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Thursday, 19 June 1997
Page: 5819

Mr CAMPBELL(12.04 p.m.) —I am sorry there seems to have been some slip-up in the speaking order. I thought I would be speaking after Mr Nugent, the member for whatever. It would have been interesting to have followed the three speakers in the member for Sturt (Mr Pyne), the member for Calwell (Dr Theophanous) and the member for whatever—obviously all members of the same party because they are all giving the same sort of claptrap nonsense.

I say to the member for Calwell that I have underestimated him. I said to the Deputy Leader of the Labor Party in the House the other day, `Gareth, in my opinion you have just delivered one of the most sanctimonious fraudulent speeches that I have ever heard.' The deputy leader can take a bow for the member for Calwell. The member for Calwell approached me once when were both on the immigration committee and said, `Listen, we are not that far away. I support quotas for immigration.' That was interesting because I never have. He was quite happy to have quotas, but it seemed that he wanted to have some control over the quotas.

I can tell members of the House that I have travelled the world and there is no country in the world prepared to give people a fair go more than this country. I came to this country as a migrant, and when I went to Tailem Bend there were no migrants and I copped all the chiacking that usually goes on—`Pommies don't wash!', `Pommies keep their coal in the bath!'—and I realised that there was no malice in it.

A fellow came to me recently to review a book. He was a Hungarian—a refugee. He came out here in 1948 as a reffo. His first job was working for the army as a civilian and his boss was an army cook, who apparently liked grog and used to abuse him for his own shortcomings—`You useless reffo this' and `You useless reffo this, why have you done this?'—but this fellow said, `When I realised that I could abuse the boss back I thought, "What a wonderful country this is."' That has been a hallmark of this country and this is what the likes of the member for Calwell and the member for Sturt want to sweep away with the nonsense they are putting forward.

I am very critical of the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill before us. If you look at funding in real terms, you see the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is still getting more than it got in 1989-90, and that is an indictment of this government, for it is quite clear to me that this pontificating group, set up at taxpayers' expense and whose members draw large salaries from taxpayers and seem to think their duty is to continually denigrate us, should be swept away. That would save money to be put into much more useful things. If you gave me $10 million for Aboriginal housing, I could do more for Aboriginal housing than government has ever done.

It seems that there is now a concerted policy of the Liberal Party to attack Pauline Hanson. I suppose she must pose some sort of a threat to them, so they denigrate her at every opportunity. If you go back to Pauline Hanson's first speech in this parliament it was a naive, honest, from-the-heart speech. It is the sort of speech that a politician should make and there should be more of those speeches in this parliament. There was nothing in that speech that warranted the vilification she got.

What you saw across this country was a united effort from the media, Australia's sick academia, politicians from both sides and the churches to destroy this woman, and to destroy her so completely that no-one would ever raise these issues again. The Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Downer) let the cat out of the bag in his speech. In that 2½-hour diatribe of voodoo incantation that passed for debate in this House, he said, `Free speech is all right but you can't let free speech interfere with free trade.' Then, having realised what he had said, he said, `I can't see how anyone could doubt the benefits of free trade.'

I doubt the benefits of free trade. I have always supported bilateral trade and I will support fair trade, but free trade is a nonsense. It has done enormous damage to this country. That is simply irrefutable. If the minister wants to I would be very happy to engage in a debate with him on that issue. But that was it. They were quite happy to keep this argument milling around on the race issue but they did not want it to touch free trade. That is, of course, what is concerning the Liberal Party now. They are locked into this dogma of rational economics—the creation of Paul Keating probably more than anyone else. It is a dangerous dogma. It is not an economic policy; it is extreme ideology and it is nonsense.

The truth is that the Hilmer report is not about competition; it is about oligopoly. Once you get rid of small business, big business will collude. The mistake that all these people make when they go back to Ricardo and Adam Smith is that they forget that these people made it plain that they were talking about competition within national boundaries, not without national boundaries. The whole thesis and doctrine was based on competition within national boundaries.

I get sick of people coming into this House and denigrating Australia, trying to make us look apologetic overseas. We have nothing to apologise for. I remember when I put out a paper called `Immigration and consensus' I was interviewed for the ABC by a prominent journalist who is now the Labor state member for Perth. She was taking the line that criticising immigration was racist. I said to her, `Let me read you a poem', which I will read to the House now:

I have grown past hate and bitterness

I see the world as one

Yet though I can no longer hate

My son is still my son.

All men at God's round table sit

And all men must be fed

But this loaf in my hand

This loaf is my son's bread.

