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Monday, 29 October 2012
Page: 12464

Mr SIMPKINS (Cowan) (21:40): I would like to take this opportunity to speak on matters that do challenge our country. I do a lot of door-knocking and I see on the streets of Cowan the evidence of what makes this country a great country. I see in my constituents the determination to succeed through hard work—the work vans parked in the driveways of their homes after hours, the Cowan people who put in the long hours in fly-in fly-out role; and in the businesses, the offices and the shops of the electorate. I see the people who have come to this country or to Western Australia prepared to work to achieve their dreams and not sit around and wait for luck or to believe that someone owes them a living. When I say that, I draw the contrast between those who rightly see their destiny in the palm of their own hand and those who have given up and instead believe that society owes them money or they are entitled to a cut of the success that others are getting through their hard work.

I believe in this nation and its people are at their best where we value the strength and the capacity of the individual—and that is why am a Liberal. Some people say that we are the party of business; we are in fact the party of the individual and personal responsibility. This is the contrast between us and those on the other side, because it is in the DNA of the Labor Party and their allies, the Greens, to stamp out self-reliance and instead create a reliance on government and foster a sense of collectivism. The left wants Big Government in the centre of the economic and social life of this country. The left needs its base, and as many voters as possible, to believe that you do not need to work or to work long hours to share in the success created by others.

Big-spending Labor governments say you do not have to spend weeks away from your family and work in hard conditions but, rather, vote for them and you will get the benefits for no effort. The redistribution of income is a socialist principle and that sense of entitlement that suits Labor and the Greens political degrades the value of the individual and the entrepreneurs who will see no point in risk in endeavour when the returns gets redistributed anyway. The long-term problem then becomes less and less GDP and higher expectations with less wealth.

On the matter of expectations, a common problem for some political organisations is the issue of over-promising and under-delivering. This is primarily a problem for the left side of politics, who are driven by dogma and self-belief. A sense of infallibility, faith and belief amounts effectively to religious fervour. Such is the dogma, they are given to speaking in grand terms. They roll out lines that are designed to inspire and win votes, of course—which is the main objective—because at the heart of their true belief is power. They espouse symbolism and allude to heroism to inspire and generate political momentum.

An example or a lofty term is the 'Education Revolution'—meant to inspire and create support. The trouble is that, through such grand terms, they built very high expectations, and they of course had that objective of eliciting political support, which is part of the objective. The trouble is that, while short-term political gains can be achieved, such as great photo opportunities in front of buildings, the high expectations cannot be easily met. The reason those high expectations cannot be met is that, when each individual thinks on these grand promises, the terms are not clearly defined and therefore mean something different to each person, effectively creating the belief in each individual that the entire society should be working towards that individual's interpretation of the grand statement. Again, this is very much the preserve of the left, where entire political systems such as communism and socialism present illusory perspectives, interpreted differently by the citizens but ultimately not sustainable because they are refusing to value the potential of the individual. In the end such systems' primary objective was always to entrench ruling elites, and they failed because of the ever-reducing national wealth that collectivism inevitably produces when the individual is stifled.

On the influence of religion on politics, it is the Western civilisation's left that derides the influence that the Christian religion has on the right of politics. None do so more than the Prime Minister, Labor and the Greens, alleging the beliefs of Tony Abbott to be negative but doing so for political purposes. They say that the influence is dominating and all-encompassing. That is hypocritical, because on the left they have a belief in their causes, and that belief is, in many ways, fervent and completely dogmatic. They do not understand why everyone does not believe exactly as they do. The left's fundamental belief and absolute faith in their causes in every way amounts to the strong passion of a fundamentalist religion, so great is their fervour and their belief in themselves and their causes. Perhaps it is in the word 'belief', in the left's dogmatic certainty in their views, that they therefore see a threat from the old religions to their new religion. The difference is: the influence of Christianity on the Western right of politics is from outside the party political process. The left, in their fervent beliefs, are very much centred on the inside of the political process. It is not, therefore, possible to separate the left's church and state. And, as I said, it suffers from the collectivist belief that has always failed beyond the short-term political advantages.

Beyond Australia, when we look around the world, where there are non-Western nations where religion is firmly entrenched at the heart of the political process, or nations that mention religion as part of their official name or where the major political party is of a clearly religious nature, then in such countries the rhetoric is about belief, the process is about collectivism and the reality is about the entrenchment of a small ruling elite while the people do not enjoy the rewards of their hard work. In such places, the rights of the individual and, most importantly, the encouragement of the individual, are disregarded in the pursuit of what is alluded to, and the political rhetoric is of a religious paradise on earth.

In the West, the leftist parties may not be formally embracing a defined religion, but their beliefs are at least as strong, and so they, too, pursue grand ideals and a form of paradise on earth. One such example is the other side's 'light on the hill' concept, where paradise on earth, or the delivery of a utopian egalitarian society, is coming, after everyone works for the belief in the government and the belief that the government will then be able to deliver that paradise. So, after 100 years, the light is not much closer.

Similarly the Greens, the fringe extreme leftists, and so much of the Labor Party have the saving of the world from human-induced climate change as a messianic belief with all the religious fervour of the Spanish Inquisition. As I said before, there is a dogmatic nature to their beliefs and faith in their causes that afflicts those on the left. In every way, the beliefs and faith in those causes amounts to what can only be described as religious zealotry. Such is the feeling that I await the calls for heretics to be burnt at the stake—although, in a political sense, the Labor government has certainly sought to do so with their attempts to crush any form of dissent on human-induced climate change.

I have been critical so far of the left, but I would like to speak also of their successes. The left is good at getting their message repeated by an overwhelmingly left-leaning media. Many of the messages are about undermining the ability of opponents to express opposition to them. An example is that if an opponent is concerned about illegal boat arrivals, any comments are derided by the left as racism. Therefore, any question on that issue means that the critic must be a racist. If one tries to speak about the record of the Prime Minister with regard to policy consistency and reliability then the left defines such criticism as being sexist or misogynistic. If one tries to question the theory of human-induced global warming then that person is called a denier, implying a link to being a Holocaust denier, or a sceptic, which implies a lack of credibility. It is a sad indictment when the political success of the left in a democratic society is about how speech and views can be restricted.

In spite of the attempts by the left to suppress criticism of itself, it is true to say that we still live in a democracy—and the very best of democracies, it being a Western liberal democracy with a robust, multiparty system. Our system is strong and based on the Westminster traditions. It is something that we can be proud of, and we should acknowledge it as the best in the world.

What concerns me is that, just six months ago, a survey by the Lowy Institute found that 60 per cent of Australians believed democracy was a form of government preferable to any other. Sadly, for those between 18 and 29 years old that figure dropped to just 39 per cent. Why, then, is it that 61 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds are not prepared to willingly endorse democracy over communism, theocracy, et cetera? Perhaps some of those who also called the war in Afghanistan such a terrible crime would still want the Taliban to be running Afghanistan and for girls not to be allowed to attend schools.

The lack of categorical support for democracy smacks of a 'take it for granted' attitude. It is false to believe that the freedoms we have here in Australia are assured. They have come entirely as a result of democracy and the traditions of Western civilisation, which is the foundation upon which they are built and continue to exist. And we should never forget that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

In all the things I have spoken about, the central point is that the success of this nation as the best in the world is based entirely upon the value of the individual and the participation of individuals in the Western democratic model of democracy that we have. The value of the individual and the democratic participation of individuals are not guaranteed when they are not valued by the government or by too high a proportion of citizens who think that freedom is cheap and easily maintained.