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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 997

Senator HANSON (Queensland) (15:28): It is amazing that Senator Brown has made comments about One Nation supporting this bill. I do not think I have actually put it out there that I am supporting the bill, so it is speculation again.

Let's get this right: we are hitting $500 billion in debt. For years we have seen both sides—mainly Labor—buying votes. 'Let's just hand out more and more money and buy votes.' I remember when John Howard's government came in they handed over, I think, around $22 billion in surplus after they took on a $96 billion debt from the Labor Party. So the government got it right and they had a surplus there when they handed over to the Labor government. Ever since then there was Kevin Rudd—didn't we love the over $900 he handed out to every Australian? That was really wonderful. A great move. I think it was $75 million that went overseas to people living overseas. The money was never spent here in the country.

Senator Brown talked about the Newstart allowance. A person that finishes school has to wait for five weeks to get Newstart allowance. If they finish school in November then they say, 'I can get the dole.' They go in and they get the dole. They get the dole all over Christmas. Why go and work? They are getting a handout. There is no incentive to go and work. There is no incentive to apply for a job. Then comes February, when it is time to start back at school, and they say, 'Oh no, I'm going back to school now, so the government won't have to pay me any more money.' It is not the taxpayers' responsibility. It is encouraging these kids to say they should get out and look for work, especially at a time of year when we have tourism and over the Christmas period.

Jobs—she talked about the Newstart allowance. What I can pick up out of this program—the omnibus—is the incentive from the government to give youth a chance to work. They are offering them $200 extra a week on top of their Newstart allowance—$200 a week extra if they want to go and work. The employer who takes them on in long-term employment are going to get between $6,500 and $10,000. What they are doing is encouraging our youth, who sit around and do nothing. They are tied up in drugs, tied up in gangs and out in the streets, causing problems. There is an incentive that you really should get out and work.

Let us talk about the pensioners overseas and about how we are cutting the pensions. Why should the Australian taxpayer be paying someone who wants to go overseas for more than 26 weeks at a time or up to 26 weeks at a time? Their pension is sent to them. Their families get the money here in Australia. I am told all the time that much of that money is going out through the post offices. The amount of money that is leaving Australia to go to overseas for these people to get their pensions is not staying here in Australia. It is not creating jobs. It is not creating wealth here in Australia.

These people come here to Australia as migrants. They are not here for a lengthy period of time. Then they get on the pension. They say, 'I want to go back and live in my country of origin,' and we are supporting that. I think it is reasonable to say that if they want to leave Australia for more than six weeks at a time then they have to answer the taxpayer about why they should get their pensions. This is reasonable. If you have been a taxpayer in Australia for 35 years or more, that is fine. Then it goes on a pro rata basis. That is being responsible, and we are being accountable to the taxpayer.

I have put up other options to the government such as my apprenticeship scheme. I am saying that, if we pay for an apprenticeship scheme of 75 per cent of the first year's wage, 50 per cent of the second year's wage and 25 per cent of the third year's wage, that would be a great scheme.

If you talk about child support—these child agencies—where is your accountability? What did the Labor Party do about it? A couple of guys in New South Wales ripped off $27 million. Another one here in Canberra ripped off $1.2 million. Where is your accountability to the taxpayer? If we do not start reining in this debt and stopping this handout welfare mentality, there is not going to be enough money to look after the pensioners, the aged, the sick and the hospitals. That is what we need. So stop buying votes and get responsible, because the people are depending on us.