Senate debates

Wednesday, 8 April 2020


Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020, Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus (Measures No. 2) Bill 2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 5) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 6) 2019-2020; Second Reading

5:57 pm

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | Hansard source

As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I want to discuss our people's health and safety, the security of our national economy and our national economic recovery in the near future and the long term, because no-one is discussing the key issue, and One Nation has solutions. I remind people of government's three primary roles: to protect life, protect property and protect freedom. Importantly, in democracies, those governing do so only with the permission of the people governed, and those governing are responsible to the people. I will in this speech discuss a former prime minister who I had respected until I did my research.

I want to thank everyone who is caring for us and keeping us safe, including healthcare workers, police, defence, emergency workers and everyone serving others, including helping to supply and feed us, provide electricity generation, cleaners, garbage collection, water supply and many more. Many of us feel gutted that this year will be the first time Anzac Day public commemorations have been called off. This illustrates the seriousness of the threat we face.

Firstly, health and safety: this must be every government's primary focus. There is no manual on dealing with COVID-19, so while I empathise with government's challenge, people want answers. People are feeling confused, afraid and concerned. Some feel lost, grieving for those dying and there is grief for our country. Some people are angry. Many are still living in disbelief. Why? It is because people want to know what has to be done, why it has to be done, how long before it's over and what it will cost—financial, social, personal, mental and emotional. Remember, we have to pay these bills. People have a right to know the fair dinkum facts, and right now many people are, like me, in the dark or plagued with uncertainty.

Two and a half weeks ago in this place I praised the success of East Asian nations in combatting COVID-19, particularly Taiwan and South Korea. Their focus is on people's health and safety. Both are democracies, and their governments provide strong, clear leadership. The people trust those governments because they used facts; instituted rigorous widespread testing of body temperature and virus infection; relied on data; and had solid processes and systems with medical supplies and facilities. Both those nations quickly arrested the virus and, instead of isolating everyone, they quickly and rigorously isolated the infected and vulnerable, allowing the majority of healthy people to continue working. This is their lesson to us; they acted decisively to make health their first priority, minimising disturbance to their economies.

Western nations, though, have tried to balance health and the economy, and as a result both have been compromised. Australians are asking serious questions: Why did it take so long for the government to publicly discuss modelling, as it pretended to do yesterday, yet not release the modelling? Why did the modellers release the draft version separately yet not release the model? Why did the government not discuss the underlying assumptions, including infection, transmission and mortality rates? Why did the government not discuss the variables modelled? Without knowing that, we can make no conclusions. Why did the government not disclose the modellers' results? Did the government gather data and facts from successful nations like Taiwan and South Korea? If so, what did it learn? Modelling is often flawed, yet, in this case, doesn't failure to get the data or failure to model mean acceptance of needless deaths? When did state and federal health ministers last get together to scenario-plan the effects and management of a virus pandemic? Have they ever? Have they considered their interaction with border security and who to allow into our country from planes and ships? Did they involve the hospitals and medical colleges?

Data suggests Australia's testing for the virus is narrow and well below the world's best per capita. Why is the government's data on the number of cases continually revised, with dramatic changes to its graph? Are casualties and deaths from flu and pneumonia, here and overseas, being reported as being from COVID-19? How many people will die with the virus compared with how many people will die from the virus? In some nations, are deaths inflated? What is the government's plan for treatment using hydroxychloroquine, which is showing amazing results in New York and elsewhere, or ivermectin, which has been 100 per cent effective in Monash University's in vitro test? What is the plan for mental health issues? Everyday Australians want to know: How long will I be working from home? When can we get back to work and school? When will we be safe from this virus?

I now turn to the Chinese communist government, which harmed the Chinese people and people worldwide. It hid the outbreak, suppressed the news of the virus, and punished the doctors who wanted to inform and prepare the world. That meant the virus spread rapidly around the world. What will it do now to people in poorer countries—Africa, India? Instead of protecting its people, the Chinese communist government neglected, controlled and punished them. Worse, in January the United Nations World Health Organization spread the communist government's lies that there is no human-to-human transmission of the virus. Then, in March, the UN World Health Organization said the time to act had been two months earlier, in January. The World Health Organization: gutless, bumbling, incompetent, hopeless, dishonest and inherently corrupt, just like the whole UN. This virus needs to be renamed 'the Chinese Communist Party-UN virus'. The Chinese Communist Party and the UN need to be held accountable. Compare the Chinese communist government with Taiwan's democratic government. Taiwan's 24 million people responded freely, and, as of today, Taiwan has had just five deaths. Freedom works, providing the government serves the people. With freedom come responsibility and self-control—always far superior to imposed control. The communists gave us the virus; democratic Taiwan gave us medical equipment.

