Thursday, 29 November 2018
Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Promoting Sustainable Welfare) Bill 2018; Second Reading
It's very interesting to listen to some of the comments made today in regard to the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Promoting Sustainable Welfare) Bill 201. What this bill is about is extending the welfare waiting period for newly arrived residents from two years to three years. These are nearly arrived residents to Australia—migrants—who have chosen to leave their country to come here to our country. Do Australians want migrants coming here to end up on our welfare system and get handouts? No, they don't. On a nearly daily basis, as I travel through rural and regional towns, I see people struggling to pay their electricity bills and get housing. In Canberra, when I drive back to my apartment after leaving this place, I see many homeless on our streets, with all their goods and blankets, trying to keep warm on cold Canberra nights. I speak with Defence personnel who have fought for our country and sacrificed their lives. They have PTSD and other issues and problems. It's estimated that about 4,000 are homeless and have drug or alcohol problems. But that's not addressed. We have families living in cars. We have Aboriginal communities that need help and assistance. But I hear from people in this parliament worrying about those who have chosen to come to our country that we should be looking after the vulnerable. Well, 'the vulnerable' starts here in our own country first and foremost.
Should we give migrants carers allowance, bereavement allowance, widows allowance and parenting payments in such a short time—after being here for two years—which they get at the moment? Or is it fair to say, 'Prove your worth to this country and make sure you haven't come here just for the welfare handouts'? I don't think it is unreasonable to ask these people to wait an extra year. The Australian people are paying taxes in this country for migrants who come here of their own choice. I don't think it's unreasonable to say to the migrants: 'Make sure you can provide for yourself. You've really given nothing to this country, so don't expect to come here and have all the handouts.' We are the fools of the world: 'Come on down to Treasure Island!'—that's what Australia's all about. I hear my crossbench colleagues in this place saying that we're a very well-to-do country. With a nearly $600 billion debt, on which we pay approximately $15 billion to $18 billion a year in interest, we're 'well to do'? What are we handing down to our future generations? Let's look at our welfare bill. Around $185 billion a year is spent on welfare in this country. Who's going to pay for this? Are you going to say to the people out there, 'Sorry, you're going to have to pay more taxes'? It doesn't cut the mustard with the Australian people.
I am so proud of the Labor Party that you're now going to support this because you can see some common sense. Don't take any notice of the Greens or anyone else in this place calling you racist because these are migrants coming from another country. It has nothing to do with racism. This is about common sense and worrying about the Australian taxpayer out there, who's had a gutful of paying their taxes constantly, all the time, and seeing them go to places where they shouldn't. We hear the Greens in this place stand up constantly, all the time, talking about how they want more money towards health, more money towards education and more money given out left, right and centre, but they never come up with the policies of how you are going to do it. They can have all of these handout policies. I don't hear any policy of where they are going to get the money from. It is an absolute disgrace. I see them as nothing but a socialist communist party that wants to shut down businesses, farming and everything in this country—these industries that provide us with the income with which we can actually pay for those services in Australia.
What we need on the floor of parliament is some common sense and to start respecting Australians out there, their taxes and where that money goes. We spend about $15 billion a year in welfare for permanent residents in Australia—not those people who have taken out Australian citizenship, who are proud to be Australians. We pay permanent residents approximately $15 billion a year out of the $185 billion that we pay out in social service and welfare bills in this country. No wonder we are going further and further into debt. I will give credit where credit's due, because the Liberal Party have pulled back a lot. They are bringing the budget back into surplus, but a lot of people forget about this. They don't want to talk about this. Heaven help us if the Labor Party get the reins of this government, because they're not economic managers of this country, and they took the debt from $56 billion up to over $270 billion or $280 billion when they were in government last time. It's going to be a spending spree, and they're going to destroy the housing market with their changes to negative gearing and also the capital gains tax. Then, on top of that, they're going to bring in death duties, plus the carbon tax on cars, which is the problem happening over in France. So we're in for a bloody rocky road if the Labor Party get hold of the government. What's going to happen in Australia is going to be an absolute crying shame. I wish they'd come forward with their policies on immigration. The numbers are going to expand in that as well, with more refugees. The floodgates are going to open with the 14,000 waiting up in Indonesia to flood here into Australia. So where is the money going to come from for all that? How are you going to pay for all that?
So I am pleased that the Labor Party can see the writing on the wall with their policies, because then they are going to explain that to the people, but they're going to pull it back. So I am pleased to see that, in Labor, common sense prevailed and that Labor will support the government on this bill, which is common sense. But the Greens and the Centre Alliance believe that these people have a right to be looked after. No, make the decision before you come to this country, and don't expect the Australian people to be supporting you when we can't look after our own—when we can't provide the services that we need for our own Australian people here. I will not stand in this place and represent and look after those that come here. My duty is to the Australian people first and foremost, to make sure they're looked after. Clean up our own backyard first, make sure they're provided for, and then you can look after other people. But it's their choice to come here to Australia.
So I do support the government on this bill, and I will just make it quite clear that there weren't deals done, as the Labor Party will say. There were no deals whatsoever. My voting record shows that I support legislation that is right for this country and for the Australian people. That's what I do. If Labor end up in government, my decision on any legislation they put up would be based on its merit and whether it is right for this country, not on whether they're going to buy my vote or try to convince me to provide my vote. That does not cut with me.
So One Nation will be supporting this bill, and I'm pleased to see it introduced on the floor of parliament. Shame on the other political parties who are not here to back the Australian people first and foremost.