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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 7271

Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (22:43): Senator Bernardi, I don't agree with your amendment at all, of course. However, you have belled the cat with what is going on here tonight. You've made it absolutely clear what at least part of this deal means for our public broadcasters and what those who are voting with the government tonight are handing the Australian people, and that is a massive whack and attack on the ABC, our public broadcaster. It is just irrational to argue that it's an isolated arrangement between Senator Fifield and the government on one hand and Senator Pauline Hanson and One Nation on the other, totally separate to how other crossbenchers might vote or are voting on this legislation. It is absolutely nonsense and untrue to try to argue that the Nick Xenophon Team voting with the government doesn't facilitate and enable this attack on the ABC. It is the fundamental part of this package getting through. There is a reason that the government and One Nation went out and announced their deal before they had anyone else across the line. It is the fundamental grounding votes that they needed.

To argue that Nick Xenophon and his party are not complicit in this is ludicrous. No-one buys it. Everyone can see what's going on here. At least be up-front with people. In this place, far too often, we have debates around issues where people speak with conviction and they speak passionately, and far too often we get accused by the public of not being up-front. Here is an opportunity to show that you can be up-front, stand by your convictions and at least tell the public the truth. The truth is that you're enabling the deal and the attack on the ABC from One Nation by voting with the government tonight on this bill. That is actually what's going on here. It is absolutely what is going on here.

Of course, Senator Bernardi's amendments only go to some parts of this dirty deal with One Nation and the government. The remaining issue which was spoken about by Senator Fifield, in relation to the competitive neutrality review, really is the kick in the guts coming down the line to ABC and SBS. We all know what this is about. This is about restricting the public broadcaster from being able to do a good job in delivering online services to the Australian people, and that's because we have a bunch of commercial broadcasters who don't like the fact that iview and SBS On Demand are so popular. They hate it. They say they can't compete with it. Maybe deliver a better service, and people might watch your demand and streaming services. The idea that you're going to set up a review to hobble the ABC and SBS from being able to deliver services online through ABC iview and SBS On Demand is just terrible. The Australian people are not going to cop this very well. They're going to hate it. So at least be up-front about what you are doing.

The amendments put forward by Senator Bernardi go to some of the rankest and most obvious parts of this deal with One Nation. The competitive neutrality review isn't in his amendments, but that is what is being facilitated by this deal here tonight. I saw, while Senator Wong was speaking about whether One Nation were actually going to have the guts to vote for these amendments seeing that it is what they have begged the government to do, that they came into the chamber and then scuttled off. This is all about a personal vendetta that Pauline Hanson has against the ABC.

The CHAIR: Senator Hanson-Young, I remind you to address senators by their correct names.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: This is all about a personal vendetta that Senator Hanson and One Nation have against the ABC. She said it herself: she was sick of the ABC running stories about her and her party. Well, I'm sorry, but sometimes journalists will write things you don't like when you are a politician. It happens to the best of us. Suck it up, sunshine. But we see this attack being facilitated by Senator Xenophon, and then the Nick Xenophon Team senators are pretending that somehow they can wash their hands of it. No-one buys it. No-one's going to believe it. Be up-front and tell the public the truth.