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Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Page: 2121

Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (18:22): It's quite extraordinary. The member who just sat down is one of the better Labor people in this place, but you can't get away with lying to the public. The hypocrisy of the Labor Party on this issue is towering. The facts are that, when the Liberal government fell in 2011 or 2012, or whenever it was, and the Rudd government came in, there were 33,500 section 457 workers.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Irons ): Order! The member for Kennedy will resume his seat. I call the member for Moreton.

Mr Perrett: I think the member for Kennedy has accused me of lying, and I'd ask him to withdraw that comment.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: If the member for Kennedy has accused the member for Moreton of lying, I would ask him to withdraw that.

Mr KATTER: I withdraw the word 'lying' and replace it with the words 'consciously misleading'.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I asked you to withdraw. Have you withdrawn?

Mr KATTER: Yes, it's withdrawn, but I replace it with 'consciously misleading'. He has to know that his government took the number of section 457 visas from 33,510 up to 125,000. He has to know that. How's that for an exercise in staggering and towering hypocrisy? Quite frankly, the honourable member for Melbourne, on my left here, and I represent different ends of the spectrum, but there are some things that we passionately agree on, like the undermining of workers' pay and conditions, which one would expect from the Liberal Party. But it didn't come from the Liberal Party. It came from the Labor Party. They were the founders and architects of section 457 visas.

No less a person than the Australian president of the CFMEU, the much-maligned CFMEU, is the only prominent person that I know in this country who's had the strength of character to speak up on this issue. He confronted it here in this place, at a dinner in the function centre. We sat down and on each plate were the words: 'This union will brook no further section 457 workers coming into this country'. Then he said it in a way that was just as aggressive and as confrontational as I'm saying it now when he addressed his remarks to the then Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, who was sitting beside him and who went red and pink and purple in the face. There was not a word from any of the media. They ran around talking about some bloke going home with some sheila after the meeting, or something of that nature, or some joke that was off-colour. The issue of the CFMEU confronting the government of Australia in the most confrontational manner went by without a single sentence! And the only two people who spoke up in this place were an honourable colleague of mine, quite appropriately on my left, and me. I am quite appropriately on his right. We were the only two who spoke up about it in this place. Is it any wonder that we both have friendships with the CFMEU?

When you walk into this place, Mr Deputy Speaker, there are two magnificent portraits. One of them is of Charlie McDonald, the first member for Kennedy, who, like me, served 25 years in this place. Every time I go past his portrait, if you watch me, I salute Charlie because six of Charlie's first seven speeches in this place, I am informed, were railing against people bringing the Senegalese, the coolies and the Kanakas into this country to take our jobs off us and to undermine our pay and conditions for which these men had fought. The entire executive of the AWU in Queensland, in 1893 I think it was, was jailed with hard labour for three years for having a work stoppage. In my homeland of Cloncurry, there was a little station property south of us where a song called Waltzing Matildawas composed. It was about a swagman. There were swagmen everywhere, because they were workers who, during the great shearers' strike, were out of work. Three of the shearers were shot dead in that confrontation.

We went through all those trials and tribulations to watch the Labor Party in this place introduce 150,000 workers, taking jobs off hardworking Australians. I'm sick and tired of people telling me that Australians won't work. It's funny, because 15 years ago they were all working. Fifteen years ago there were no people on 457 visas coming into this country. It is funny that they were working then but they're not working now. You have a choice between some bloke who is going to work for you on award wages and someone who has $200 a week taken out of his pay to pay the labour hire company that brought him here, and then of course $70 or $80 of that goes as a kickback to the employer. A lot of employers will house them, they'll provide the accommodation, and there's another $100-a-week kickback. Everybody in this place must know that's going on.

I praised the Prime Minister of Australia fulsomely for saying that the government is going to cut out this 457 work visa business. I praised him fulsomely. More fool me! The hypocrisy and lies in this place never, ever cease. Well, I suppose he did take them down from 137,000 a year under Labor to 87,580. But don't tell me the Liberals have cut it out, because that's just a flagrant lie. It's nothing more than a flagrant lie.

There is a reason why the major parties in this place are doomed. I worked on a polling booth all day in the state elections in Queensland and, in a very strong Labor area, I sent our scrutineer back in three times because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The KAP candidate was on 800, the ALP candidate was on 300 and the Liberal Party was on 100—100!—in a seat that they held some time ago. Up in North Queensland, the KAP are able to get through to the people. We started on the Liberal Party this time, but, believe me, the Labor Party are in our sights right now! It is because of the hypocrisy of these people!

