House debates

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Statements by Members

Racial Discrimination Act 1975, Member for Barton

1:40 pm

Photo of Ben MortonBen Morton (Tangney, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In my maiden speech, I said:

If you share our common Australian values, whether your heritage is from over the seas or you are an Indigenous Australian, if you look forward not backwards and if you make a contribution to our nation's future, I am here for you.

I represent one of Western Australia's most multicultural electorates. My constituents do not want divisive, backward-looking, apologetic politics; they want the very best for Australia. I want a reconciled Australia—one where we focus on our shared values and not on those things that divides us.

On the matter of 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the complainants and the Human Rights Commission have taken action that divides us, action that creates resentment and division. I have been disappointed by the quality of the debate in this place since I arrived as a new member. We need to stick to the issues. We are a democracy and we can debate issues intelligently. On this basis, I welcome this inquiry.

The member for Barton today disgracefully referred to those advocating change as 'white men of a certain age.' What a disgusting lowering of this debate! If in this debate or any other I referred to the member for Barton as a middle-to-late-aged Aboriginal woman, there would be howls from the other side, but I will not do that, because the issue and the Australian people deserve that we debate the issues before us respectfully.