I have heard some speeches here tonight and I cannot believe that a lot of them are around Pauline Hanson and One Nation. You would think that the whole house revolves around me. Eight minutes of Senator Chisholm’s speech was about One Nation and Pauline Hanson. I thought you were here to discuss what was happening in this country.
Let me put forward a few facts. We talk about the battlers in this country. The Labor Party is supposed to be a party for the battlers. In 1936 my grandfather was on the executive of the Labor Party. He migrated from England. He was a carpenter and worked hard. He was part of the union movement and he believed in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. I was brought up with that same attitude by watching my father work 106 hours a week for 25 years.
I know what it is like to be a battler. I have come from a battling family, and watched my father work long hours. I started working in a shop serving at 12 years of age, and started a full-time job at 15 years of age. I know what it is like to be a battler. I had my first child at 17 years of age, and my second by the time I was 21. I was a single mother at 22 and having to work, so I know what being a battler is about. I found the money to put food on the table to feed my two children, and I made sure they could eat. So do not tell me about being a battler; I know.
The fact is that unless we pull back the deficit of this country, we will not have the money to support the aged, the sick and the necessary in future generations. What is happening? We need to get common sense into this debate, and we need to actually look at what is right for the people of Australia. For too long we have seen both sides of this parliament put the idea out there that they are going to give people extra benefits to get votes. When John Howard came into power, the budget was $96 billion in debt from Paul Keating’s Labor government. John Howard and Peter Costello as Treasurer pulled it back, and when the Labor Party took over in 2007, it was in a $22 billion surplus. Under Labor, it went into a $400 billion deficit. Something has to give. The coalition has run up debt also, and, at the moment, by the debt clock, we are running at $547 billion. We cannot sustain this.
The cuts that are happening tonight in this budget have to be looked at in the sense of what they are going to do for Australia and for future generations. You cannot keep buying votes; make the tough decisions in this House, because that is what you have to do if you are going to be able to provide for future generations. You cannot keep giving out handouts all the time. It does not work. How many of you in this house have ever run a business? How many of you have ever employed anyone? Do you have any idea, or are you just career politicians? Most of you coming into this place would not even know what the hell you are talking about—
Senator HANSON: I am sorry; I withdraw that. Most of you have no idea what you are actually voting on; you see where the rest of your parliamentarians are seeing. It is very important to the people of Australia that we get it right. It is about time the people in this house started working together to do what is right for the people of Australia, because they are depending on us. Because the government may put up legislation, do not vote against it just because it is the government. Vote against it because it may be right for the Australian people.
Senator Urquhart: You take it off those who need it most! Is that how you fix it? Do you take it off the table for those who need it most? Is that the way you’re fixing it? Come on!
Senator HANSON: What I am saying here is work together as a parliament to pull this country together, because people are relying on us to do the right thing by them. We have people out there who are relying on us to make the right decisions.
Senator Chisholm got up, and he spoke about me. He spoke about the GST, and about WA, and about what I am saying and that it is not right for Queensland. In the last seven months—prior to that actually; a year before the election—I have travelled Queensland quite extensively. Senator Chisholm, where were you with the Singaporean land acquisition? Where were you with the cane growers? The people of Queensland would not even know who Senator Chisholm is, or who Senator Ketter is, or who Senator Watt is. They never see them. I never see them. No-one ever says anything to me. People would not even know who the Labor senators for Queensland are; would not have a clue! What are they doing for Queensland?
As for the WA election and the GST for WA, I will just put it on record—Senator Chisholm made a comment that I was taking money from Queensland. That is not the case. I said it is an unfair deal for WA, only getting 30 per cent of the deal for GST. It is not fair. Everything that I do and say, I look at what is fair right across the board for all Australians. It is not about taking money from Queensland, because we have a lot of other states that are getting far more GST. I am looking at things that are fair, and people would expect no less of me in my position as a senator in this parliament.
They talk about the WA elections and the deal done. Labor cannot get away from it. I think Labor are concerned because they are not going to get preferences from One Nation at the next election. Let me tell you, it was the Labor state secretary who approached a member of my office to do a deal at the Queensland election. You are making comments about the WA election, but let me make it quite clear: Labor have approached us to run dead in some seats in Queensland. But you were not interested in that. You are making comments about this. The Labor Party are so hypocritical in this chamber that the people of Australia need to know this.
Senator Chisholm made a comment about me and my party in 1998. Let me tell you this: I actually had charges brought against me by Tony Abbott—sorry; it was not Tony Abbott. He funded Terry Sharples to bring charges against me. But it was the then Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, Labor Premier Peter Beattie, who then deregistered the party in Queensland, which forced the members of parliament to go and register another political party. And prior to my trial, it was Peter Beattie—Labor—who, instead of making it a six-month jail term or a fine, made it seven years so that the judge could convict me for up to seven years. He did that prior to my trial. This is Labor; you really are for the battlers. That is what I say to Senator Chisholm. Get your facts straight. If you are going to have a go at me, get them straight; know what you are talking about. He did not know what he was talking about.
The whole thing about this, about when the Labor Party talk about the fight for the lowest paid—I am actually ridiculed over the rates. Isn’t it quite interesting that Labor were the ones, under Bill Shorten, who brought in the 457 visa holders to more than 100,000? Where were they to protect the jobs in Australia? These 457 visa holders have taken up jobs in McDonald’s, in Kentucky Fried Chicken and all these other places. I owned my own small business. If I owned my own business now I would have to pay the rates of $34 an hour, but if you work at McDonald’s—this is great of the union bosses; they have done the EBAs—you only get paid $26 an hour. They are really looking after their workers! If you have a cleaning business in a small motel, you pay $31 an hour. You could pay possibly $10 less if you worked for a big chain, all through the unions and the EBA agreements. Labor are really looking after the workers in this country! You have done a fantastic job!
