Senate debates

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Answers to Questions

3:17 pm

Photo of Gerard RennickGerard Rennick (Queensland, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Well, it's close enough.

I do know. I used to go mountain-biking up at Ourimbah and Awaba. I know those areas like the back of my hand because I used to ride the tracks. I used to race up there. Let me tell you that the Labor Party has turned its back on the coal miners, the blue-collar workers in this country. I haven't. I'm an openly avowed protectionist. I'm here to protect this country. I'm here to protect the workers and our families. I can tell you, when mum and dad come home from work tonight, there is nothing in the jar for them—nothing.

And what about the cost of living? What about rent? What are we going to do? How on earth are you going to find housing for all these immigrants you've got coming in? If they're moving out to the regions, I can live with that. If they're building dams and adding more water, irrigation and food to the supply side of the economy, that's all good. But if they're just going to university, these universities are collecting lots of revenue, as per section 50-50 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, and they don't have to pay any tax on that. Why don't these universities have to pay taxes on foreign students? They add to the demand side of the economy. Why aren't we making the universities in the inner cities, these elite academics, pay tax on the increased demand? We have enormous demand for infrastructure. By all means, if you want to go to Central Queensland University—where I was a couple of weeks ago—to the School of Mining and the School of Manufacturing to do a TAFE degree—where you actually get some real-life skills—and not to one of the inner-city universities where you just get brainwashed with all these new crazy ideas, that's fine. But don't bring people here if all they're going to do is go to uni and then go and work for Uber and deliver ice cream to people who can't be bothered buying ice cream from supermarkets. That's not on. This budget isn't going to do anything for the working-class Australians.


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