Senator HANSON (Queensland): I just want to put a few facts straight. It’s quite interesting to listen to the comments of the Labor Party, as if they’re all for the battlers. I don’t take sides in this House, whether it’s the government side or the opposition side. My job in this House is to bring accountability for the people of Australia. It’s quite interesting to hear that Senator Cameron and the Labor Party are not backing this. It’s basically a savings for first home buyers so that they can, as a tax deduction, as well, to them, put it into their savings account, into their superannuation, so that they can actually draw on that money to then buy a house, if they wish. I think it’s a wonderful idea. It’s going to encourage people to save for their first home. It will help them tax-wise, as well.
This has nothing to do with any other superannuation program or any other issues that the government may want to put across with their superannuation. This is about helping people to be able to save to buy a home—their first home. As Senator Leyonhjelm’s amendments address, if you’ve had a house previously you’re not going to be stopped from buying a second one further down the track if you face financial difficulties, or if you’ve been through a divorce or for whatever reasons. I think that’s commendable in the amendments Senator Leyonhjelm is putting forward, which we will be supporting.
When Senator Cameron says, ‘They don’t care about the housing market and big investors, and they’re not looking after them,’ let me draw him back to what Minister Chris Bowen and the Labor Party did. For any foreign developers in this country—and we have so many Chinese over here, plus other developers; but they are mainly Chinese, with all the high-rise buildings going up in Melbourne—they actually changed the laws to say that, instead of 50 per cent of the property having to be bought up by Australian homeowners, the whole lot can be sold to foreign investors.’ Oh, they’re worried about the battlers! They were worried about Australians owning their own homes! No, they didn’t. On top of that, there was no stamp duty paid on those units. So this is Labor worrying about Australians owning their own homes. They changed the laws so that all of that development could be sold to foreign investors.
Since the government have been in here—and I supported them—that has been changed. Fifty per cent of those development sites must be sold to Australians. You also talk about how they’re doing nothing for anyone else. With the foreign investment that’s happened in this country, especially in buying up our prime agricultural land, it was okay under Labor. They could buy anything up to $240 million. So they allowed the foreign investors into the country. It was under the coalition—I think it was under Prime Minister Abbott—that it was reduced to $15 million. I think it’s still over the top, but at least they reduced it. So where was Labor on supporting our prime agricultural land? Nowhere to be seen.
Another thing is they talk about looking after everyone. The reason for the high cost of living—for which I will have a go at both Labor and the government—is high immigration. Until you actually reduce the immigration numbers coming into this country, our housing will continue to go up and up. We cannot provide the amount of housing that we require for our own Australians and also allow for foreign investors, plus the immigration levels.
You talk about pay cuts to hard-earning workers. But it’s alright for the union to take these hardworking Australians’ union fees to pay people to work on polling booths for a day at $400 a day. Where are all those union fees going? What about the Craig Thomsons who use the moneys from workers’ union fees to pay for prostitutes or whatever? So don’t you talk about workers.
Senator Cameron interjecting—
Senator HANSON: I remember a motion was put here in the parliament—moved by Senator Cory Bernardi and supported by One Nation and, I believe, Senator Jacqui Lambie—that there’d be not a cut but a freeze on politicians’ wages until the budget was in surplus. There were six on this side agreeing to it. Where was Labor? Where was everyone else? On that side. So you weren’t prepared to take a freeze on your wages.
Senator Cameron: You’ve made your money with the Electoral Commission.
Senator HANSON: This is Labor, really worried about the battler out there.
Senator Cameron: You’ve made your money.
The TEMPORARY CHAIR ( Senator O’Sullivan ): Senator Hanson, resume your seat for a moment, please. Order on my left! Senators are entitled to be heard in silence. Senator Hanson.
Senator HANSON: Thank you very much, Acting Deputy Chair. So it’s all right for Labor to say they’re out there for the battlers and everything else. No, they’re not. You don’t lead by example. You actually say a lot of things that aren’t true. You talk about the rise and then don’t address the electricity costs. Let me tell you that it’s Labor in Queensland who have seen electricity prices rise by 200 percent. It is because the power lines and poles are owned by the state government—Labor. Forty-nine per cent of the power bill goes into the coffers of the Labor government. One Nation wanted to drop the price by 20 per cent. It could be dropped by 20 per cent, but, no, they’re putting billions of dollars into the coffers. It’s actually $1.5 billion a year out of the pockets of mums and dads and pensioners and businesses. You speak to your colleagues in Queensland, if they get back into government, and say that, unless they reduce the price of electricity, a number of businesses are going to go under: a fertiliser company; Boyne Smelters are going under; and there’s another big business in Rockhampton that makes springs. They’re actually struggling to pay their power bills.
You talk about jobs. What did you do to increase apprenticeship schemes when you were in government? Absolutely nothing. And it was under Labor that the 457 visa holder numbers increased in Australia. You brought people into the country who shouldn’t have been here taking up jobs that should belong to Australian people. So don’t you sit there and criticise. This superannuation bill is going to be very good for those people to be able to save their money—
Senator Cameron interjecting—
Senator HANSON: and they can have the opportunity to buy their first home. Why don’t you support that?
Senator Cameron: I’m criticising you—your racism.
The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Order! Senator Hanson, please resume your seat. We need some silence on my left. The senator is entitled to be heard. Senator Hanson.
Senator HANSON: Thank you very much. When you hit the bone, it really hurts, doesn’t it? They can’t cop it. They want to dish it out to One Nation all the time. One Nation are here and we will support good legislation. When the Labor Party decide to put up good legislation—well, they won’t until they’re on the other side of the benches; they’ve got to get from that side to the other side—I’ll consider supporting their legislation. They don’t even attempt to put up commonsense amendments to try to help the legislation; they just knock it on the head. So, everyone out there who wants to own their own home, forget about it because Labor is not supporting you. They’re too busy looking after their union mates and the delegates who end up in this place and on the benches in here, and then they forget about the hard workers out there.
The whole thing is: this is a good proposition; it’s a good bill to help people get into their own homes. But we’ve got to start looking at the immigration level coming into Australia. We’ve got foreign students. We’ve got about a million in the country who are buying their own housing. This is having an impact on affordable housing. You’ve got state taxes and stamp duty which are also having an impact on it. There are many reasons for this. This is a good bill for superannuation to help people get into their own home. I support Senator Leyonhjelm’s amendments to this and I support the government on their bill.
Chamber Senate on 5/12/2017 Item BILLS – Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures No. 1) Bill 2017, First Home Super Saver Tax Bill 2017 – In Committee Speaker: Hanson, Sen Pauline