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Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Page: 2102


Senator HANSON (Queensland) (13:00): I rise to support the Water Legislation Amendment (Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment) Bill 2016, which, in the words of the minister, amends the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to allow basin states to notify a second package of sustainable diversion limit adjustment measures.

Let me get straight to the point. If this means that our farmers get more water, One Nation unhesitatingly supports this bill. However, the fact that parliament needs to legislate to allow farmers to draw the water that they need to feed Australia out of the rivers raises the greater concern: just what has happened to water management in this country? The Labor-inspired Murray-Darling Plan is just the latest example of big government telling ordinary Australians what they can do on something as basic as water use. It is contrary to both the spirit and intent of our Australian Constitution and the Australian way of life. The relevant parts of the Constitution are section 99, titled 'Commonwealth not to give preference', and section 100, which states in no uncertain terms:

The Commonwealth shall not, by any law or regulation of trade or commerce, abridge the right of a State or of the residents therein to the reasonable use of the waters of rivers for conservation or irrigation.

What emerged in section 100 was in effect a bill of rights for our farmers and for the residents of the towns along the Murray-Darling. It was never intended under the Constitution that the Commonwealth receive, and the Commonwealth did not receive, any other power—in particular any power over conservation and irrigation. Basically, politicians, including the Nationals, have given away these rights, which should belong to the people.

This is Canberra acting as a puppet of the United Nations and its various instruments, including Agenda 21. Under Agenda 21, section 18 states what they want to do with the Earth Summit that was brought in in 1992, which we became a signatory to with 176 other countries around the world. It was put out to people around the world to look at the privatisation of water. Under chapter 18 of that, the document that I read years ago stated that if you put a dam on your property of a certain size you will only capture about 10 percent of the water into that dam, and for anything else you would actually have to let it flow to the rivers or creeks. If not, you would be taxed on it. It was put in there to actually make sure that water would be privatised around the world. It would become a commodity. Therefore, our right to water would be taken away from us and put into the hands of international interests—those who were to make a lot of money out of it.

Then, I have to say, Agenda 21 has not been in our best interest. If you do not believe me, then go out onto the farms and into the rural areas of the nation, talk to the locals in the pubs and the townships of our country and realise that what I am saying touches the heartstrings across Australia.

Once again, big government is using a big stick to favour extreme environmental claims over the needs of working farms. The left-wing obsession with so-called sustainable development finds expression in Agenda 21's prosperity-denying principles. These, among other things, seek to deny the right of democratic nations to control and regulate their own water to maximise their food production and growth. What we are seeing happening in one state, in South Australia—Senator Xenophon was just here—is that now the state government wants to impose low-flow bypasses on farms and properties there, which is going to deny them the right to use water on their farms and properties—the right to have that water so they can grow their crops. Dams are being stopped from being put in. All I can see across Australia is the controlling of our water.

I also have a grave concern: why did the Howard government, in 2004, separate water from land, allowing people to come in here, buy up the water rights and deny the farming sector the right to that water? It is our right to that water. No government owns it. No-one owns it. Foreign interests should not own this. This is water for the people.

At times I have said that, if we are going to charge the man on the land for the water that is in his dams or deny him the right to expand his farms and to carry the water that will see him through in times of drought, the next thing that will be imposed on the people of Australia is that we will be taxed on the water that we catch in our water tanks. This may start in the farming sector around our country, but eventually every Australian will feel the effects of this if they have a water tank. Over the years, since the time I was a young child, I have seen the rising costs of water in this country. That should never be happening.

What I am proposing is that governments have not looked after the water issues in this country. We have failed to put in enough dams to service the needs of the people. We have not provided that. We are actually shutting it down. We have to be smart. We keep increasing the population in this country, and we are not putting in the infrastructure to cater for this. That is why we must look after putting in more dams and allowing the farmers to have the water they need. We would not need this legislation so the farmers could come cap in hand saying, 'We can have a few more beggarly litres of water.' It should not be happening that way.

The farmers are the people of this land. They are the environmentalists. They are not going to destroy their livelihoods. They have come through generations of looking after the environment, and they are not going to destroy something. Unless we stand by them and protect them with water and with land, we are not going to have the farming sector in this country anymore. I see it constantly shut down. We are now bringing in imports of food, but what I can say is that I hear too often that the food imports are not up to the standard that we impose on our own farmers here. They have to come up to standards that we do not even put on the imports that come into Australia.

I will go back to the whole thing. In conclusion, Australia's national sovereignty is being undermined by the thousands of excessive UN treaties which promote green tape and are death to the best interests of Australia. If all the rivers and creeks that run across this land become subject to the laws of the UN, how long will it be before the rain collected in the tanks on the properties of our farmers will also become subject to Agenda 21 regulation and tax? How long before the UN dictates that we must pay a tax for the privilege of sunlight? Australia is its own country with its own Constitution and should not be dictated to by unrepresentative foreign organisations with agendas that are opposed to our best interests.

I support this bill because I think it is a start, but we have a long way to go. I will call on this parliament and our governments: please support the farming sector. They are struggling. I have just been out there. I have been through on two hay runs to take much-needed hay to farmers. We are not doing enough to support them. If we encourage them to put dams on their properties, they can drought-proof themselves to feed their stock and irrigate through times of drought. I thank you for your time.