Senate debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022


Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Self-Employment Programs and Other Measures) Bill 2022

6:03 pm

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

As servants to the people of Queensland and Australia, One Nation stands for veterans and small business. But I want to address the root cause. This is a bandaid; it's very necessary but it's not addressing the root cause.

Senator Gallagher has stated that self-employment is 'an excellent alternative to traditional employment for Australians who want to use their existing skills and experience in a work environment of their choice'. We agree. Yet Labor is really anti-self-employment and soon intends to stifle small business and self-employed Australians under gig laws that could strangle the sector. They devastated California, for example, and sent people interstate. There's nowhere to go beyond the shores of this country if Labor gets its way.

I remember what Labor, the union bosses and some dishonest, disrespectful, antihuman multinational corporations did in the Hunter Valley. Labor joined them in enabling the exploitation and abuse of casual coalminers in the Hunter, and when I tried to stand up for them the Labor member of parliament for the Hunter at the time, Mr Joel Fitzgibbon, misrepresented me and the problems, apparently to hide the problems. That perpetuated the abuse of workers and the hurting of workers. Labor does not care about workers. Modern Labor cares about getting Green votes in the inner cities.

Everyday Australians are now suffering from 2½ years of COVID mismanagement, and it is ongoing. Labor wasn't the federal government during that time, but Labor was in power in the states, and the states and the federal government worked together, hand in hand, to destroy the productive capacity of this country, not only over the last 2½ years but over the last 78 years, since 1944. Labor wants to phase out the coal industry and jobs in the coal sector and related sectors. The Labor-Greens coalition in the Senate is hell-bent on doing that. Labor is in favour of eroding our rights and freedoms and increasing rents, house prices, energy prices and debt. There is a lack of much-needed tax reform and economic reform. That needs to be comprehensive reform. As I said a minute ago, Australia's productive capacity is being destroyed and has been in the process of being destroyed for 78 years.

In uncertain times, such as I've just described, much, much more needs to be done to support small business and the self-employed. Yes, we agree that starting a new enterprise or a self-employment assistance program is a help to some people, particularly hardworking vets who have earned the support, but they're up against it in the form of the taxation system, energy prices, lack of infrastructure and capricious overregulation. All workers—not just vets—are suffering because the productive capacity of our beautiful country has been destroyed.

The economic environment has been destroyed. The government's job is not to employ people. The government's job is to create an environment that favours employment through people taking risks with investment and hiring workers. That's where real jobs—sustainable jobs—come from. That's known throughout civilisation. We must give Australians the opportunity to be free, to be their own boss and to own a business that offers them secure work and financial independence. They should be free to create, initiate and innovate, and that requires cheap energy. Labor, with its mates in the Labor-Greens coalition, are raising energy prices. We went from having the cheapest electricity sources in the world to having amongst the highest electricity prices in the world. It's not due to resources and it's not due to Mother Nature; it's due entirely to mismanagement under the Liberal-Labor-Nats-Greens circus.

Not only do we need affordable, reliable and secure energy but also we need fair reward. That means we need a comprehensive reform of the tax system. Why are we letting multinational corporations off the hook, as we did with Robert Menzies's bill in 1953 and Prime Minister Hawke's legislation on the petroleum rent resource tax in the 1980s? Both sides have done it. Jim Killaly, the former deputy assistant commissioner of taxation in this country, who was responsible for large companies and international matters, said—and he said it in 1996 and in 2010—that 90 per cent of Australia's large companies are foreign owned and, since 1953, have paid little or no company tax.

Meanwhile individuals in this country are paying exorbitant tax rates. The median income in this country now is $51,000. After tax, that's around $45,000 or $46,000. The additional cost of Labor, Greens, Nationals and Liberals policy on energy—the additional cost of solar and wind subsidies and climate subsidies—is a staggering $1,300 per year. How the hell can someone earning $45,000 or $46,000 a year afford that additional cost? That's not the cost of electricity; that's an additional cost for solar and wind subsidies. We're sending the country broke because of the people in this building lacking the courage to do what is right and tell the truth. Veterans need more support, and this bill is just not enough. When will Labor and the Greens do something about housing, rent, veteran suicide, agriculture, energy and inflation? Who will protect the economy and jobs? Who will create the economic environment that will enable people to invest, innovate, create and to be entrepreneurs? Who will do that? When will Labor and the Greens do something about this very issue? Who will restore the productive capacity of our country, the economic environment of our country? Labor and the Greens don't understand.

In fact, while I enjoyed listening to Senator Allman-Payne yesterday, sharing her emotions freely, she was crying at the plight of the poor and then congratulating Senator Larissa Waters for her 12 years in the Senate when Senator Waters is directly responsible for raising the cost of electricity which is destroying the poor and raising prices through the roof in terms of inflation. That's what's going on: it's complete ignorance. Contrary to that, we understand. One Nation understand the root causes and the solutions to the root causes of these problems. We are one people, we are one community and we are one magnificent country with enormous potential. We just need to become, again, one nation.


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