Bernardi: One of the things I say as a conservative is that we have built institutions, and things have evolved over centuries—in this country, over many generations—and they’ve evolved for a particular reason: to bring people together to ensure there is the maximum civil society and the maximum freedom available. What I note is those on the progressive agenda like Senator McKim hate those institutions because they claim they oppress everyone else and they want to tear them down. What they’re good at is ripping down things and destroying things, but they are not good at building them. They’ve got nothing to replace them with.

The Greens call themselves the ‘global Green movement’. Their former leader—who, by the way, supported coal-fired power over the Franklin Dam—the person they idolise and adore and revere is the person who said there should be one world government, and yet here they are defending the rights and the roles of councils. They hate councils unless they’re stacked full of leftists and Greens. And—what a coincidence—haven’t we got a council or two that fulfil that description here?

Let’s make this point: this disallowance motion incorporates two exceptions in the list of people who the Commonwealth authorises to receive a citizenship pledge or commitment. The two exceptions are the City of Yarra council and the City of Darebin council, both in the heart of Green territory in the Melbourne metropolitan area. Councils are allowed to provide citizenship ceremonies, as are others, at the behest of the minister for citizenship and immigration. That is their role and, yes, it is a disallowable instrument. But it is absolutely trite and pathetic for Senator McKim and the Greens to drive some sort of wedge into our national psyche on the basis that some extremists who have captured these two councils are pursuing their goal.

Let’s have a look at this. The City of Yarra council covers Richmond, Collingwood and Fitzroy in inner Melbourne. The City of Yarra councillors comprise—lo and behold—four Greens councillors, two ALP councillors, two independents and one from the Socialist Alliance. It is pretty hard to pick them all apart; they’re all in the same boat. But I have to say that one of these councillors, Mi-Lin Chen Yi Mei, enthusiastically welcomed the passage of the motion abandoning Australia Day. There’s someone who enthusiastically welcomed the passage of the motion abandoning Australia Day. This is left-wing nonsense propagated by the far extreme left that is so damaging to all the things that made this country what it is today.

It’s interesting to note the City of Yarra council also received a motion which it passed earlier this month asking for Australia to adopt the Rohingya asylum seekers, which, of course, is another Greens policy. It was introduced by the Greens mayor, Amanda Stone, backed by the Greens councillor Misha Coleman. Do you notice anything inconsistent with this? The people who loathe our country the most are the Greens and their associates.

The City of Darebin council later considered a similar motion at the behest of its mayor, Greens councillor Kim Le Cerf. Darebin covers the suburbs of Northcote, Coburg and Reservoir. Its council is comprised of four Greens, three independents and two ALP councillors, absolutely representative of the Australian people—that’s called sarcasm, Madam Deputy President Reynolds! But, to her credit, Labor Councillor Williams was a voice of common sense, publicly questioning the proposal and belling the cat by saying it’s crazy.

Moreland City Council, in Melbourne’s suburban north, in mid-September became the third council to abandon Australia Day. They abandoned the day on which we celebrate us becoming a country, effectively—the day that European settlement started the establishment of this country as we know it today. But Greens councillor and then deputy mayor Samantha Ratnam’s motion prevailed, seven votes to four, for which the Greens promptly rewarded her this week by rushing her into the Victorian Legislative Council to further undermine the Australian Constitution, to replace resigning Greens leader Greg Barber. What I find extraordinary is that this person was installed into the council, and had no political experience outside of being a mayor, but, because of her diligent work, was made leader of the Greens in Victoria—no political experience necessary. It says all you need to know. It’s the ideology—the ability to carry the Marxist Green agenda right through the institutions. The more you wreck, the more havoc you cause, the more you destroy, the more you are rewarded under the Greens’ program.

This trend was set in train by the Fremantle council in metropolitan Perth, which initially proposed doing what the Yarra and Darebin councils have done. But, when the government quite rightly warned them, ‘We will take your citizenship rights away from you,’ they relented and instead chose another day, 28 January—a separate, so-called ‘One Day in Fremantle’ event designed for Aboriginal Australians to stage an alternative ceremony. There are many Aboriginal Australians that I know who are happy with Australia Day where it is. It just seems there is an extreme element amongst them who are intent once again on ripping into whatever celebration there is and using it as a cause for division. That is what is being fuelled by the Greens.

But it’s not only in Western Australia and Victoria. In my own state of South Australia we’ve got this headline-seeking, virtue-signalling council, the City of Marion council, and a councillor there moved to abandon Australia day too. Not one other councillor, I’m pleased to say, seconded that motion. We had one person who loathed our country so much and couldn’t even find that support.