   These people—including the great man Charlie McDonald, the first member for Kennedy—went to jail, were shot dead, did hard labour for three years of their lives, were never to be re-employed, and their families went hungry. The Liberal and Labor parties in here had sold them out, bringing 150,000 people a year into the country to take their jobs off them and undermine their pay and conditions. That's a direct quote, not from me but from the president of the CFMEU addressing the Prime Minister of Australia sitting beside him.

The government have carried on the policies of the Labor Party. In the last year for which we have the figures, they brought 637,941 people to Australia. So, 640,000 people are coming to an economy that is only generating 200,000 jobs. I will repeat that slowly: they are bringing 640,000 people in each year through migration, student visas and section 457 visa to an economy that's only generating 200,000 jobs and has over 200,000 school leavers each year. So, now we have 840,000 people chasing 200,000 jobs. We all know what that is going to do to the wages, pay and conditions in this country.

My family proudly worked like dogs for Charlie McDonald. I'm not going to stand up here and say we were poor people or we were working class, because we weren't. My father's side of the family came to Australia in the 1870s, and within a few years they were very rich, powerful and influential people. Our critics would say, 'The more money in the worker's pocket the more money flows through clothing stores.' So, maybe there was self-interest there. Maybe there was, but I am proud that the record reads that my great-grandad put 3,000 pounds—over a million dollars in terms of today's money—behind the strike fund. At the end of the day, he was a store keeper. Yes, he had a lot of stores—maybe 20 or 30 throughout Queensland—but he was a store keeper in Charters Towers.

He believed that what was happening in Australia could not go on. And here I am today, standing here, 110 years later, fighting exactly the same battles that my forebears were fighting 110 years ago. I love my country. I love Australians. I wrote a very passionate history book. It was published by Murdoch Books, the most distinguished publication people in Australia. Publishing that book was a very great honour. I called us an incredible race of people. Every person who has actually read the book, when they see me, says, 'I just love that book so much.' That is because they are Australians. They love their country. They love the stories of our country and the heroic battles we had to get decent pay and conditions.

When the much maligned Bjelke-Petersen government went down in Queensland—with a stab in the back, in much the same way that they took out Edward Theodore, the great Labor leader and Premier of Queensland—we had the highest wages paid to any working people in the world, by a long way. That was because we believed in development. We were building 300 or 400 kilometre of railway line every single year so that our people could have jobs and opportunities. What has happened? Successive ALP and LNP governments in Queensland haven't built a single kilometre of railway line. When someone decides to build a railway line now they are going to pay a foreigner to own the whole of the Galilee Basin goldfields. That is their approach to development. Of course, the ALP approach to development is no development—'the bludgerigar club'. No development. We will create jobs for the people: we will create public service jobs. No-one's ever told them about cannibalism in the economic field. If ever there were a case of economic cannibalism, it would be that.

We are bringing in 640,000 people a year. Where do they come from? In order, China is first. And this is the ALP. And the LNP, because they go home and tell their people: 'The naughty, bad ALP are bringing all these people who are very foreign to Australia into this country. We are going to do something about it.' You're going to do a lot of things, but you haven't done anything. You haven't done anything. I will tell you where they come from: China, India, the Middle East and North Africa—three groups of people that have either no democracy, no rule of law, no Judaeo-Christian belief system or no egalitarian traditions. That covers all three of those countries or areas.

So you are watching the people in this place, in the zoo, where the foreign corporations hold the key. We're performing puppets in this place for the foreign corporations that hold the key. What are we doing here? We are completely destroying Australia. Within 20 years, the people who are in this place now will be a minority, and we'll be taken over by people who have no traditions of loving your neighbour, doing good to other people or turning the other cheek; no traditions of sitting in the front of a taxi and believing that all people are equal; and no traditions of democracy or the rule of law. They will be a majority in this country. You don't have to be Albert Einstein to be able to multiply 640,000 by 20 years.

There is another little issue. You see, we've had the citizenship issue. The Chinese government has declared all overseas citizens to be citizens of their country. So, if we have 10 or 15 million Chinese in this country who are actually declared citizens of China, through our trade partnerships and agreements and free market—bloody rubbish—they can see you. They set up a corporation here and want to bring all their workers in from China. Under the China free trade agreement, quite frankly, they can.

Let me be very specific. Everyone would have encountered this. I came in at 9.15 one night on an aeroplane into Brisbane. I went to the pharmacy. There were six people working there. None of them spoke fluent English. They were all foreign. I went down to the Red Rooster. I counted 12 people down there. They were all clearly foreign people. I counted two in the after-hours centre. In Bowen and Collinsville, they're putting in foreign solar energy panels. They've all been put in by foreigners. (Time expired)