Tuesday, 14 August 2018
Thank you, Mr President. I am pleased to advise that this is finally my first speech.
On 6 February 1890, Sir Henry Parkes, the man who was to become the 'Father of our Federation', spoke to assembled delegates at the Federation Conference in Melbourne. He said:
And, in this country of Australia with such ample space, with such inviting varieties of soil and climate … and with a people occupying that soil unequalled in … nation-creating properties, what is there that should be impossible?
… … …
… we know the value of their British origin. We know that we represent a race … for the purposes of settling new colonies, which never had its equal on the face of the earth.
… … …
The crimson thread of kinship runs through us all.
The founding father of our Federation knew that it was not simply a bounteous land that makes a nation, but the common threads of inherited identity that unite its people. And what he was telling delegates and, through them, us today was that a great nation can only be the consequence of the people it comprises.
I come from the bush, born to a cattle-grazing family in far north-west Queensland. I went to school in Brisbane and then returned to the bush where I met and married the love of my life, Fiona, the girl next door—200 kilometres away! We subsequently had two beautiful daughters who, with their husbands and now our two grandchildren, live in the United States, and we miss them. Although my family had been graziers for over a 100 years, having settled in the Charters Towers area in the 1860s before there was a Charters Towers, in my early 20s, drought and predatory banks drove my wife and I off the land. Thereafter, Fiona and I spent our working lives as our children were growing up in and around regional towns over the years covering the length and breadth of the state. I've been a grazier, a builder's labourer, a pilot, a light aircraft manufacturer, a gas industry worker and a hotelier. Most recently, before entering the Senate late last year, my family and I ran a hotel in Gladstone.
Like most blokes from the bush 40 years ago, I was a committed National Party supporter. I was always a Joh man and, to this day, I regard the Joh era as Queensland's golden age. It was only the fact that the National Party abandoned Joh's legacy and moved to the left 25 years ago that led me to switch to One Nation. But that didn't work out so well. I am consequently very happy to have joined Katter's Australian Party, a genuinely democratic party in which senators and members get to vote first and foremost in accordance with their conscience and their constituents' wishes.
KAP to me represents a continuation of the conservative values, commitment to rural and regional development, opposition to migration without assimilation and a focus on economic nationalism of the Joh era Nationals, which strongly reflects my own beliefs. It is a party in which loyalty isn't a one-way street and where leadership is more than a cardboard cut-out.
As a conservative Christian, I strongly support traditional social values, but, as an Australian nationalist, I also believe in Australia and Australians first. I believe in low taxes and personal responsibility and in the virtues of hard work and thrift, reward for effort and the freedom to do and say what you think. I also believe in the right of people to raise their kids in accordance with their own values, without a bunch of nanny state meddlers and cultural Marxists trying to re-engineer them.
I believe that the key role of government is to provide laws for the enforcement of contracts, to provide physical security for businesses and individuals and to build infrastructure. I believe that the priority for government expenditure is not obligation-free handouts but nation building: providing the facilities and infrastructure which businesses and farmers need to develop and grow, which then provides for secure, well-paid jobs. I believe that ordinary working people have the right to expect a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, to keep what they have worked for, to get ahead and have a decent life, to be able to provide for themselves in old age, and to have enough to help their kids have an even better life than themselves. I believe that the unfettered ownership of private property and the right to own and use firearms, including for self-defence, are the God-given rights of free people everywhere. And I believe, as the American revolutionaries did, that government is usually the problem not the solution and that, in order for people to be free, the power of government needs to be constrained.
I remember Queensland as it was in the sixties, seventies and early eighties, when working blokes could get good, well-paying jobs actually making products for us to buy; when people could start small businesses and not be strangled by red tape; when car rego, stamp duty and rates were affordable; when electricity was the cheapest in the world; when, through statutory and orderly marketing, farmers were not bled white by rapacious corporations or forced to sell to Chinese carpetbaggers; when you could say what you thought without being charged with a crime; and when we could all enjoy our leisure time without all the nanny state restrictions and prohibitions.
