Wednesday, 13 February 2019
Before my time in the Senate, I was in the House of Representatives, and I've got to say that I've had more pleasure being in this chamber than I had when I was in the House of Reps. Having colleagues and associates like Wacka Williams and David Leyonhjelm, who I've worked with for the past 2½ years, has made it more pleasant for me this time around. We may not be on the same page with politics—I think a lot of the time with Wacka Williams we were, but we didn't always agree with David Leyonhjelm's civil libertarian views on taxes—I've got to reiterate the words that were just said by Senator McKenzie: Wacka Williams is a man of the earth. He's the salt of the Australian earth, someone I see as the iconic Aussie bloke out there who loves the land, loves the people on the land and will fight for them. I don't see it in a lot of other people here because of the disconnect between the city and the land, and I think the chamber's going sadly miss having Wacka here to stand up for the farming families and the people of this nation. He's a man who's out there getting his hands dirty. He knows what it's like.
What Wacka has done has been absolutely wonderful. Like I said, I've only known and worked with him for the last 2½ years, but I've got to give him credit for what he's done with the banking inquiry. Wacka was the deputy chair of the Senate inquiry into rural lending to primary industries, which One Nation chaired. He was the backbone behind Malcolm Roberts in that inquiry. The information they gathered from it was very informative and has helped a lot of farming people. With Wacka you could have a joke, or he'd call across the chamber, and it wouldn't matter. It might have been a serious issue, but he could bring a smile to everyone's lips across the chamber with his sense of humour. That's going to be dearly missed. It's been an honour to work with Wacka.
With David Leyonhjelm, even today there was a motion that I put up and he said, 'Sorry, darling, I can't support you on this one.' Oh shock horror! The feminists out there are probably listening to this and saying, 'How dare you put up with that!' Forget it. Get over it. I'm not interested. I'm not offended; I take it as a compliment. That is David Leyonhjelm: still a gentleman, as Wacka is. People have become too precious in this world. You can't say or do anything without someone out there being offended by it.
David has been very, very helpful to me, because I've never been in the Senate before and it is different to the House of Reps. I've got to say that having him sitting next to me in the chamber over the period of the last 2½ years has been very helpful to me. He's sometimes guided me in how the chamber works and different things that happen here. I'm going to miss David. I think he's got a lot to offer. He's very passionate about his firearms, as I am, so on some of those issues, David, I think I might take up your cause. We'll have a talk before you finish and make sure that, if it's not settled, the challenge is taken up for the firearm owners in this country. I will carry on with that for you.
I do wish him all the best in the New South Wales state election, although I am standing with my candidates in New South Wales. He's taken that challenge on in his state, and, in all sincerity, I do wish him all the best. He does have a lot to offer. If anything, it's about honesty and integrity, and that's what we need on the floor of parliament. To David: all the best in the New South Wales election.
It's been a pleasure to have worked with both Wacka Williams and David Leyonhjelm. And I say these comments today also on behalf of my colleague Senator Georgiou.