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Monday, 20 March 2017
Page: 1407


Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (16:38): As a representative of the people of Tasmania and of this planet, I wish to provide some empirical evidence to this Senate; but, before I do, I note that Senator Malcolm Roberts has fled the chamber, despite bringing on this discussion as a matter of urgency, a matter of public opinion. Presumably, he is so embarrassed by his sad and sorry contribution that he has decided to go back into his burrow rather than listen to other contributions to this discussion.

The empirical evidence that I wish to provide is about George Youssef, one of the so-called street preachers mentioned by Senator Roberts in his contribution. George Youssef has been charged by Queensland police. This is what the Queensland police have said about Mr Youssef. They said he was vilifying gay people. He was causing anxiety. He was disrupting the trade of businesses. This was on 4 December last year. Police have also said that he told those who were intoxicated and celebrating the second week of schoolies that they would 'go to hell for being drunk, for being Muslim, for being Buddhist and for having sex outside wedlock'. This is a guy who was standing there abusing schoolies and suggesting that they would go to hell for fornicating outside wedlock. The Australian language is a beautiful thing, and it adapts to grow alongside our community. That adaptation has given us a word for strange adults who lurk around schoolies' events. They are called 'toolies'. This toolie, Mr Youssef, according to police, was abusing young people with xenophobic, wowserish rubbish, and then he defied police when they told him to give it a rest. It sounds like he would fit in perfectly with One Nation. He sounds like a square peg in the square hole that is One Nation. I actually think he would make a fantastic candidate for One Nation in the upcoming Queensland election. In fact, it beggars belief that neither Senator Roberts nor Senator Hanson has approached Mr Youssef and begged him to run, because, as I said, it sounds like he would fit perfectly into the weird, whacky world of Senator Malcolm Roberts and Senator Pauline Hanson. It is absolutely fitting that Senator Roberts has come into this place, the Australian Senate, to defend a toolie who was shouting abuse at innocent passers-by. It is an absolutely neat embodiment of Senator Roberts's contribution to this country and to the political conversation in Australia.

Like Mr Youssef, One Nation is a political clown car. It is colourful. It provides an amazing spectacle, especially as it produces a seemingly endless stream of loud idiots riding in the back seat, while the rest of country is left only to wonder how they could fit so many fools into one small red car. But, as we saw in Western Australia recently, the clown car has caught fire, and what an awful but fantastic spectacle it is to see—One Nation crashing and burning. It is an absolute delight for those of us who care about environmental sustainability and for those of us who care about respect and tolerance for people, no matter what their cultural, racial or religious background is.

I want to put the strange case of Mr Youssef, the so-called street preacher, and the even stranger case of Senator Malcolm Roberts to one side and briefly talk about freedom of religion in this place. It has to be said that many people who appease One Nation and who are currently in the Liberal Party are the biggest threat to freedom of religion in Australia. They purport to stand up for freedom of speech and freedom of religion but, when you peel back the veneer, they are doing anything but that. One Nation wants to end Islamic immigration and basically make it impossible for people in Australia to practise the Islamic religion. Senator Roberts stood up today and called for an increase in racial profiling. One Nation wants to get rid of section 116 of the Australian Constitution, one of the few protections of freedom of religion that we have in this country. For Senator Roberts to come into this place and claim that he is defending freedom of religion when all he is doing, as he always does, is defending freedoms of people who are fruit loops is absolutely hypocritical.

Senator Ludlam: First they came for the fruit loops.

Senator McKIM: As my colleague and friend said: first they came for the fruit loops. We have got news for Senator Roberts. We have got news for Senator Hanson. We have got news for all the people in the Liberal Party and the National Party who want to see a weakening of protections against racial hate speech in this country. The Australian Greens have listened to what multicultural Australia has said to us, what they have told us and what they have asked of us. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with people from the Muslim communities of Australia, the Jewish communities of Australia, the Chinese communities of Australia, the Greek communities of Australia, the Italian communities of Australia, the Indian communities of Australia and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Australia, and we will do as they have asked us to do. They asked us very clearly during the inquiries that the Greens attended and participated in with regard to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act: 'Do not water down protections against racial hate speech in this country, and particularly don't water them down now. When you have a racist in the White House, and when you have an upsurge in support for racist political parties in Western democracies around the world, do not weaken the protections against racial hate speech in Australia.'

We will stand shoulder to shoulder with all of those people—those Australians who asked us to stay strong—no matter what their cultural background. We will stay strong on section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. We will stay strong against racist political parties like One Nation. We will stay strong against allowing people to be hectored and vilified, no matter the basis for it. George Youseff was vilifying gay people, Muslims and Buddhists, and telling schoolies they are 'going to go to hell' simply for being drunk and having sex outside of wedlock.

It is very instructive that Senator Roberts is in here today defending that person, George Youseff, and, in effect, endorsing his comments. I reckon Senator Roberts ought to have a drink every now and again, chill out, loosen up, get with the program and understand the views of ordinary Australians, whom he claims to represent, but he has epically failed to do so since he was elected to this place.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Gallacher ): Order! The time for the discussion has expired.