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Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Page: 1086


Senator ROBERTS (Queensland) (12:36): I rise to speak, as a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, on the Farm Household Support Amendment Bill 2019. This bill, commendably, formalises arrangements that have already been in place for a year, and extends and broadens other arrangements, so we commend the government for this at this time of need in the bush.

We'd like to make some comments. We have some reservations, and, on that matter, Senator Hanson and I will be writing to the minister, as I've told the minister. Firstly, the value of the farm assets will depend, of course, upon the location of the farm. So that's one thing that needs to be considered—a patch of dirt in one area is more valuable than in another area. Secondly, we want the minister to consider, in making regulations, the broadening of the exclusions to remove some of the vital assets and, particularly, to make sure the water licences and water entitlements are not counted in those assets, because those assets—the water entitlements and licences—can fluctuate enormously in price.

We recognise the details in the bill, and we commend the minister for that. There's been a lot of thought that's gone into this and an understanding of farming. We recognise that farmers are asset rich and cash poor, and that goes to the heart of this bill. However, farmers don't like welfare, and farmers are proud and honest people. What we would rather see, in addition to this, is that government fixes its policies so that farmers don't need welfare. We agree with Senator Davey that the government cannot make it rain and the government cannot make crops grow on dry dirt, but welfare wouldn't be necessary if the government stopped locking up land by stealing farmers' property rights without compensation, stopped the high power prices and excessive regulation, and stopped the high water prices.

The bush is inherently a great place for living and for raising families—for example, ask people right across Queensland, New South Wales and, I'm sure, the other states. But with regional centres being such wonderful communities, we may wonder why the regions are declining. The answer is easy: as I said last night, livelihoods in the rural areas are being gutted. Their productive capacity is being gutted, and what's doing that is Labor and Liberal policies for the last few decades at state and federal level. That economic mismanagement is occurring in several forms.

There are the high electricity prices, artificially inflated by the policies pushed by the Greens, the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. We have a drought, and yet farmers are not planting fodder crops because of electricity prices being so high that it precludes pumping of water. We have water policies that are destroying the productive capacity of the land. We have capricious federal government policies under both the Labor and Liberal parties. We have the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. We have the live cattle export ban under the Labor party. Property rights are being stolen. That was initiated by the Howard government in agreement with the Borbidge National Party government in Queensland, followed by the Beattie government, the Bligh government and the Palaszczuk-Trad government, and, of course, paralleled by Bob Carr's government in New South Wales—all pushing the UN's policies that stole farmers' property rights.

Also I want to make note of a comment from farmer Dan McDonald near Charleville. He told me quite frankly and bluntly—a wonderful family—that every input to his farm is now regulated, which means that we have a nationalised farming sector, and that is the recipe for disaster longer term. We need farmers to be able to use their initiative, their brains and their practicality and apply that to their resources and assets to make a decent livelihood and living. Farmers like Rick Gurnett have known what I'm about to say for many, many years. He knows, like his neighbour Dan McDonald knows, that they're in this mess as a result of federal agreements with UN treaties, protocols, declarations and agreements, such as the 1975 Lima declaration signed by Gough Whitlam's Labor government in 1975, ratified the following year by Whitlam's archenemy, Malcolm Fraser. In 1992, the UN Rio declaration was signed for 21st century global governance by Paul Keating, the Labor Prime Minister. In 1996, the UN Kyoto protocol was not signed but John Howard publically admitted that he would do everything he could to comply with it, and that included stealing farmers' rights, which I have detailed elsewhere, and which deliberately goes against the constitutional provision for paying compensation to farmers. In 2015, the Abbott and Turnbull government signed the UN Paris agreement, and that was not even an agreement; it was merely a pseudo-arrangement that every nation would do whatever it wanted. And what did we do in this country? We followed the loony Greens' policies and legislated severe restrictions on electricity pricing. We made those cuts to our carbon dioxide output while China, the largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world, said it would consider doing something maybe in 30 years. Meanwhile we're exporting our jobs, our industry, our economy to the Chinese and to others.

Then we also have lunatic policies from the Rudd government, from the Liberal governments, from the Greens. We have carbon farming.

Senator Sterle interjecting

Senator ROBERTS: Ah, I can't forget the Nats. They pushed carbon farming too. That's another leftover Greens' policy. Carbon farming means locking up land and letting the land go feral. Feral animals and noxious weeds take over, and who pays for the cost of that additional management? The neighbouring farmers, and it drives them out of business. So we have a multiplier effect here. Just as Rick Gurnett at Charleville said, just as Marty Bella said in recent months—both echoing what Senator Hanson has said for 23 years—there is an ideological assault on rural Australia due to the UN's Agenda 21. And I've just itemised some of the agreements, protocols, treaties and declarations that have caused that.

Secure property rights are fundamental to freedom yet are destroyed through ignorance, cowardliness and gutlessness. I've had senior ministers in the current government tell me that they understand that John Howard's government stole property rights, but they're not doing anything. So much for today's so-called Liberals! They're ignoring and opposing the classical liberalism of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Frederic Bastiat and many others. These ministers hero John Howard's government but that's the very government that stole farmers' property rights to implement socialist UN policies. Worse still, as I said a minute ago, they did it in a way that deceitfully bypasses the Constitution to avoid paying farmers compensation. It's why we keep calling for restoration or compensation. These are the real issues.

I want to commend the government, though, for this bill and the provisions. Clearly, thought has gone into this bill, and One Nation is pleased to support it and to work with the Liberal and Labor parties to restore our nation's productive capacity.