Monday, 24 November 2014
Palmer United Party
by leave—I rise to inform the Senate of my immediate resignation from the Palmer United Party. I will remain in this place as an independent senator representing my beautiful state of Tasmania to the best of my ability. My decision to serve as an independent senator comes after much thought and after I consulted extensively with my community and family in Tasmania. The message Tasmanians and my family have given me is loud and clear. Indeed, it is almost unanimous. Every Tasmanian I have met has urged me to put the best interests of Tasmania first.
I am now free to negotiate with the government and other members of this parliament in good faith and for the best interests of my Tasmania for reform of the following matters: the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the renewable energy target, and the unfair cost of transporting passengers, freight and goods across Bass Strait. As an independent senator I can give a 100 per cent guarantee to all Australians that I will never vote for the government's proposed changes to higher education and Medicare co-payments.
I also take this opportunity to plead with the Prime Minister to reconsider his unfair pay offer to the men and women of Australia's Defence Force. He has made a terrible mistake which fundamentally undermines Australia's national security. However, if Mr Abbott admits his mistake, apologises and allocates an extra $121 million to raise the ADF pay offer to 1.5 per cent, as well as returning Christmas leave and travel entitlements, then I feel sure that the Australian people will forgive him and he will be viewed as a better leader.
I acknowledge that speculation about my membership of the Palmer United political party has caused uncertainty for the Tasmanian and Australian people and I apologise for that uncertainty. My resignation today will end that damaging speculation and uncertainty.
Tasmania can once again be a place of great industry, enterprise and prosperity. However, of all the Australian states, we now face the most difficult of social and economic challenges. These challenges and crises in unemployment, especially youth unemployment, education, health and manufacturing can all be solved and overcome. But, in order to do that, I must be free to vote in this Senate in the best interests of Tasmanians. Tasmanians do not want to handout; they just want a fair go and a hand up. Being a member of Palmer United has prevented me from voting in this chamber in a manner that gives my Tasmania the best chance of recovering and, once again, becoming prosperous.
In closing, I would like to address some of the matters raised by Mr Palmer. I do not have the time or the energy to be drawn into a political mud-slinging contest. I will not be drawn into the game of responding to hurtful and false personal attacks. Mr Palmer has been blessed and graced with great wealth and power by God. He has a wonderful opportunity to use that great wealth and power to do a lot of good for many Australians.
After these political matters settle, there will be many opportunities for us to work together in the national interest. I wish Clive and his beautiful family, staff and friends all the very best. I also wish to thank my staff, friends and my beautiful family for their love and unconditional support during this stressful and difficult time.
Before I close, I want to thank from the bottom of my heart the thousands of ordinary Tasmanians who have taken the time to contact me, share their thoughts and express their support for my actions today.
God bless Australia, God bless my Tasmania and our beautiful Southern Cross.