I said to her when I had finished, `What do you think of that?' She said, `That is the most racist thing I have ever heard.' She is now the Labor member for Perth.

That was Dame Mary Gilmore. If you look at her history, I do not think anyone could call her a racist in any shape or form. It was a poem about a family's concern, and that is what we should be about—the family of Australia. I do not care where people come from if they come to this country, provided their commitment is to Australia.

It is a very interesting thing that we heard not a word from any of our ministers, from the member of Calwell or any of those other self-righteous creeps that you get around the place. Let me read you this.

We must accept the fact that the Chinese are not a group that could be assimilated easily.

. . . . . . . . .

Once a Frenchman or German moves to the United States they become Americans, they speak American English, accept American customs as the norm. But not the Chinese.

That is not me. That is Dr Mahathir, the Prime Minister of Malaysia. He goes on with a diatribe against the Chinese—things I do not even believe. There is not a word of criticism of Dr Mahathir, but of course Malaysia maintains a policy of discrimination against the Chinese. That is apparently all right. It goes on:

China itself has fanned the flames of mistrust on its immigrants calling on overseas Chinese to build the country and launch in sometimes strident nationalist propaganda . . .

I have a Chinese friend who is a great Australian nationalist. He speaks to me frequently. He said, `Of those 24,000 students that Bob Hawke let into the country'—you will all remember that flood of tears—`not one was a refugee. They were the sons and daughters of the political and military cadre.' Of course they were, otherwise they would not be here. They have now been joined by a host of relatives. He said to me, `I can tell you that one in five, maybe one in three, is a Chinese government sleeper. I can tell you that there is no commitment to Australia in the whole lot of them. Why do you do this to yourselves? I know these people. They do not change.' Of course, he is right.

I have no problems dealing with China. I have been to China five times. I find the country fascinating. If anybody thinks that China is going to be a great bonanza for us, they are wrong. The Chinese at the end of the day will do it themselves, and good on them. That is what we as a nation should be doing.

That does not mean that we do not trade with them. We take every trading opportunity. That Pauline Hanson is somehow going to affect trade is a nonsense that we are beset with. The only reason people buy from us is that we offer the best product at the best price. That does not mean to say that they will not use the words of the grovelling politicians that you find in this House and who say—

Mr Zammit —I rise on a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Mr CAMPBELL —I wondered how long it would be.

Mr Zammit —If you wondered, why did you raise it? What the honourable member is speaking about has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the bill before the House. I ask you to ask him to return to the bill.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Quick) —I would remind the honourable member for Kalgoorlie that you have been speaking for 10 minutes and you have not raised the bill in any substance or form. I ask you politely to—

Mr CAMPBELL —Mr Deputy Speaker, on that point of order: I have raised the bill. I have mentioned it several times. If you were listening to previous speakers—and I am sure you were—what you heard was a wide-ranging diatribe against Pauline Hanson. That was also nothing to do with the bill. Everything I am saying is as germane as everything that has been said there.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —There is no point of order. I ask you to get back to the substance of the bill.

Mr CAMPBELL —The substance of the bill is this: with regard to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission—this high-sounding, high-blown name—we have set these people up to somehow watch over us. As I said, they are fetching high salaries paid by the Australian taxpayer. They seem to think their job is to continually denigrate us, a denigration which is not justified.

I am saying this again, Mr Deputy Speaker, to refresh your memory because I have already said it once. In my view, this organisation should be swept away entirely, but the government does not have the stomach for that. I hope they will have the courage to do it in small doses and continue to cut its funding so that it is no longer an oppressive threat to Australian sensibilities.

In debating this bill, there has been an implication by many speakers that we are a racist country. I have made it clear in my speech that we are not. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has made several attempts to do this. I remember when Irene Moss wanted to do a paper to show how racist we were. Unfortunately for Irene, even their slanted investigation proved that Australia was probably less racist than most of the migrant groups who came to this country. So she turned it into an attack on Australia and its Aboriginal affairs record. This was at a time when there was an inquiry under way into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

I recall entering one of the committee rooms here by mistake when she was holding forth about the terrible situation in Kalgoorlie. This is the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for you. She was saying how Aboriginals were disproportionately represented in the unemployment statistics for Kalgoorlie. Of course they are. The mining companies will fall over backwards to employ an Aboriginal if he can speak English, he can turn up for shift work and he can turn up clean. That is where they fall down.

