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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 646


Senator DASTYARI (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (15:26): I am going to get in trouble for saying this. My issue is not with One Nation or with Senator Hanson. One thing that Senator Hanson has said is true: this is the same party that it was 20 years ago. They are the same policies and the same views. They have stayed true to what they said 20 years ago as an organisation. My issue is with a Liberal Party that will fundamentally change. Bill Shorten could not have been clearer about this: we will never do a preference deal—have not, will not, shall not and cannot. It is in our platform that we will not.

I quite like Senator Roberts. We disagree on, I think, everything. We have never done a preference deal with them and we will never do a preference deal with them. I cannot believe that it has fallen to me to talk about the great legacy of John Howard when it came to preferencing One Nation.

Senator Brandis: Tell us about Arthur Calwell.

Senator DASTYARI: I know that the Leader of the Government in the Senate has had some choice words in the past about the former Prime Minister. But on this issue the former Prime Minister was incredibly strong. Yes, it took Prime Minister Howard a while to come around, but when he did in 2001 he said, 'My view on one nation preferences is very clear. They should be placed last on every Liberal Party how-to-vote around the country.' He even went on to say, 'Flirting with One Nation will damage the Liberals.' But it is this notion that these extremist views are acceptable, that they are mainstream.

My issue is not with them. They are entitled to those views, and they have been strong and consistent. What has changed? The only thing that has changed is that you have become desperate. The only thing that has changed is that you need them in this chamber. It's funny how none of the National Party senators are here defending it. The National Party in Western Australia has most definitely been thrown under a bus. National Party in Western Australia was the long-term coalition partner with the Liberals. We heard what Barnaby Joyce had to say this morning about all of this—they certainly were not the nicest of words. But to do that based on no principle! How is it okay that, 'We are being swamped by Asians,' has now been replaced by, 'We are being swamped by Muslims'? How does that make it acceptable? How does that make it okay? How does a party policy platform that has been consistent for 20 years and holds views that are abhorrent make it okay?

There was this notion that was being projected by Senator Sinodinos on the weekend, which I found despicable—the idea that it is because they have changed They have not changed. They will tell you they have not changed. They are the same party they have always been. And that is why since 1996, on every single how-to-vote, the Labor Party has seen to it that the One Nation party is placed with the other fringe bottom dwellers at the bottom of our how-to-vote ticket—every single one. We have been clear with them and they have been clear with us, because the ideological divide could not be greater. I respect them as individuals. I quite like some of them as individuals, but that does not mean that our policy agenda, their views and my views are alike.

Senator Brandis, I actually think you have had quite a respectable tenure, but if this is a Liberal Party that will go that far, to that extreme, I think you are going to look back on this period and it is not going to be a period of pride for the Liberal Party, just as in the Labor Party, when we look back on eras like the Calwell era, we look back with a sense of shame. Prior to the Whitlam resurrection, if you will, the Labor Party was founded with White Australia as our founding principle. It is not something we are proud of. We should acknowledge that. I believe this will be looked back on as the Labor Party looks back on that dark chapter of our own history.