Wednesday, 12 May 2021
Statements by Senators
As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I remind the Senate and all Australians that 24 years ago Pauline Hanson warned that Australia was heading to a place that we would not recognise as Australia. The media devoted much attention to the immigration aspects of her comments and completely missed the substance. Today, we have arrived at the place Pauline warned us about. Australians are living with restrictions on association, restrictions on speech, restrictions on movement and restrictions on protest. We even have mandatory face coverings. Our federation has broken apart. We have seen border checkpoints between states. The phrase 'papers, please' which has defined tyrants throughout history is now life for everyday Australians. Our police are arresting law-abiding citizens in their homes for the crime of organising a peaceful protest. Our police are forcefully arresting journalists for the crime of reporting that protest. Dictators have been overthrown for less.
In the famous words traced to French, English and American philosophers Montaigne, Bacon and Thoreau, our leaders today had nothing to fear but fear itself, and they chose fear. The premiers and the Prime Minister have surrendered power to unelected bureaucrats with medical degrees, who have shown themselves incapable of seeing the big picture, incapable of using the data. While social media are calling COVID restrictions on businesses a 'war on capitalism', it is much, much more sinister. Corporate Australia have record sales, record profits and have paid themselves higher dividends and bonuses. The Liberal-National government sent JobKeeper to the same companies that used the money to pay themselves yet more dividends and bonuses. Now with this budget, the company tax clawback has been extended to 2023-24. Companies making a loss in 2023-24 can claim that loss against tax paid in 2018-19, and the government will give a refund—the taxpayers will give a refund.
Let many explain the concept of taxation to the Treasurer. The government is not supposed to take the tax paid by corporate Australia and give it back to them. This money was supposed to pay for the things that define Australia as a caring society: Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, childhood education and social security. The Treasurer cannot give corporate tax back and then borrow the money to pay for recurring expenditure, yet that is exactly what this budget does—debt, debt and more debt to pay for profligate spending, seemingly with no thought to the next generation that will be left to pay for it.
This is a budget of which Labor would be proud. I talk often about the Liberal-Labor duopoly. Even their budgets are now looking the same. As a result of coronavirus measures, the world's 400 richest people have increased their wealth by over $1 trillion. We do not need to add our taxpayer funding to their wealth accumulation. Much of this wealth is money that was once spent in local communities, in local hardware stores, in community supermarkets, gift stores and greengrocers. Now many of those have been forced to close. Online growth has gone to Amazon, whose owner is the world's richest man. The real outcome from coronavirus measures has been the largest transference of wealth from small business to the elites in Australian history. We expect this sort of thing from the Liberal Party and their sell-out sidekicks, the Nationals, but Labor has embraced the politics of fear and cronyism in Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria. Shame on them.
Only One Nation is committed to restoring a fair go for working Australians. As our motions on the national curriculum today and degendered language in the last sitting show, One Nation will continue to defend Australia as a faith based nation committed to family and community. One Nation continues to champion the natural environment. We continue to fight for clean air, to fight for clean water, to fight for clean food and to fight for clean medicines. With leave worshipping of the sky god of warming to Labor, the Greens and, sadly, now the Liberal-National Party, with their final act of surrender: policies contradicting science, common sense and nature.
With this budget, the government is borrowing money to increase funding for a fake climate emergency. There is no climate emergency, and a gutless pandering to the bed-wetters on the Left is not in the best interests of Australians. This budget has a black armband view of Australia's future. The projections for the contribution to gross domestic product from agriculture are based on the assumption that lower rainfall will return and agricultural output and exports will decline. According to the government's own research, a drought like this last one has happened 10 times in the last 1,000 years. It was not climate change 1,000 years ago, and it is not climate change now. Cold weather has now overtaken the northern hemisphere, with widespread crop failures, reduced harvest and higher prices. This will not change over forward estimates. Natural climate cycles have given our farmers a wonderful opportunity to grow our agricultural sector and exports here in Australia.
Foreign influence and ownership in Australia has reached crisis levels, and this budget does nothing about that. Our ports in Darwin, Melbourne and Newcastle and much of our power grid in our major cities are now in the hands of a hostile foreign power. Those owners have publicly professed their loyalty not to Australia but to the Chinese Communist Party. This budget makes no provision for the cost of buying these contracts back, so one can assume that the government does not intend to act to restore Australian sovereignty over our strategic assets.
Our armed forces are incapable of waging war against any serious challenges. Our subs are in pieces. Only one sub is combat-ready at this moment—one. The budget continues the new subs project, despite the cost rising to an estimated $200 billion and delivery pushing out past 2030. On the bright side, though, Australia is advancing our space capacity. Later this year, an Australian designed and manufactured satellite will be launched into orbit from an Australian designed and manufactured rocket, using an Australian launch facility. How amazing is that? This is proof that it is time to get the government out of people's lives and let free enterprise and Aussie ingenuity fix this mess, starting by withdrawing from the United Nations and their sovereignty-sapping, wealth-sucking, industry-killing conventions that make Australia less, not more. One Nation's alternative budget will recover the freedoms, opportunities and living standards that Australians once enjoyed. One Nation will cancel the submarine contract and purchase nuclear powered submarines off the shelf to expedite delivery and recover our defensive capability.
One Nation will terminate the clean energy fund and the department of climate change while honouring agreements already in place. Every year the Liberals, Labor and Nationals climate and energy policies cost Australians an additional $13 billion above their electricity costs. The Liberal energy minister recently admitted he is afraid for future electricity prices and terrified of losing reliability and stability, and rightly so; he should be, thanks to the policies of the Liberals, Labor and Nationals, starting with Prime Minister John Howard in 1996. One Nation will abolish all energy subsidies for fossil fuel—that is, hydrocarbons—except the diesel fuel rebate, and all subsidies for renewables will end so that free enterprise can build reliable base-load power of whichever type they consider the most efficient. This will restore our productive capacity by breathing life into our devastated industries.
One Nation will allow doctors to prescribe Australian medical cannabis to anyone with a medical need.
One Nation calls for a national taxation summit to reach agreement on how our taxation system is failing everyday Australians and businesses and destroying our country and to arrive at solutions based on proven principles.
This budget increases the number of public servants by 5,000 over the next 12 months. One Nation will freeze employment numbers in the federal public service and re-allocate staff away from virtue signalling and pork-barrelling projects into productive pursuits that care for the people of Australia and serve the people of Australia.
One Nation will reduce immigration such that our net population growth becomes zero. This will allow infrastructure like roads, hospitals, schools and housing to catch up with the avalanche of migrants that Labor and the Greens, and the Liberals and Nationals have let into our country over the last 20 years. A net zero population policy will actually allow around 80,000 migrants to still come in each year to replace the 80,000 roughly who leave each year. We would expect 10,000 of those 80,000 incoming to be refugees. This contrasts with a peak arrival rate under Labor, the Liberals and Nationals of 275,000 new migrants annually pre-COVID, 3½ times our stable number. The reduction in demand will take the heat out of the housing market and give our everyday Australians some relief from the extreme inflation we are seeing in housing, education, aged care, child care and medical expenses.
One Nation has a vision and is preparing a plan that will turn northern Australia into a growth engine for the whole country, offering a new future for Australia based on agriculture, mining, value-adding and, more importantly, community, getting back to Australian values and economic fairness. (Time expired)