Bob Katter :I had some difficulty believing that the previous speaker could really believe in what he was saying. It is quite extraordinary to me. In Queensland, where he comes from, there’s most certainly no Labor government; there’s a Greens government. Their policies are very much in line with those of the Greens.
When you see me walk into this chamber, through those doors, you will always see me salute the magnificent painting of Charlie McDonald. He was the first member for Kennedy and the third Speaker in this place, and he was one of the proud founders of the Labor movement. In sharp contrast to the last speaker, he said, ‘We don’t want migrants to come into this country and take our jobs off us and undermine our pay and conditions, because we don’t.
That is exactly what you were saying, sir. That is exactly what you were saying. Every single sentence that came out of you prompted more migrants to come to this country. You want the barriers lowered and removed. We’re talking here about increasing the barriers, making it more difficult to come to Australia, reducing the number of people coming in. Let the people who are desperate for jobs in your electorate know who is responsible. Who was bringing in 650,000 people a year? Not the Liberal Party. It was the Labor Party.
Charlie McDonald, that great man out there, would turn in his grave. Seventy-two of his fellow citizens in the Kennedy electorate died in an explosion at Mount Mulligan. Twenty-five died in an explosion at Mount Leyshon. That was in my home town of Charters Towers. We died like flies because of the corporates that owned the mines and treated us like dogs, so we fought for our pay and conditions. No sooner did we get our pay and conditions, win arbitration, because of great men like Charlie McDonald than the corporate classes brought in the coolies to work the mines and the Kanakas to work the cane fields. Our arbitration commission wasn’t work two bob, because they had people who were going to work for nothing in the cane fields and the mines and who couldn’t have cared less really, in a collective way, about our conditions. One in 30 of them died in the cane fields. One in 30 of them, strangely enough—ironically enough—died in the mines.
Yet the champions of more migration, including the last speaker, are the Labor Party. Those migrants are the ones putting the pressure on welfare in this country. If you are going to continue to bring 650,000 people a year into this country, all of them able to work—there are no restrictions upon section 457s or student visas; they can all get jobs here—and there are only 200,000 jobs being generated in the country, and over 200,000 school leavers, you don’t have to be Albert Einstein to figure out that you’re going to go bankrupt real quick.
When I asked this question of Prime Minister Abbott, five days later the minister for welfare in the government said that welfare was going to explode from a quarter of the budget to half of the budget. Well, of course it is! If you’re bringing 650,000 people a year into this country and there are only 200,000 jobs and over 200,000 school leavers, of course the welfare budget is going to explode. But ‘bludgerigars’ that come into this place are not worried about adding up; they are just worried about pleasing some part of their constituency.
The people of Australia are starting to wake up and the Liberal Party is starting to wake up, but Labor are living in the Stone Age. They’re quite literally living in the Stone Age. They proudly boasted about bringing in 650,000 people. I am told that there are now only 350,000 people, not 650,000, coming into the country. I think, under the circumstances, the Liberal Party should be applauded.
Mr Deputy Speaker, we are bringing these people in from countries that have no rule of law, no democracy, no egalitarian tradition. Much as I love Indians, people from India, they do have a very rigid class system and most certainly have rule of law and democracy. But it was in the paper the other day that in the past 55 years in Pakistan not a single prime minister or president—whatever it is—has completed his term in office. Whatever their values are, they’re not the values of this country.
Finally, there is the Judeo-Christian underpinning of our society. You may not believe in God; you might hate religion; but I think all of us would probably agree we’re brought up in a background of love your neighbour, you have responsibility to your neighbour, you have responsibility to produce something for your fellow man. Those things are the essence of the Christian and to some degree Judeo value system.
So are we going to bring all these people in—no democracy, no rule of law, no Judeo-Christian background, no egalitarian traditions? As the member for Makin said, Australia is changing. Too damned right it’s changing. You read quotations in the history books, the description of Australia in the 1950s, and you would be proud to be an Australian. Those characteristics were true, those books and their images were true, and we could be very proud of what we had achieved in this country.
If you are bringing in people that are totally different, we are going to have a totally different country. I don’t want it to be different. I’m pretty proud of the way it is, and I’m pretty happy with the way it is. I don’t want it to change. Heaven only knows that my electorate is an amalgam of ethnic minority groups—the Afghan cameleers were very significant; many of my friends are their descendants—but those migrant groups that came to Australia came here to be Australians. They fought with their fists to become Australians, and they were accepted as proud Australians. The people coming here today don’t come here to become Australians—no, no, no. They think we should become them, not the other way around.
