos and confusion. The plan has always been elect the adults in the room, let’s get back to sound economic management and move away from the soap opera that is the Labor Party.
EE: Have you been concerned about the votes that might go to the minor parties?
SR: Well the rise of the Palmer Party of course is always interesting and a little phenomenal. You’re seeing a 15 per cent swing or movement in primary vote to the Palmer Party here on the Gold Coast. Now Clive lives on the Gold Coast, he lives in my seat. So if there’s ever a seat that’s going to take it hard we have and yet we’ve still triumphed quite well over it.
EE: Do you think it’s a matter of the Coalition winning big or is it a matter of Labor losing out?
SR: There’s always a great action in politics that oppositions don’t win, governments lose. However, governments only lose if an opposition is seen as credible and capable and coherent and that’s the case here. We’ve had six years of an appallingly chaotic government and that government is falling apart in front of our eyes and people are saying “it’s time for Tony Abbott” and that’s a good thing.
EE: At the 2010 election, Labor said they would continue to provide budget certainty for defence. However, Labor significantly reduced the defence budget. What are you going to do to reinforce Defence?
SR: Well Labor’s cut 25 billion dollars out of the Defence Budget. There is now a thirty-three billion dollar future capability hole. So we’ve announced a few things. There will be no cuts for the Defence Force under a Tony Abbott government. We’ll move towards getting the Defence Budget back towards two per cent of GDP by the end of the decade. We’ll look to do that on the back of three per cent increases in real growth and any savings in the bureaucracy cutting will go back into the teeth ratio of the Defence Force.
EE: In terms of the navy, what are you going to do to enhance submarine capabilities?
SR: We need to fix it. Collins needs to be operating and operating well. There’s been a remediation program for the last few years that’s gone reasonably well, that just needs to be finalised. But more importantly we should’ve started the Future Submarine Project, C4000, four years ago and we haven’t. We’ve made a commitment that we will get that organised and started within 18 months.