I must remind Labor as well: didn’t we have a vote in the parliament here when I moved a motion for former prime ministers of this country to no longer get their offices and staff paid for? Who opposed it? Labor. Where were you worrying about the battlers of this country? You were not. You were protecting the elites of this country. They did not need to be protected—they are former prime ministers on thousands of dollars—but you protected them. And you talk about the battlers.
Or what about when we moved a motion here on the floor of parliament on freezing parliamentarians’ wages until the budget was in surplus? Who was on this side of the house voting for it? It was One Nation and Cory Bernardi and Jacqui Lambie. Where were you, Labor, and the coalition? You were on the other side of the house. You would not bring yourselves to freeze your wages at all, yet you are now whingeing and complaining about the battlers out there. You are hypocrites, absolute hypocrites. My plan, as One Nation, is about—
Senator McAllister: You want to cut their wages. Your plan is to cut their wages.
Senator Gallagher: And she should direct her comments through the chair.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Reynolds ): Senator Hanson, I have given you a little bit of latitude, but the volume now is getting a little excessive, so perhaps I could remind you to direct your comments through the chair and not to senators directly. But I would ask senators on my left to pay a little more respect to the speaker.
Senator HANSON: Than you, and I will. What I am saying here is that we really need to look at what is right for the people of this nation. We are so much out of debt, and we owe so much money. If we intend to be able to fund infrastructure, schools, hospitals and pensioners and those who are sick and in need of this, we have to rein in our debt. We have to pull in the budget, with a commonsense approach—work together on this and look at what is best for this nation. We have seen so much rorting going on. Labor is looking at the fact that we are freezing family tax benefit A and B. But Labor did the same. Labor froze the tax benefit increments indexed in 2011-12. They are hypocrites, absolute hypocrites, to actually do it. And now you are accusing the coalition of doing exactly the same. And then there are the multinationals. You complain about things—and I have heard it in this chamber—about the capital gains tax and the negative gearing, and you complain about all these things, the multinationals. Why didn’t you do something about it when you were in government? Why do you now sit on the other side of the chamber and whinge and complain about all this now, saying why isn’t the government doing it, when you should have done it yourselves? You had the opportunity. You had the Gillard government—
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator McAllister, a point of order?
Senator McAllister: Madam Acting Deputy President, you have asked the senator to direct her remarks through the chair. We have curbed our contributions and interjections in response to your intervention. But I think it would be nice if Senator Hanson would do this.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Hanson, I would remind you to direct your comments through the chair.
Senator HANSON: What I was saying is that I do see the problems, what is happening here, and I will pull it back to Labor. Labor are saying that they are worrying about the battlers. But where has Labor been on cost of living? It was actually Labor that allowed for foreign investors to do developments in Australia. In particular it was brought to my attention in Melbourne that if they did a development they could actually sell off the whole development to foreign investment. It used to be that 50 per cent had to go to Australians. Now the whole lot goes to foreign investors. Where was Labor on that? Where was Labor with Queensland now 87 per cent in drought? Where was Labor when multinationals put the squeeze on canegrowers in the Burdekin?—again, a foreign investor. And, as I said before, where was Labor with the Singaporean land acquisition? So, through you, Chair, I am asking these questions of Labor. Are they prepared to answer the questions? Where was Labor on creating affordable housing?
They have allowed foreign investors in this country. Where were they when we were looking at foreign investment in houses to stop foreign investors buying them so that Australians could buy the houses? What have they done? Absolutely nothing. Where were Labor when Senator Cory Bernardi put a freeze on politicians’ wages in the budget? Labor are so hypocritical. Where was Labor on regional outback Australia where unemployment is at 11.6 percent in Queensland? Labor have made so many allegations against me that it is like the Medicare scare. It is like they have to criticise Pauline Hanson and One Nation and it is like they have to show that she is not for the battlers.
I will actually stand up for what is fair, what is right and what is just for this country, for Australia and for the Australian people. I will not be hypocritical and I will not be two-faced like other people in this chamber. The fact is that I have a job to do and sometimes tough decisions have to be made. I cannot please everyone. I know that, when I make decisions or judgements in this house, I do not always vote with the coalition as sometimes I vote with the Greens and sometimes with the Labor Party, I vote on what I think is right for this country and the people. I will always direct my vote that way.
Labor brings it back just because I have done a deal in Western Australia to preference the Liberals before Labor. They will not tell you that they preference the Liberals before One Nation in Western Australia. They will not tell you that. This is basically because they are concerned about where the votes are going. They know they are losing a lot of votes to One Nation because they are not standing up and fighting for the battlers in this country because they are two-faced. They are more worried about the union bosses. What about the workers? Let’s mention that $73 million of union fees have gone into Labor Party coffers over the last 10 years.
So, they are really for the battlers, are they? Let us be honest about the whole thing. I say to the Labor Party and to everyone in this chamber: have a look at the bill as a whole, look at what is right for this country and start reigning in the debt of this nation otherwise we will not be able to look after the pensioners, the sick, the aged and the needy.
You cannot continue to buy votes in this house and that is exactly what you are doing. Have a good look at this bill because people are relying on us to make the right decisions.
Chamber Senate on 22/03/2017 Item BILLS – Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 – Second Reading Speaker :Hanson, Sen Pauline