There are a lot of Aboriginals in Kalgoorlie. They have two ways of getting a state house: they can go on the Aboriginal housing list or on the normal state housing list which everyone else goes on. They get two bites of the cherry. So there are a lot of Aboriginal people in Kalgoorlie. There are also a lot of Aboriginal people in Kalgoorlie because we have not done the right thing by their communities. They leave the communities and impact on the edge of town by becoming fringe dwellers. There is no mechanism to get them back to their communities. We have set up these communities in areas where there are no employment prospects.

After we kicked out the missions, we have been providing education in the central reserve area for 40 years. In that 40 years, we have not managed to get one Aboriginal to year 12, nor do we look like achieving this. But it is not through lack of money. It would be cheaper to send every child to the most expensive boarding school in Perth. The record is abysmal and the reasons for it are quite obvious. They are not attended to, in my view, because of cowardice.

Recently, an Aboriginal woman said to me, `Our kids aren't getting educated because they're not going to school.' Why doesn't the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission look at this? Obviously, it is important that they get an education. The woman said, `Education is vital to our people but you don't care. If they were white kids, you would make them go to school.' I said to her, `You've got it wrong; we make the white kids go to school because we don't care. We say, "That's the law and you're going to school," but we're so frightened of your culture that we daren't do it with your kids.' She said, `That's crazy, our kids are the ones who want an education.' I said, `You tell your people; don't tell me.'

We have allowed football matches to become cultural events. A football match will take kids out of school for one week in two during the football season. Then we wonder why they cannot get an education out there. Also, a lot of these kids know—they are smart enough to know—that there are no jobs.

I have said repeatedly in the House that it was interesting to hear the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) take up my diagnosis when he said he thought the problems with Aboriginals were hygiene, health, housing, education and training—exactly the things I have been saying. But he left out the one vital factor—employment. If you leave one of those things out of that formula, the wheels fall off everything. You have to attack it across the board. You do not just say, `This year we will look at this' or `This year we will look at that.' Clearly, some work can be done on human rights in this area, but it will never be done by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Much more can be done by having sensitive and sensible policies in government and by politicians actually representing their electorates, not kowtowing to party dogma.

The member for Calwell, in speaking on this bill, talked about limits to freedom of speech. You either have free speech or you do not have free speech. The limits on free speech are not as he put it. There have always been limits on free speech with regard to inciting people to violence. I think there should be those limits; I do not think we should be allowing incitement to violence. Yet we have seen recently in the papers journalists and others inciting people to violence, saying, `You should go along and attack Pauline Hanson.' People have been saying that they expect Pauline Hanson will be shot. That is an incitement to violence, but nothing will be done to these people because they are running what is considered to be a politically correct view.

The member said that this will lead to what happened in Nazi Germany. We have moved well past Nazi Germany. Let us look at the situation in Cambodia; let us look at the situation across Africa; let us look at the situation in what was formerly Yugoslavia where the member for Calwell was taking a partisan position and supporting one side against the other—the Croatians against the Serbs.

If you look at acting analytically, you cannot apportion blame like that because they are all as bad as one another, including the Muslim element. I think the member for Calwell should look very closely at himself—but of course he will not. Petro Georgiou is another person who made his expected contribution to the bill.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —I would ask the honourable member to refer to members by their seats, not their personal names.

Mr McLachlan —The member for Kooyong.

Mr CAMPBELL —I am indebted to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, very indebted indeed—the member for Kooyong. I will not comment on his contribution, as I did not hear it. A couple of people have mentioned it to me. I can fairly well have a guess at what Petro Georgiou said. But then Petro Georgiou is a great architect of the policy of multiculturalism—a policy that the member for Calwell says we should be supporting.

Mr Zammit —Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. I am rather loath to take this point of order, but this is a very complex bill, and I suspect that the honourable member has not read it. The bill is detailed, complex and has absolutely nothing do with multiculturalism. I would suggest that the member, if he wants to make further contribution in this debate, should come back to the bill. If he has not read the bill, then he should stop where he is at and sit down.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —I would remind the honourable member for Lowe that this is a bill for an act to amend the law relating to human rights, so debate has been pretty wide ranging. There is no point of order.

Mr CAMPBELL —The member for Lowe knows that. The member for Lowe, in his petulant little way, is simply trying to stop me. Mr Deputy Speaker, you are quite right: it has been a very wide-ranging debate. I have read the bill. It is not a particularly complex bill at all. And I support the bill as far as it goes. I am saying that the government does not go far enough. It should sweep away the whole human rights circus because, in my view, it does nothing for human rights but a lot for division within the community. I do not have a lot more to say on this bill, except that I believe the Liberal Party will go on cutting this funding—and so they should. (Time expired)