So I think the government deserves praise here. I sat in a CFMEU dinner, and that very great Australian, Michael O’Connor, made a comment to the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, about that union, the most powerful representative of working people in this country. I have mentioned on many occasions that I’m proudly a member of the CFMEU and have been a supporter for most of my life. He said, ‘This union will no longer brook the bringing of section 457 visa workers to this country. Do you understand what I am saying clearly, Madam Prime Minister?’ We sat down to dinner and there it was on the menu, the dish in front of us. It said, ‘No more section 457s’. They are undermining our pay and conditions and taking our jobs on a massive scale. To the shame of the Labor Party in this place, they were the people that introduced them. In fact the Liberals introduced them, but they were bringing 30,000 in. The Labor Party kicked that up to 150,000. It was quite right that the biggest representative of employees in the country was taking a strong stance. That’s why so many people are trying to join that union now and amalgamate with it.
In conclusion, what if the developmental policies of the tiny little party that I belong to were being implemented in this country? I can simply mention that if you build a railway line into the Galilee coalfields you will create 40,000 jobs. We’ve reached a stage in this country where we don’t refer to the Galilee; we refer to Adani. Therein lies the problem—development depends upon foreign capital and foreign ownership. It didn’t in my day. Under the much-maligned Bjelke-Petersen government we owned all the railways, proudly; we owned all the electricity, proudly; and the people of Queensland owned all the ports, proudly. I might add that, to the shame of the Labor Party, most of the sales were under the Labor Party in Queensland, not the Liberal Party. I’m sure, if the Liberals had been there, they’d have been selling Grandmother’s false teeth. But they weren’t, so it was the Labor Party who sold the assets.
All you’ve got to do is to build a government-owned railway line into the Galilee. There are 26 tenement holders there, and all of them would like to open up their mines. Well, they sure aren’t going to open them up with the noose around their neck—with one corporation owning the railway line. In actual fact, that railway line will not open up the Galilee, it will close it down—the same as the decision by the Liberal government in Western Australia, to quote Twiggy Forrest, closed down iron ore expansion in Western Australia for 25 years. The government wouldn’t build a railway line. Successive Labor governments in Queensland, proudly Labor governments, built the railway lines, and then they were doubled and quadrupled by the incoming Country Party government, of which I proudly was a part.
We can provide for you 40,000 jobs there, immediately. We can build the STaDSS scheme on the Herbert River and the Hell’s Gate scheme on the Burdekin River for you and provide you with another 40,000 jobs. So 100,000 jobs you can create with the flick of your fingers. The two latter projects will supply 10 per cent of Australia’s petrol needs and four per cent of our electricity requirements—all super-clean energy, with no CO2 emissions whatsoever. And that can be done tomorrow, if the two major parties in this place—although they’re ceasing to be major parties—realise, for one moment, that they can do what their forebears did and borrow the money to invest in development and not in self-indulgence, building massive freeways around cities and tunnels in cities. As the great economist John Quiggin said, one thing that can be said about Queensland governments is that they most certainly have tunnel vision. Brisbane is the most tunnelled city in the world. Next year, it will have 30 kilometres of tunnels. Sydney, with five times their population, has only got 14 kilometres of tunnels.
You might say that’s a good thing. Yes, it is, except that the state is being bankrupted, and they’re tripling electricity charges to get the money to pay for all this self-indulgence, instead of investing the money in projects like Galilee. Invest in the Galilee coalfields—half Australia’s coal—and those two giant water projects and you’ll get your money back. You’ll get $3 billion or $4 billion back every year through payroll tax, through income tax and through mineral royalties. That’s why the Queensland government was easily the most successful government in Australian history. We must pay great tribute not just to the politicians but to the great public servants who were responsible for that—I refer particularly to Sir Leo Hielscher.
If you undertake these projects, you can afford to bring migrants into this country. But, would you please bring in migrants who want to become Australians, who do not want us to become something different. I venture to suggest that, if you go to the CBD areas of Sydney or Melbourne, you will see people who look forward to an Australia that is not Australia but is their country with all the values and systems that they have and, in the main, no democracy, no rule of law, no Judeo-Christian philosophy—love your fellow man, sacrifice yourself for your fellow man, build good things, do good to your fellow man. They are different entirely to that: get ahead, beat the other bloke, be out in front, own everything.
What I’m saying here is that we were able to bring people in who wanted to become Australians, no matter where they came from in the past. We are bringing in numbers now that we can’t possibly afford with a no-development government. They say there’s no money for development. Twenty-five billion dollars a year has been taken out of superannuation— (Time expired)
Chamber House of Representatives on 14/08/2017 Item BILLS – Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 – Second Reading Speaker: Katter, Bob, MP Parliment Transcript used for Reporting News to the Australian People.