Senator The Hon Ron Boswell was elected to the Senate as The Nationals representative for Queensland in 1983, and subsequently in 1984, 1987, 1990, 1996, 2001 and 2007. His current term expires on 30 June, 2014.
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Since 1990, ‘Bozzie’ has held the position of Leader of The Nationals in the Senate. He was also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minster for Transport and Regional Services from 1999 to 2003, since then concentrating his energies on issues for Queensland families, small businesses and primary industries.
Previously, Senator Boswell held various positions in the Shadow Ministry, including, Shadow Minister for Regional Development and External Territories from 16.9.88 to 11.4.90, Northern Australia and External Territories from 7.4.93 to 26.5.94 and Consumer Affairs from 26.5.94 to 9.12.94. In February 1998, Senator Boswell was chosen as The Nationals Representative to the Constitutional Convention. He remains a staunch supporter of Australia’s constitutional monarchy and was a leading figure in the ‘no’ vote campaign for the referendum on whether Australia should become a republic on 6 November 1999.
A manufacturer’s agent in his own small business before entering parliament, Senator Boswell has been an active campaigner for rural, small business, social conservative and family causes. Over twenty-six years Senate service, Senator Boswell’s achievements have included changes in legislation to benefit rural, family and small business interests.
In 1989, he successfully campaigned to have the wording of the mergers test in section 50 of the Trade Practices Act changed from ‘market dominance’ to ‘a substantial lessening of competition in a substantial market’, strengthening the test to enable disallowance of mergers between large companies and to promote greater competition in Australian consumer markets.
Senator Boswell’s campaigns on behalf of rural producers and small business have extended to issues including providing better communications for regional areas, enabling collective bargaining by groups of small businesses and farmers, campaigning against dumped and highly subsidised imported foodstuffs, providing exceptional circumstances funds for rural dwellers during times of prolonged drought, securing assistance packages for the restructuring of rural industries like dairy, sugar and commercial and recreational fishing, and taking up the case for independent newsagents, service station operators, grocers, pharmacists, hoteliers and other small businesses in light of the growth of the large retailers.
As a manufacturer’s agent before entering parliament, Senator Boswell’s small business background has helped him in his efforts to fight for the small business and independent retail sectors. He was instrumental in instigating a Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into Competition in the Retail Sector and he continued his commitment to small business as a member of the Inquiry committee. Senator Boswell also helped to instigate the Dawson Review of the competition provisions of the Trade Practices Act and made a detailed submission to it. The Review culminated in the passage of legislation enabling a simpler, less costly, collective bargaining regime to be put in place for small business groups. He continues to work closely with small business interests to promote reform of the Trade Practices Act that will ‘tip the seesaw’ of competition back in their favour. Most recently, he has worked with Australian business interests, and the Treasurer, Peter Costello, to bring legislation forward that will amend Sections 46 and 50 of the Trade Practices Act to better protect small business against Misuse of Market Power, including the practice of ‘predatory pricing’ and Unconscionable Conduct.
Senator Boswell has been at the forefront of the debate to stop the Rudd Labor Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme which has the potential to put many blue collar Queensland workers out of a job. He has travelled throughout Queensland spreading the message on how an Emissions Trading Scheme will hurt manufacturers, miners and farmers in regional Australia.
Senator Boswell has led a long fight against the far-right political movement in Australia, culminating at the November 2001 Federal Election when he vindicated his position by refusing to preference One Nation. He competed directly with Pauline Hanson, defeating her to retain his Queensland Senate seat and again relegating the far right to the political wilderness.
Senator Boswell is a strong advocate of the family and social conservative views. He has been a vocal opponent of homosexual marriage and the use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells for research in Australia. Senator Boswell has advocated adult stem cell research as a safer, pro-life way forward for this type of progressive science and in 2006 secured a $22 million Federal grant to establish a world first Adult Stem Cell Centre at Griffith University in Brisbane. Senator Boswell opposed the Federal legalisation of human cloning and destruction of embryos for so-called ‘therapeutic’ reasons and continues to lobby his state colleagues to ensure they are fully informed on the latest information surrounding this vital debate.
Senator Boswell has constantly reinforced his pro-life stance by participating in the abortion debate, calling for more information to be made public on the number and nature of abortion procedures carried out in Australia each year and investigating practical methods to reduce demand for abortions among Australians. He was strongly opposed to removing the Health Minister’s veto on abortion pill, RU 486 and continues to rally against its use in Australia.
Senator Boswell is led the fight against Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie’s decision to force mass amalgamations of Councils in regional and remote Queensland. He has also been heavily involved in the fight against Traveston Dam, and in promoting a proposal for a $250 per child per year tax deduction toward the costs of childrens’ sport participation, which he is hoping to have adopted as government policy. He also successfully led the charge to get laws amended so that criminal convictions on fishermen caught fishing in a green zone would be regarded as spent.