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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 15


Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (13:30): We return to the chamber to start this sitting year with the world as an absolutely frightening place. We have a truly dangerous person in Donald Trump—with a cabal of religious, racist, warmongering, fascist fanatics gathered around him—who now controls the most powerful political office in the world. Just weeks after taking that office, President Trump has shown he is manifestly unfit to govern. His attacks on the rule of law show that the US is in danger of slipping into a state of early-onset fascism, and there is every chance that we are actually witnessing the early stages of a coup in the United States, where power is usurped—

Senator Dastyari interjecting

Senator McKIM: You should listen to this, Senator Dastyari, because power is being usurped away from the US Constitution, away from the courts and away from the states and concentrated in the hands of the Trump family in the interests of the Trump business empire and its sycophantic hangers-on who are being appointed every day into positions of power and influence in the Oval Office. It is not now an exaggeration to suggest that armed conflict is a realistic possibility during this term of the Australian government. China is pursuing expansionist policies in the South China Sea. It is beyond obvious that Putin wants to go to war and it is equally beyond obvious that Donald Trump, because of the corrupt relationships between his business and the corrupt capitalist oligarchs in Russia, is going to join Putin in escalating this crisis. These are not hypothetical or academic discussions and they are not, as Senator Canavan has laughingly attempted to argue only moments ago, things that Australia should not take an interest in.

It is a matter of historical record that our refusal to question the US alliance can be measured in the deaths of tens of thousands of Australians and in recent times the death of thousands of Australia's service personnel in places like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is the chance for this country, Australia, to act in its national interests and draw a line in the sand.

But I will tell you what: we are not holding our breath over here in the Greens because, unfortunately, there is no chance that the Liberals are going to do that for the simple reason that they are actually political fellow travellers with Mr Trump and the hateful world view that he represents. I ask the Liberals: how can they possibly condemn President Trump for his environmental vandalism when they are basically sitting by and doing nothing to address dangerous climate change? How can they reject his immigration ban and his Islamophobia, when in fact right now, using Australia's money and in Australia's name, we have well over a thousand of the world's most desperate and vulnerable people indefinitely detained in prison camps on Manus Island and Nauru? How can the Liberals honestly condemn Donald Trump's discrimination against LGBTIQ people, while in this country they are still being denied access to the fundamental civil institution of marriage? In fact we have, as usual, political cowardice and the inability to stand up to far-right bullies.

There is no surprise there. Rather than rejecting racism and hate, the Liberal Party is in fact embracing it and putting it in a shiny suit—and none better than the shiny suit worn by Senator Cory Bernardi. I am not going to go into the bitter irony of a proclaimed conservative Christian giving vocal support to someone who brags about sexually assaulting women and grabbing women by the pussy. But it is worth pointing out that the Liberal Party sent him to the US last year and ended up radicalising him even further. To put it another way: you guys sent Senator Bernardi to the US on a taxpayer-funded trip and all you got in return was a stupid red hat—that is all you got in return. Well, we intend to make the Liberal Party wear that hat every single day like a crown of thorns until the Liberal Party has the courage to stand— (Time expired)