Fifty years ago Australia was a cohesive, predominantly Anglo-Celtic nation. Most people thought of themselves as Christian of some sort, although most of us didn't go to church all that often. Everyone, from the cleaners to the captains of industry, had a shared vision of who we were as a people and our place in the world. Until the late 1960s, prior to the rise of Whitlam in the Labor Party, there was a broad consensus between the Liberal and Labor parties on the kind of society we were and what we should be in the future.
In the 1960s, both Liberal and Labor parties reflected a common framework of Judeo-Christian values, supporting the family as the basic unit of society. They both supported the principle that marriage was a union between a man and woman, and both parties recognised the sanctity of the lives of the unborn. Both major parties agreed that people should be free to live their own lives and say what they thought without fear of state sanction. Both sides of politics recognised the importance of our manufacturing industries as well as our farming and mining. Both parties recognised the importance of our predominantly European identity.
A key part of this great pre-Whitlam consensus was bipartisan support from both Liberal and Labor for a European based immigration program. The great Labor statesmen Ben Chifley, John Curtin and Arthur Calwell all strongly supported an immigration program that actively discriminated in favour of Europeans. Australia's greatest conservative, Sir Robert Menzies himself, said:
a European based immigration program has—
… been a very good policy and it's been of great value to us …
This continued until 1973 when Whitlam and his hard Left cronies adopted Soviet inspired UN treaties on discrimination and banned preferential selection of migrants based on their ethnicity.
Yet the end of the pre-Whitlam consensus between the Labor and Liberal Parties has been much more than a political sea change. It has allowed the cultural conquest of our nation. A tectonic shift has occurred in which the previously agreed social and political order has been overthrown in an insidious silent revolution.
To understand fully what has happened to our country, I believe that we must look to the work of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci's insight was to see revolution in cultural rather than economic terms, with 'cultural hegemony' as the key to supposed class dominance. The Marxist state, Gramsci argued, could be achieved by gradual cultural revolution—subverting society via a long march through the institutions. The tactics of latter-day Gramsci-inspired radicals were to disguise degeneracy as liberation and tyranny as compassion. Free speech could be eliminated by appeal to not 'offending' or 'saying things that were hurtful'. This, of course, subtly creates a subjective test by which all criticism of the cultural Marxist agenda can be silenced.
It is my understanding that Gramsci himself coined the term 'political correctness' to describe obedience to the will of the Communist Party. However he made clear that its final purpose was to force concurrence with those things which individuals knew to be false. If an individual could be induced to agree and state to others something they knew to be utterly false such as black being white, then the party had achieved total moral and ethical surrender in the subject. Thus, to describe the so-called 'safe schools' and 'gender fluidity' garbage being peddled in schools as 'cultural Marxism' is not a throwaway line but a literal truth.
Given that everyone knows there are only two genders, if you can be persuaded to agree to and advocate in support of the false claim that there are 'an infinite number of genders', then, without realizing it, you have surrendered your political soul. Today, with so many unwittingly in lock-step, marching to the cultural revolutionaries' tune, options to oppose them politically are increasingly limited. So that's why I joined Katter's Australian Party, the only political force that seeks a return to the pre-Whitlam consensus. I want to see the defeat of the cultural Marxists and their ilk and a rolling back of the subversion of Australian culture and values that they have wrought.
In terms of specifics, my political goals are:
My most immediate concern is saving agriculture in this country. Only this morning, we heard the appalling personal stories of 40 farmers and others whose family businesses were stolen and who were ruined by the criminal behavior of the major banks. This is the reason that I fought, along with my colleague Barry O'Sullivan, for a royal commission into banking. However, it has quickly become clear that the terms of reference are far too narrow and the ability of the commission to hear evidence far too limited. That is the reason that I moved earlier today to increase the time and resources of the royal commission, extend the terms of reference and consider dispute resolution processes. Those lenders and particular liquidators, receivers and administrators who have behaved contrary to any acceptable moral standard must be exposed and made to pay for their crimes. I'm happy to report that that motion got up.
An incident having occurred in the gallery—
However, this is only the first step. I also want to see a permanent end to the scourge of usury in rural lending. The banks' criminal treatment of so many farmers, which has led to the loss of family farms—owned for generations—and waves of rural suicides, must be ended once and for all.
