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Monday, 31 August 2020
Page: 5935


Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (11:46): Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a statement in relation to a motion that was withdrawn from the Federation Chamber today.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Llew O'Brien ): I will allow the member for Kennedy to make a brief statement on indulgence.

Mr KATTER: Universities should be, and have been, nurseries of ideas and gardens of freedom. The current administrations of many of our universities in Australia have turned them into 'pits of pigs' and their snouts are well and truly in the trough. The most highly respected and most senior academic figure in Australian universities informed me some years ago that the universities have become visa shops. But they have now gone from selling visas to selling their souls. The universities in Australia have existed for 150 years. They did not need overseas students. If you want to get into Australia, just sign up for a hospitality course at the University. You'll be in like Flynn and they'll never get you out. I don't have time to go down that pathway now.

The University of Queensland admit that 20 per cent of their income comes from China. When I say 'China', I don't mean the Chinese people; I mean, of course, the totalitarian communist dictatorship government of China. If the University of Queensland says it's 20 per cent, you can bet it's 30 per cent. Seventy per cent of their income comes by way of the Australian people—and that's locked in, they know they've got that 70 per cent. But, in their greed, they want to go after more money. They don't need the extra money; they need it to line their pockets and to be more influential and powerful; they need it to greedily get another 30 per cent. To do that, they've got to toady to a totalitarian dictatorship—the Chinese Communist government, to be specific.

I don't make claims in this place without backing them up. 60 Minutes reported—13 months after the event, I might add—that Drew Pavlou and his friends, 'the 12 disciples' as I call them, have friends from China and they know the horrible things that are happening there. They can't speak about that, because these people would be punished. So they decided to have a little demonstration. That's all you can do. As Tim Bergen said, to change the world we must take a great problem, a small proportion of it, and hold on to your own pain and punishment.

So they had this little demonstration, and it was a demonstration for freedom. What it ended up being was a clear demonstration that there's no freedom of speech in the universities of Australia. JCU and the infamous Ridd case—that is far from over—indicate there's no freedom of speech in Australia. In the case of Theophanous v Fairfax newspapers the High Court held unanimously that freedom of speech is essential, is implicit in our Constitution and is essential for the proper working of a democracy. So we announced in the second 60 Minutes that we were going to move.

The second issue here is the Queensland police did nothing. They had, on camera, people being brutally bashed and assaulted by people—there is facial recognition; clearly Chinese thugs. I mean Drew Pavlou himself, if you watch, was very lucky he didn't get a skull fracture from whiplash from the force he was pushed off his feet and the brutality of the attack. The Queensland police did nothing, and this inquiry will find out whether the Queensland government was involved in telling the police not to do anything or whether it was a police decision.

Since five days after I announced there was going to be an inquiry, one way or another, there was going to be an inquiry. Five days after the second 60 Minutes, the police suddenly moved. Having experienced the field of politics, I would say they're not going to take the fall. Let the Queensland government and Madam Palaszczuk take the fall. They are not going to take the fall. So they've acted. They've got themselves off the hook.

Now there was action taken—there was no action taken by the Queensland government and the police but there was action taken. It was taken by the university. It was not to protect freedom of speech, not to protect some brave young people who are driven by idealism. It attacked those people. It picked out Drew Pavlou, tossed him out of the university, cut off his career, took him off the senate where he was elected by the student body—the hide of them overruling the body that pays their wages and by law. They kicked him off. The terrible oppression that was meted out on this young man to be singled out and the brutality by a bunch of bullies with their snouts in the trough has be addressed and they have to be punished. They cannot be allowed to get away with this.

In conclusion, I want to name the 12 disciples as I call them: Drew Pavlou. Christopher Stewart, Wilson Gavin, Dylan Lyons, Jack Conkey, Tim Tyrell, Isabel Haqqani, Matt Kurl, Marcus Harrington, Kam, Tenzin Doring, Badiucao and all my brave Uighur, Tibetan and Chinese dissident friends and the countless heroes who make up the Hong Kong International Alliance in Brisbane.

The links with the People's Liberation Army, the PLA; the Chinese consulate in Brisbane; and the Confucius Institute must be exposed. The degree to which the communist government—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank the member for Kennedy. The brief indulgence has certainly expired.

Mr KATTER: I have one sentence more, if I could, please, just one sentence. I crave your indulgence. We achieved what we set out to achieve, and the committee should be inquiring into it. I've got to say to the government with their wide-ranging inquiry Winston Churchill's famous phrase: if you're not going to do it, then you have a wide-ranging inquiry, and the wider the less likely it is to target anything. I conclude on that note, and I thank very much the parliament.