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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 683


Senator LUDLAM (Western AustraliaCo-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (17:01): What an extraordinary display this morning. I want to thank Senator Back, actually. It is good to follow-up after a set of comments like that where he has reminded us of the seething hypocrisy of the Labor Party coming in here and lecturing the coalition.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Wow!

Senator LUDLAM: No, fair is fair. Absolutely, fair is fair.

Senator Ian Macdonald: That's the first time you've ever said that!

Senator LUDLAM: No, it is not. He has reminded us of the seething hypocrisy of the Labor Party coming in here and lecturing the Liberal Party about having done a deal with One Nation when actually they were playing footsie with One Nation until somebody, whether on the west coast or the east coast, told them to cease and desist. But, the fact is, who was in the frame today? The Liberal Party of Western Australia—the desperate Premier Colin Barnett, who has thrown his Nationals colleagues under the bus not for the first time, as Senator Back has said, but probably the most consequential time because this could deliver balance of power in the Western Australian Legislative Council—the upper house—to One Nation.

What did we hear from Senator Sinodinos when he was asked about this yesterday? He said, 'One Nation has evolved since Prime Minister Howard took a principled stand and said that they should be preferenced last.' And Senator Sinodinos said, 'Today, it is a very different beast.' No, Senator Sinodinos, you are. It is not the One Nation party that has evolved—the Liberal Party has devolved. The standing and morals it had have evaporated.

Mr Barnett has, for eight years, led a completely pointless government. The only achievement that they have to point to after eight years is coming out of the greatest commodity boom in the state's history $40 billion in debt. They have nothing to show for it. They are an empty government with no plan for the next four years for Western Australia and so they have cut this slimy deal with One Nation, a splinter party that has generated support across Australia by promoting race hate and white supremacy—the kind of white nationalism that has now reached such dangerous threshold levels in the United States and elsewhere. Premier Barnett is playing with fire in doing this deal. If it was a government worth saving maybe you would sort of understand the fact that they would cut some slimy preference deals, but this is a government not worth saving.

Polling was conducted, and we released this information over the weekend, by Essential asking, 'If the party you were going to vote for in the upper house was swapping preferences with Pauline Hanson's One Nation, would that make you more or less likely to vote for them?' Thirty per cent of Liberal voters said they would be less likely. They will regret this deal. (Time expired)