I believe that the solution is the re-establishment of rural redevelopment state banks, along the lines of the former Queensland Industry Development Corporation established by Sir Leo Hielscher, the internationally respected former Queensland Treasury undersecretary and the architect of Queensland's Joh-era prosperity. Like the QIDC, a rural development and reconstruction state bank would not be subject to APRA lending guidelines and would be able to make lending judgments based on long-term rural property viability and not just short-term variations of commodity prices or rainfall, just like old country bank managers used to do. The RDRSB would also be empowered to buy up existing so-called 'distressed' loans from banks, saving tens of thousands of farmers from hardship and ruin. In this way, the scourge of usury in rural lending can be ended for all time.
In terms of rebuilding rural incomes, the abolition of statutory marketing boards 20 years ago has generally not seen any meaningful reduction in prices for consumers, just a net wealth transfer from farmers to middlemen and giant supermarket chains. This has driven many farmers to ruin and even suicide. I would like to see the re-establishment of orderly marketing of agricultural products via grower co-ops to allow collective bargaining by farmers for the sale of their produce. This would return to the farmers greater control of their own industries and a greater share of the retail value of their products. Collectively, these measures would go a long way to rebuild our crucial rural industries.
My next biggest concern is rural infrastructure development. First and foremost, my priority is water. Thanks to grossly inadequate water capture and storage, less than one per cent of the rainwater that falls on this continent is captured and used. Nowhere is this infrastructure failure more acute than in the bush. I want to remedy this. My first solution is to build the Bradfield scheme. In 1938, JJC Bradfield, the same civil engineer who designed both the Sydney Harbour and Story bridges, proposed a massive irrigation plan to turn the far northern rivers inland to irrigate vast areas west of the dividing range. The scheme involved diverting water from the upper reaches of the Johnson, Tully, Herbert and Burdekin rivers, which, fed by the annual monsoon, currently flow out into the ocean. Envisaged was the construction of a series of massive dams in north and western Queensland. It would also include raising the wall of the existing Burdekin Falls Dam by 14.6 metres, as intended in the original Joh-era plan, which would increase its capacity by nearly five times and droughtproof Townsville for the next century. Water accumulating was then proposed to be diverted through a tunnel under the Great Dividing Range.
When completed, the Bradfield scheme would be the greatest nation-building project this country has ever seen, totally dwarfing the Snowy scheme, and would, at a stroke, ensure the prosperity of Australia for many generations to come. This would provide employment for many tens of thousands of people and would not only ensure our own food requirements are met but also provide food for many hundreds of thousands in other countries as well. To imagine the benefits of the Bradfield proposal, we only need to see what has been achieved in places like Israel and California, both places in which virtual deserts have been transformed into enormous food bowls which help drive their respective economies.
My second infrastructure priority is ports. A key issue in determining the profitability of exports of mining and primary products is the distance they have to be carried to reach a port. In the UK, there is a port every 65 kilometres. In the most productive parts of India, its 57 kilometres. But in Queensland, it's 1,000 kilometres. Rather than taking the product to the port, the solution is to take the port to the product. Microports constructed along the Queensland coast every 60 to 80 kilometres would greatly increase the viability of exports.
And it goes without saying that I'm an enthusiastic supporter of mining, including coalmine development in the Galilee Basin. I strongly support government building the required railway to allow mining in this area to proceed. It would be the salvation of Townsville. Of course, to more effectively manage our resources with regard to proposals like the Bradfield Scheme, multiple microport construction, Galilee Basin coalmines et cetera, we have to have the political will to remove the obstacles put in the way of progress by extreme left-wing Luddites. Only by following the example of true nation-building leaders like Ben Chifley, Bob Menzies, John Curtin and Joh can we hope to provide for the security and prosperity of generations to come.
The next critical problem that we need to address is immigration. Australia currently has the highest per capita immigration rate in the world. Last Tuesday, Australia's population hit 25 million—22 years ahead of previous government predictions. That means that since 1971 the population of Australia has doubled, with immigrants now around one-third of our population. The huge numbers of people allowed to flood into Australia in recent years are unsustainable, with immigration quotas apparently set by successive governments on a whim and without any regard for the necessary infrastructure that these people would require or the ability of those that came here to assimilate.
