Senate debates

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Matters of Public Importance

JobKeeper Payment

6:05 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 ask an associated question—a connected question, yet a far bigger question. My question is: even if the loan scheme is adequate, what about the big picture—that is, restoring our productive capacity in this country? Look at our electricity prices—fundamental for manufacturing, fundamental for agriculture and many other areas. Energy is the key; it's the primary driver of productive capacity. We've gone from the lowest-cost electricity in the world to the highest-cost electricity. It makes us uncompetitive. Liberal, Labor and the Nationals did that together: the Renewable Energy Target; state and federal retail schemes; the gold-plated networks; the National Electricity Market, which is really a national electricity racket; privatisation; anti-coal policies from Liberal, Labor and the Nationals; taxation.

Joe Hockey said not so long ago, 'People work from January to June to pay the tax man, and the rest they keep for the rest of the year.' It's actually worse than that. It's about 68 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics back in the late nineties and early 2000s. A person on an average income in Australia works from Monday to smoko on Thursday morning just to pay for rates, fees, levies, taxes, super charges and all the rest of it. We need to do something about that, especially when 90 per cent of our large companies are foreign owned and have paid little or no tax since 1953.

There is overregulation and the control of so many of our assets, private assets, in the hands of government. There is the Fair Work Act, for example, which I'll talk about later. The lack of water infrastructure. The governance of this country. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority destroying the Murray-Darling Basin. The loss of property rights under Labor, Liberal and Nationals regimes. These, and so many other things, are destroying the governance of our country and our productive capacity. Governance in this country is now based upon satisfying vested interests, unfounded opinions, emotions, fears, ideology. It's not based on data. It's quite often contrary to the data.

The loan scheme may or may not be inadequate for Australian businesses and workers, but the mountain we all have to climb here is stupid, reckless, counterproductive government. We need to restore our country's productive capacity.


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