Wednesday, 24 February 2016
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; Second Reading
Trying to fandangle the political system to your own advantage has had a very bad history in Australia—an extremely bad history in Australia. In my home state of Queensland the ALP got all the western seats which they held and divided them in half so that there were 3,000 people electing a member from Charters Towers and 20,000 electing the Country Party leader from the Gold Coast. That was called a gerrymander. We in the Country Party said thank you, because we ended up taking all those country seats and winning government. So the ALP wrote their own death warrant. Mr Goss changed the voting in Queensland so that it is first past the post, and he thought that that would set the National Party at the Liberals' throats and the ALP would be in government forever. What it did was bring the National Party and the Liberal Party into bed together and the ALP were thrown out on their head at the next election.
So when you start trying to play these sneaky little political games, like the Greens are playing with the Liberals at the moment, they have a very bad habit of backfiring. You want to be really careful. I have already been attending meetings where already there is some great stuff going on which is going to be very regretful for the people sitting over here. There is a little thing called preferences and, judging by the way you blokes are falling in the polls at the moment, you better be really nice to the people in the middle—and you are doing just the opposite. You are rather stupidly antagonising all those people who are going to be holding those preferences upon which your seats will depend in the next election.
There are people in Australia who think, and therein lies the problem for the people who try to fandangle the system. There are people in Australia who think, and everyone knows what this is about. Everyone knows that this is about trying to eliminate the voice of the little people. That is all this is about—'There will only be us and the big boys playing and no-one else is playing the game.' The Greens have got a bit carried away with themselves and have started to think they are the big boys. I think they are in for a pretty rude shock, because people are pretty worried about their jobs. They are not coming up to me and saying, 'We are dying of carbon.' They are saying, 'Am I going to have a job tomorrow?' So I would not be counting too much on the Greens' performance.
I deeply regret that this game is being played. Once again, the people of Australia will be hit with another wave of disillusion. For everyone in this House, 20 per cent of people will not vote for the majors anymore. They just will not do it. They will vote for anyone. You can say, 'These are ridiculous little parties,' but they will vote for ridiculous little parties rather than vote for you. The chickens are coming home to roost, as I have said a million times in this place.
There is a really good movie out. I recommend everyone go and see The Big Short. In America, everyone said there was no problem and one bloke made $96 billion out of the fact that he realised that there was one hell of a big problem out there. He sold short and made $96 billion. Go and see that movie, because if you think there is nothing wrong in this country then you must be the only people in this country who think there is nothing wrong. We have nothing left except iron ore and coal. I come from a coalmining area, and I can tell you that things are pretty grim. That is all we have left now. We have those two things going.
You have decided that you are going to fandangle the system for your own benefit, and I have seen it again and again in Australian history that, when people have tried to be tricky and smart and to overcome the democratic system with their sneaky little tricks, it has backfired on them really badly—and I predict it is going to be the same thing here.