More councils and councillors are sounding out their ratepayers about what to do on this issue, and this is the Greens’ modus operandi: they make it untenable for people to have an alternative point of view. We saw that today with Senator McKim, wo is still lamenting not being able to blow out the candles at a three-year-old’s birthday party. He wants to call everyone pejorative names such as ‘hate speakers’ for speaking up for Australia Day—a ‘racist hate speech’ for defending Australia Day. That’s what we heard in the Senate. This is extremism writ large, and they dare to call others extremists and radicals. These people are getting hold of inner-city councils. They’re getting hold of institutional power, which they are using against the national interest. It should be of concern for all of us.

I give this history and these concerns because the genesis of this issue and this division lies firmly with the Australian Greens. It’s cashing in, if you will, on the nonsense that is growing out of parts of America and, to a lesser degree, the United Kingdom, where the political left—the socialists, the communists, the cultural Marxists—want to rewrite history and erase their heritage and their past because suddenly they’ve determined that it causes offence. In America and Australia we’re seeing people all of a sudden complain about statues that have been there for decades, demanding that they be covered up or the plaques be replaced. Lo and behold, who’s behind that? It’s the same cultural ideology that has infected the Greens party and is leaking out into other sections of society. It is about promoting this black armband view of Australia’s history.

Australia’s history is what it is. Like every country, there are imperfections in it. There are things that we all wish hadn’t happened, but they go together—just like how in all our individual lives there are things we regret and wish we hadn’t done, but there are also things we wish we had done and actions we wish we had taken when we didn’t. But they go to making you the person that you are today, just like our history, like it or lump it, goes towards making us the country that we are today. We cannot erase that history. It’s not about atoning for it; it is about getting on and making sure we can move forward together. You do not do that by ripping the country apart as the Greens are seeking to.

There is a question here about what on earth can motivate people to pursue this path of division, rancour and abuse. I’d like to characterise it as the misuse of power. Some would be even more aggressive in the language that they use: that this is, effectively, treacherous behaviour towards your country. People are right to question the desires of people who are intent upon destroying the institutions that help to make us what we are today. And it comes back to the agenda of the Greens, belled by former leader and former Senator Bob Brown, who spoke to fellow Earthians. He said we haven’t been visited by aliens because they didn’t like what we were doing to the planet down here.

He did begin a speech by saying ‘fellow Earthians’ on his approach to one world government, where everyone gets one vote. You know what? The 20-odd million people in Australia wouldn’t get too much of a say in that (Visit Greens Website for Evidence click link) One world government that the Greens so desire. They want governance by the elites. They believe that they know better than anyone else, that they can virtue-signal and that they can pursue things without being critically assessed for it.

I make no bones about it: Australian Conservatives wholeheartedly and 100 per cent support Australia Day. And this is not to gloss over our history. This is not to recognise that our history doesn’t have highs and lows. But we have evolved; we have moved together as a nation to become the country that we are today. It is the best country in the world as far as I’m concerned. Yes, we have some challenges, but the challenges are not 26 January; the challenges are the fact that too few people are prepared to make a contribution to this country in a financial sense, which is leading people in this place to make decisions that we are leaving to future generations to sort out.

I regret that part of the problem is the fragmentation of this extreme leftist agenda, that says they know best and that they can govern better than individuals can manage their own affairs. That is the totalitarian nature of the Greens. That is the big problem confronting our country. Days like Australia Day, Christmas and Easter, our regular festivities and our traditions, are the things that bind and build our culture together. The Greens and their acolytes have no interest in perpetuating the culture that binds us together. They want to destroy, to tear down, the things that makes this country good so that they can reinvent it in their neo-Marxist image.

It is an absolute disgrace that Senator McKim uses his democratic right to trash our country in this place. He’s meant to be better than that; he should be better than that. He’s still carrying the internal grievance and the hatred that he has for other people because he wasn’t included and invited to a birthday party as a three-year-old. This is a man with a serious psychological chip on his shoulder, and he shouldn’t be carrying it in this place.

Chamber Senate on 17/10/2017ItemREGULATIONS AND DETERMINATIONS – Citizenship (Authorisation) Revocation and Authorisation Instrument 2017, Citizenship (Authorisation) Revocation and Authorisation Amendment Instrument 2017 – Disallowance Speaker :Bernardi, Sen Cory