Ethnocultural diversity, which is known to undermine social cohesion, has been allowed to rise to dangerous levels in many suburbs. In direct response, self-segregation, including white flight from poorer inner-urban areas, has become the norm. I believe that immigration to our country should be a privilege, not an obligation-free right provided to anyone from the Third World who demands it.
First, 457 visas, which simply steal jobs from Australians, should be abolished unless expressly approved by the immigration minister. This will create more jobs for Australians and end the massive rorting of these for backdoor permanent immigration. Second, 'family reunion' must be restricted to the husband or wife and/or dependent children within a family. Third, student visas should be drastically reduced in number. This will create more university places for Australians, whose parents have actually paid for the universities with their taxes in the first place. Those studying here who decide to apply to immigrate should be required to return to their country of origin after their qualification and to apply as part of the general migration program. Fourth, net immigration must be reduced to a level which can be supported and, therefore, must be set following detailed modelling and planning for the associated necessary accommodation, facilities and infrastructure. Fifth, but most important of all, diversity should be managed to remain compatible with social cohesion and national identity. We as a nation are entitled to insist that those who are allowed to come here predominantly reflect the historic European Christian composition of Australian society and embrace our language, culture and values as a people.
In order for us to remain the nation that we are now, those who come here need to assimilate and integrate. Those who are most similar to the mainstream majority in terms of ethnicity, culture, language and values most readily do so. Historically, however, the one immigrant group here and in other Western nations that has consistently shown itself to be the least able to assimilate and integrate is Muslims. The first terrorist act on Australian soil was in 1915, when two Muslim immigrants opened fire on a picnic train of innocent women and children in Broken Hill—and Muslim immigrants have been a problem ever since. To paraphrase the words of Sir Winston Churchill:
The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power …
… … …
The influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those that follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.
I believe that the reasons for ending all further Muslim immigration are both compelling and self-evident. The record of Muslims who have already come to this country in rates of crime, welfare dependency and terrorism is the worst of any migrants and vastly exceeds any other immigrant groups. A majority of Muslims in Australia of working age do not work and live on welfare. Muslims in New South Wales and Victoria are three times more likely than other groups to be convicted of crimes. We have black African Muslim gangs terrorising Melbourne. We have ISIS-sympathising Muslims trying to go overseas to fight for ISIS and, while all Muslims are not terrorists, certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims. So why would anyone want to bring more of them here?
Finally, it should go without saying that, as a nation, we are entitled to require that those who come here not only have useful work skills and qualifications but also the commitment to work and pay taxes. In truth, it appears that many of those who claim to be asylum seekers are actually just welfare seekers who only come to Australia to live on welfare in public housing at the expense of working Australians. In the days of Menzies, immigrants arriving here were not allowed to apply for welfare and that attracted exactly the right sort of hard-working people this country needed. We should go back to that and ban all immigrants receiving welfare for the first five years after they arrive.
The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote. We don't need a plebiscite to cut immigration numbers; we just need a government that is willing to institute a sustainable population policy, end Australian-job-stealing 457 visas and make student visas conditional on foreign students returning to the country they came from. What we do need a plebiscite for is to decide who comes here. Whitlam didn't ask the Australian people whether they wanted wholesale non-European migration when he introduced it and neither has any subsequent government. Who we allow to come here will determine what sort of nation we will have in the future, so therefore this isn't the right of any one government to decide. It's too important for that. Instead, we need a plebiscite to allow the Australian people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the Third World and, in particular, whether they want any Muslims or whether they want to return to the predominantly European immigration policy of the pre-Whitlam consensus. I for one will be very happy to abide by their decision.
My next political objective is affordable home ownership. Home ownership is a vital social good. It not only steadily improves the net wealth of Australians but provides for a comfortable and secure retirement. It also provides an asset for us all to pass onto our children. However, thanks to foreign property speculators and spiraling demand from excessive immigration, housing prices have been absurdly inflated and, as a result, Australian home ownership levels are starting to fall. Today, first homebuyers see the dream of home ownership receding like a mirage. This disastrous state of affairs must be reversed. I would like to see a return to the policy of earlier decades in which those who were not permanent residents or Australian citizens were barred from buying residential property. In addition to a drastic immigration cut, I want to see a statutory cap on state government fees and charges, which currently make up 50 per cent of land cost, reducing them to no more than 25 per cent.
