One Nation will not be supporting Senator Siewert’s motion to disallow the Social Security (Administration) (Trial Area) Amendment Determination 2017. I was fortunate enough to be invited, by Andrew Forrest, to a meeting with Aboriginals from Ceduna and Kununurra. That was the reason to sit down and talk to them with regard to this card. At that meeting, over a lengthy period of time, they explained to me about the card and what it meant to their communities. They said that it had improved their communities. They saw less domestic violence, they saw less drinking and they saw more children start to attend school. They thought it was far better in their communities. They were praising the card, and they expressed to me their opinion on that.
We talk about pouring more money in to deal with the Aboriginal issues. Yes, there is a drinking problem. Yes, there are drugs. There are problems, such as domestic violence, that are not only in their communities. We see domestic violence throughout Australia. In dealing with the problems there over the years, I have seen billions of dollars being thrown at this whole thing to deal with the Aboriginals. Years ago I called it an Aboriginal industry. It was costing Australian taxpayers billions of dollars. If anyone spoke out about it, complained or questioned where the money went they were called ‘racist’—you could not talk about it. I think it needs to be talked about openly and honestly.
I have been informed that we spend approximately $5.6 billion a year to deal with Aboriginal issues. Senator Siewert mentioned that we should put more money into services. I have just been over to Western Australia, and I visited Kalgoorlie. They are having a huge problem with the Aboriginal people there that are coming to town. They are accessing alcohol. They are sleeping on the streets. The councillors are saying, ‘We don’t know how to deal with this whole issue.’ They informed me that there are about 170 different agencies, and yet they have this problem. The agencies do not work together. They do not communicate with each other. There is no cross-referencing of anything. We have this ongoing problem. The agencies only work from nine to five, and nothing happens after that period of time. The police have their hands tied. They do not know how to deal with this issue.
Having the card, as we have seen and as they have told me, restricts them from spending money on alcohol and on drugs. There is another issue. With the Aboriginal community usually if someone has something they must share it with the rest of the community. If a family comes along then they share what they have, whether it be money, alcohol or whatever they have. That is their culture. That card cannot be transferred to anyone else. When they know that they cannot get money from that card to gamble, to buy alcohol, to buy cigarettes or to buy drugs then the money is used wisely—to feed the kids, to buy decent food and to pay the bills. That is important. That is what this is all about.
If we really care about these people and want to do something about it we have to have an opinion and work together to help them. Regardless of whether they are Aboriginal, whatever people they are, if anyone needs this assistance in a community then we should look at it. We should look into what the community wants. Clearly, in my discussions with them, this is what the community wants. It works for them.
For too long I have heard too many bleeding hearts saying their opinions without truly looking at the whole issue that is happening here. It is the same as when I went up to Palm Island years ago. I saw what was happening up there; I walked around the place. I had three men—one was as young as about 15, and he was drunk at around about two o’clock in the afternoon—say ‘Pauline, we want to work.’ That is what they want to do, but no-one wants to get involved or say anything. I was accused of going up there, and I was called a racist. This is what is happening. They want someone to stand up and speak up for them, because they have real problems and real issues.
We need to start making the tough decisions and start really investigating what is happening. There is an Aboriginal industry out there. There are people who are abusing the system and ripping off taxpayers’ dollars. It is not going where it is supposed to be going. Everyone shuts down, because it is taboo—you cannot talk about it. I believe in having an honest discussion about this. We should talk about it, because I know these people are.
I went to a meeting in 1998. I had all the media there. I had about 12 Aboriginal women and children who were in the room. They held up my hand and said, ‘We have been hoping and praying for someone like Pauline Hanson to come along, because our women are being bashed and raped, and our kids are glue sniffing.’ Nothing was reported, because they could not possibly do that. All these years I have been ridiculed about it, and what needs to be done is just openness and honesty. We need to talk about these issues that are happening, because they are crying out for it.
When I went up to Port Hedland recently, two Aboriginal women came up to me and said: ‘We need a royal commission into Aboriginal spending, about where the money goes. Where do our royalties go? Where does our money go?’ They are questioning the whole system as well, because it is not going where it is supposed to go. They want to see improvements. They want to see their kids educated. They want to see law and order in their towns. They want decent housing. And it is not because the Australian taxpayer has not paid billions of dollars into this industry; they have. The Australian people have paid for this. But there are people who are not being accountable to taxpayers—and not to their own people. I have seen this over the years.
I do support this, and I think we need to listen to the communities, and that is exactly what I have done. They do want this. And as regards those under 18 years of age getting this, I do support that. That is another thing that we must look at. As I have travelled Australia—and in rural and regional areas, and not only there but every place, we have a drug problem. There is a huge ice problem in this country. These kids are getting on the ice, because they cannot get jobs, because there is no future for them and because they are depressed, and so they get caught up in taking drugs. If the have cash in their pockets, of course they are going to buy the drugs. If having this cashless card means these kids cannot get cash to give to the drug dealers out there—these parasites that are feeding off them—then this may be the way to stop it, so that these kids can have a chance.
Forget about feeling soft and bleeding-heart over everything. Start making some touch decisions and ask the parents out there how they feel about it. Would the parents encourage this? Ask the Australian people if they want to see a cashless society for these kids that are under 18 years of age. Will it benefit them? Because a lot of these parents that I have spoken to would dearly love to have the right answers, and clean up the mess that this country is in. If we do not start dealing with the ice problem and the drugs, heaven help us and our future generations. Thank you.
Chamber Senate on 29/03/2017
Item REGULATIONS AND DETERMINATIONS – Social Security (Administration) (Trial Area) Amendment Determination 2017 – Disallowance
Speaker :Hanson, Sen Pauline