House debates

Thursday, 25 July 2019


Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019; Third Reading

10:56 am

Photo of Bob KatterBob Katter (Kennedy, Katter's Australian Party) Share this | Hansard source

Where I come from, we have a saying: when your neighbour starts preaching religion, look for your branding iron. On one occasion, I was preaching religion and an old cocky said, 'You know the saying: when your neighbour starts preaching religion?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'When your politician starts preaching religion reach for your shooting iron.' We have a basic mistrust of ideology. We find that ideology is usually at our expense when we live in a world where we have to grow something and produce something to get paid for it.

This debate has always fascinated me. I have written and published a history book by Murdoch press. Kevin Rudd was kind enough to launch it to over a thousand people in Sydney and Barrie Cassidy was kind enough to launch it to over a thousand people in Melbourne.

In that history book, I touched upon the refugee problem, particularly concerning Jewish people in Europe. There were seven million refugees at the end of the war and none of them got on boats to come to Australia. They were fleeing across the border for their lives, firstly from the Nazis and then from the communists. The poor Jewish people—our country will wear the black mark on its soul forever that we took 15,000 of those poor people and six million of them perished in the death camps. We'll have to live with that as a nation. Some will say, 'You are doing the same thing again now.' No, we're not. These people fled in terror across the border to get away. This is not fleeing across the border. They're not fleeing from. They are going to.

The Burmese that have fled are in Malaysia. The people in the Second World War were in Europe. Have a look at your globe. They are on one side of the globe and Australia is on the other side of the globe. That's not fleeing from; that's going to.

Where are they going to? People say, 'You know, your mob out there—I've got at least one forebear that came from the Middle East. I come from an area where very heavily the Afghan camel drivers are most certainly huge numbers of our people—I might argue they're the greatest of our citizens. So, what's different? They came to this country because they knew there was an opportunity to provide a service, have a business, make a lot of money and improve their lot. They came here and they knew they could make a contribution and make money out of it. Now, that is a hell of a difference from people that are jumping on a boat and going to Sydney and sitting on welfare. Well, you've got your chance. You can have your say, my friend, but you're the same mob that refused to let the Jews in. And, quite frankly, our policies at the present moment are not very partial to the Sikhs, the Jews and the Christians.

If you're going to let people in from the Middle East and from Africa, surely, precedence should be given to the clearly identifiable persecuted minorities. The Sikhs, depending on who you want to listen to—4,000, or maybe 20,000, were murdered in one year in India and Pakistan. Surely the Sikhs—and I make no apologies for being their representative in this place—should be given precedence over someone who decides to get on a boat and travel right around the world to come to a nation where our welfare payments are $60,000 and they're coming from nations where their income is $5,000. Surely, the preference should be given to the Sikhs, the Jews and the Christians—identifiable persecuted minorities from this area.

I've used the example of refugees—Burma, World War II. There are two nations—I have read about in the newspapers and the media—that do not take refugees in the Middle East. Those two countries are Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. They're not going to take them. Saudi Arabia, the leading nation in the world promoting, defending and protecting the Islamic religion, will not take refugees. Why? Because there are grave dangers in taking refugees. And I can speak with authority, because the gentleman that walked out here couldn't sit and tolerate this.

There were three people stabbed to death in the Kennedy electorate—this is not in Sydney; this is in North Queensland. The gentleman yelled out proselytising comments while stabbing three people to death in Clare, a farming area. One of them came back to life. The other recent mass murder was in Sydney, where, again, that person would fit into the category of refugees. So, you bring them in but you leave others behind and say: 'No. No Sikhs can come here, no Christians can come here, no Jews can come here, but we'll take these people any time they want to climb on a boat.' You will live with the same shame and the same condemnation that those governments before the war lived with and our poor nation has to live with, because we, on racial lines and ideological lines, refused to allow those people to come to this nation.

Why would you not leave those countries? Almost every single one of them is on fire. You would desperately want to leave those countries. And why wouldn't you want to go to a country with the highest welfare payments probably in the world?

I'll make a political comment here. The ALP, according to the figures that have been provided to me, allowed 80,000 people to come in on refugee boats. So, anyone who decides they want to jump on a boat, under the ALP, can get in here, right? You've got to think about that. There are some decent people on both sides of this parliament. To the decent people in the ALP, please think about this. If you're saying that anyone can get on a boat and come any time they feel like it, think about that. Why wouldn't the whole of Egypt climb on a boat and come over here? It's arguably the poorest country on earth, and it comes across to what should be the richest country on earth. Why wouldn't all of them come here?

Now, under the LNP—and I'm no great fan of the LNP; we're about to have a big fight over industrial matters, but in this case I have to give them full marks—they have simply stopped that from happening. Before that, anyone who decided to get on a boat could come to Australia—80,000 of them. Under the LNP, no, you can't get on a boat and come here any time you feel like it. Everyone in this parliament would've seen decent people that wanted to come to Australia get knocked back. We can only take so many people, so we've got to knock some back. But you don't have to be knocked back if you come on a boat, if the ALP is in power.

I plead with the good people in the ALP to think about what I'm saying. If this medevac act is fair dinkum—and I don't know if the report is correct; I have no way of verifying it, but I'd appreciate it if the minister would verify it. According to TheSydney Morning Herald, I think,there were 332 applications, out of some 400 people on the island, the day after the medevac bill got passed or put into the parliament. Immediately they saw it as a way of getting into this country, simply as a ticket. People that could climb on a boat, knowing they could come here, came here but got caught. Now they've found there's another way of climbing on a boat and getting here. It's called medevac.

As a person who has published a history book, as an aspiring historian with a great knowledge and love of my country—as I hope everyone else here has—I would say that we have the shame of what happened before the war. Six million Jewish people were murdered. Hitler's first preference was for them to leave. He ordered them to leave, and no-one on earth would take them. We wouldn't take them. And I hate to say it, because my family are very strong people— (Time expired)


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