In industry, I would like to see the re-establishment of Australian manufacturing via a collaborative relationship between pro-business unions and business leaders, as occurred in Germany in the aftermath of World War II. Konrad Adenauer's postwar German economic miracle, which ultimately led to both high wages and high profits for companies, is a model for the re-industrialisation of Australia and a means to return to widespread employment in secondary industry. While Australian wages mean that we cannot compete on price with Third World slave labour manufacturers, we should not need to. First, products of high quality and value can already be produced and sold successfully despite paying reasonable wages. A classic example of this is RM Williams. Second, to help re-establish Australian manufacturing, import restrictions on certain classes of goods should also be considered, following the example of Taiwan, which successfully transitioned from a rural tea-growing province to a manufacturing dynamo with high wage levels. As Australian icon Dick Smith has asked: are Australians prepared to pay a bit more for manufactured goods if it means that their kids will have a job? I think so. That is what I'm asking the Australian people to do so that we can rebuild our manufacturing industries and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in manufacturing.
I also have fiscal objectives. I'd like to see a drastic cut in government spending and borrowing, but, with around 50 per cent of the budget now consumed by welfare, no spending reform is possible without welfare reform. The age pension should be quarantined from any cuts, however. Instead, reform needs to begin with working-class income replacement welfare. We constantly hear that Australia has less than six per cent unemployment when, in fact, this is simply false. If we count the legions of professional freeloaders who are of working age and have settled into a life without work, on pensions, we actually have around 20 per cent paid unemployment in this country. Welfare needs to be a safety net for those of us who are temporarily in need of income support. If people of working age receive a pension from the state, then they have opted out of the workforce permanently and expect everyone else to carry them for life. I believe this is unsustainable and totally un-Australian. Unless we are going to follow the path of Greece, we need to stop finding new ways to give handouts and start increasing workforce participation. The best form of welfare is a job, and massive investment in nation-building infrastructure is the first step to helping to create jobs.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, I want to see a cultural counter-revolution to restore a central role for traditional values, to redefine our national identity and to create a new social contract between the governing and the governed. So many of the anti-democratic controls on our liberty, on the restriction of free speech, on our ability to decide who comes to this country and on the outpouring of foreign aid have been driven by the gross abuse of the external affairs powers in section 51 of the Constitution. Since Whitlam—and clearly contrary to the intent of our founding fathers—the external affairs powers given to the Commonwealth to sign treaties with other nations has been abused to overrule other provisions of the Constitution and override other laws made by our own democratically elected representatives. I do not only want to withdraw from these UN treaties but want to counter the dictatorial intent of the successors of Whitlam with an amendment to section 51 of the Constitution. This needs to specifically prohibit the signing of any treaty contrary to any other provision of the Constitution or existing Australian laws.
More broadly, however, what we need is a cultural reconquest of our own country to take back Australia from Gramsci-inspired left-wing elites that have subverted the very basis of our society, for in the end what is Australia? What makes Australia a nation is not the happenstance of shared geography but what unites us: our common history, values, language and ethnicity, our common culture and our shared vision of our future as a people. Ethnicity is not just skin-deep. More than anything else, it is our ethnoreligious identity that defines us and shapes our national identity.
Few nations are fortunate enough to have so condensed their national character in so short a space of time that, 60 years after Federation, all who lived here, from children to old men, from paupers to Prime Ministers, could have a shared understanding of who we were that crossed the political divide. But today all that is rapidly unraveling, and we stand now at the turn of the tide. The great cohesive vision of our nation's founding fathers, all that those who came before us struggled to build, all that our fathers and grandfathers fought wars to defend, stands at hazard as the stranglehold of the Gramsci-ite elites on our institutions, political organisations and the media continues to tighten.
Now, on the brink of irreversible change, it is time for us to decide whether we as a people will rise up against this, hold fast to the crimson threads of kinship that define and unite us and strive once more for the light on the hill or concede the field to enemies of Western civilization and see all that we were and all that we might yet have become fall away to ruin.