Now let's turn to our fragile economy. People expect governments to lead and they expect leaders to have a plan based on solid data and facts. Economies are living organisms comprised of families. Economies depend on human interaction. Isolate people, and economies wither. So what is the plan for bringing back our economy? What are the government's trigger points for changing the strategy from isolating everyone to wider testing and then isolating only the sick and vulnerable so the healthy majority can return to interacting, producing, exchanging and getting back to work, like they have done in Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore? The government's shutdown is a ticking time bomb. It is necessary but it is a ticking time bomb. Humanity needs security, connection, family and friends. The worst thing we can do to a person, after all, is to take their job from them. I note for now that this bill needs to be structured as an open cheque to the government to ensure the flexibility to support people.

This crisis has highlighted a huge gap in our country's security: shortages of critical equipment, like basic medical supplies, and, worse, an inability to manufacture medical equipment. Cars and many other goods that we once made ourselves are now imported. Why? Because the Whitlam Labor government signed the UN's Lima declaration in 1975, and the Fraser Liberal-National government ratified it the very next year to transfer manufacturing to Third World countries. Worse still, we have an inability in Australia to grow our own food. We were exporters of basic food commodities, like rice and wheat; now we cannot get enough rice, and, due to the virus, Vietnam has blocked exports to us to ensure supplies for its own people. There is a shortage of durum wheat for pasta. Why? Because the Howard government, under the guidance of Liberal senator Robert Hill, Nationals Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, in 1996 stole farmers' inalienable right to use the land they bought. And to avoid paying compensation they colluded with Queensland Nationals Premier Rob Borbidge and, later, Labor Premier Peter Beattie and New South Wales Labor state minister Bob Carr. Why? For the Howard government to comply with the UN's Kyoto protocol. The UN: let's get out!

Who buys our farms? The Chinese communist government does, despite banning Australians from buying Chinese properties. What about water? Farmers lost their water as a result of the Turnbull-Howard Water Act 2007, which, according to world-renowned John Briscoe, took the world's best national water policy, under the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, and made it the worst, under the Turnbull-Howard Murray-Darling Basin Authority. How? By infecting it with politics, UN rules and regulations. The UN? Exit!

This week yet another farmer in New South Wales, Tanya Ginns, asked us to please help her against the government, the global corporates and the UN—our own farmers asking for help against the government!—so she and her family can produce food for our people.

Then there's energy. Never before have humans materially advanced so quickly as in the last 170 years, and it has been due to the ever-decreasing real price of energy—electricity, oil and gas. It's the miracle that raised living standards, gave us independence from weather and eliminated famine. It gave us longer, healthier, safer, easier, more productive, more comfortable and more secure lifestyles. We are the world's second-largest exporter of coal and the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Yet we now have high domestic energy costs. In just a few decades we went from the world's cheapest electricity, thanks to our clean, high-energy coal, to the world's most expensive electricity, thanks to the Howard government's policies based on the UN lies and fraud. Eight years after John Howard was booted from office he admitted in Britain that on climate science he was agnostic. He had no science, yet he destroyed all these industries. We now export our coal to China so it can produce cheap electricity, because China, sensibly, uses hydro, coal and nuclear, the cheapest forms of electricity generation. The Chinese already produce about eight times more coal than Australia, and they're rapidly increasing their production. India is furiously increasing its production. Why? Because they know that cheap energy is the key to productivity, productivity is the key to wealth generation and wealth generation is the key to raising everyone's living standards.

At the same time, China exports wind turbines and solar panels to us, which wreck our environment and steal our precious farmland. We subsidise Chinese companies to install these inefficient monstrosities which raise our electricity costs, destroy reliability of supply and drive our manufacturers and jobs overseas. Why? In our renewal plans this must be reviewed and dumped. Mind you, it provides entertainment, with Barnaby Joyce and Senator Canavan first speaking clearly as climate sceptics, then contorting and converting to speaking for the UN's climate rort, and now backflipping to copy One Nation's stance. Although they now speak like us, they still vote like Trent Zimmerman, Zali Steggall and the Greens.


No comments