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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 841

Senator GEORGIOU (Western Australia) (11:14): I rise to speak and put on the record that, as Senator Hanson is unwell, I am making the following contribution to the debate on her behalf.

I'd like to welcome the Australian people to the equivalent of a public flogging of an elected member in the Senate. Regardless of how many personal votes Fraser Anning may have received at the 2016 election, let me put on record that he still drew a stronger vote than a number of you sitting in this chamber here today. Just ask Liberal senator for Tasmania Wendy Askew. Senator, you sit here today after receiving zero votes from your Tasmanian constituents. In fact, Senator Askew joins us today as a result of the nepotism that runs deep through the Liberal Party. I've got no doubt your brother will be enjoying his plum job as Australia's consul-general in Chicago. Come to think of it, Fraser Anning polled a stronger number of votes than the Greens senator for New South Wales, Mehreen Faruqi, who received zero votes in the 2016 election from her New South Wales constituents. You, Senator Faruqi, are regarded as a token replacement for Senator Rhiannon. Neither of you received a single vote from the Australian public, but you line up in this chamber hungry for this public flogging of Senator Anning.

Australians were horrified at the murder of 50 people in Christchurch on 15 March this year, and we were horrified to think that these murders were at the hands of an Australian. Many of us thought Australia had witnessed its last mass shooting after the Port Arthur massacre, which resulted in John Howard, rightfully, introducing a ban on semiautomatic weapons throughout this country in 1996. But here we are, 23 years later, having to witness 50 innocent lives being taken at the hands of a crazed lone gunman. Hate, extremism and violence have no place in our democratic, civilised nations. I use this opportunity to reinstate One Nation's commitment to a peaceful rule of law for all, in accordance with our democratic Constitution and acts of parliament.

But, while Senator Anning's comments following the mass killings in New Zealand were untimely and, therefore, deemed highly insensitive, he still maintains a right to his opinion. If One Nation endorses your actions to censure Senator Anning today, our freedom of speech, as elected members of this chamber, will be removed. Who will be the next member of parliament stopped from speaking their thoughts or the thoughts of the people they represent? We refuse to be led like sheep in this chamber and, therefore, we will abstain from voting on this censure motion. Our vote will not contribute to the demise of freedom of speech and nor will it endorse the timing or tone of the comments made by Senator Anning. The exploitation of these murders in New Zealand is offensive and each one of you should be ashamed of the manipulation of the events that day to suit your own agenda. The people of Queensland, not us, will judge Senator Anning, at the ballot box.

Since the tragic event in New Zealand on 15 March, 65 additional terrorist attacks have been recorded across the globe. That's 418 people who have died as a result of terrorism over the last 18 days. Is this the future that politicians in this chamber want for the people of Australia? With more than 600,000 people coming into this country every year for work, permanent residency and education purposes, we have left ourselves vulnerable to the same carnage that is on display in other parts of the world. Only days ago, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement that this government would give an extra $570 million in funding to Australia's counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations. This is an admission that Scott Morrison's government has failed to keep terrorists out of Australia. Let's not forget—who opened the floodgates to the influx of these people coming to the country in the first place? The Labor Party. How many radical Islamic hate preachers have been allowed into Australia over the past decade, while we hear complete silence from Labor and the Greens on the vile language that spews out of their mouths while they indoctrinate and radicalise vulnerable Australians? You create a political witch-hunt when anyone dares question the immigration policy of this nation. The slightest whiff of protectionism in this country by the elites in this chamber sends you into a psychological frenzy.

Governments and elected members have three primary objectives: adhere to the Constitution, manage the economic stability and rule of law in our country and, lastly, stop telling people how to run their lives and businesses. Instead of getting on with the crafting of a robust economic narrative for Australia by drought-proofing our nation with visionary projects like the hybrid version of the Bradfield scheme or establishing ways to bring back manufacturing or cutting power prices with the construction of new coal-fired power plants, they're all here beating their chests. We've treated the people of this country with the same disdain and unworthiness that is thrust upon me and others who dare speak up—the forgotten voices of the nation.

The Australian people have been treated like mushrooms—fed complete BS and been kept in the dark. That is where One Nation steps in. We see the anguish, hurt and pain on the faces of ordinary Australians. We take the time to listen to their troubles and what they have to say. The people of Australia watch you sell your souls and this country out so you can hold your seats in this chamber. What do you say to the generational farmers who have been forced off the land due to the pittance they are being paid for their produce and lack of water which governments have failed to provide? Your actions speak louder than words because you continue flogging our prime agricultural land off to the highest bidder overseas. It's not foreign investment; it's called foreign takeover. What do you say to the homeless who once had no visible presence in our streets? Today more than 100,000 Australians are homeless, yet you bellow from the rafters when we dare to call to redivert the $4.2 billion in foreign aid into helping our own people. You've left the support of our returned defence personnel to the will of God, instead of assisting them to address the mental and physical scars that our wars have caused them. What do you say to the aged pensioners who are stumbling around in the dark, too afraid to use electricity because they're struggling to make ends meet, not even turning on their air conditioners and heaters because they're too scared? Today's censure motion is nothing but a public flogging, and One Nation won't be part of it.