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Monday, 26 March 2018
Page: 2129


Senator BURSTON (New South Wales) (16:01): I move:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The need to understand why some politicians and professional sportsmen feel the need to cheat.

This particular ball has not been tampered with.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Burston, I remind you of the standing order that there are no props for use in the Senate. So please remove what's in your hand.

Senator BURSTON: I've been no-balled! Anyway, that means I'm still not out! Fair-dinkum Aussies across our land agree that cheating is not on. Our cricket team's cheating in South Africa, involving the leadership team of one of the world's best cricket nations, causes people around the world to question our past success. Shame has been brought on our nation, and shame it is. We Aussies love to play fair. This cheating contradicts our values of having a fair go and being fair dinkum. We devalue ourselves by going down the path of cheating. When something like this happens in a game we love, cricket, it strikes at the heart of what it means to be Australian.

The key to this matter of public interest is the need to understand why some politicians feel the need to cheat. The fact is people only cheat when they don't think they're as good as the other person or team. When teams are competitive, there's no need to cheat. Cheating reveals a lack of belief in oneself. It reveals poor performance and laziness in taking the easy way out. That's not the Aussie way. We pride ourselves on facing up to issues and having a go, truthfully.

Cheating takes many forms, including deliberately misrepresenting facts. That's lying, and Australians detest lies and people being shifty. During the 2016 federal election, at the heart of Labor's campaign was a blatantly false statement about 'Mediscare'—a lie, cheating. During the recent 2017 Queensland election, and often in this federal parliament, Labor politicians and their advertisements falsely claimed that One Nation cut workers' penalty rates. That is blatantly false, and The Queensland Times newspaper independent fact checking during the election confirmed that. In federal parliament in 2017, senators in Pauline Hanson's One Nation voted to restore penalty rates. Further, in this Senate last year, Labor stopped One Nation from moving an amendment to restore penalty rates that had been slyly removed in deals between union bosses, including Mr Shorten, and multinational companies. Those deals stripped hundreds of thousands of workers of hundreds of millions of dollars in penalty rates. This was confirmed by video footage of the Senate. Had Labor supported our amendment, penalty rates would've been restored for all workers. Labor, though, lacked the integrity, fairness and courage to even let our senator move an amendment for a fair vote. Why? It was because it was Mr Shorten as employment and workplace minister under Julia Gillard who gave the Fair Work Commission the power to alter weekend penalty rates. It was because Mr Shorten as a union boss had done those shifty deals. As a former member of the boilermakers union, the AMWU and the teachers federation, I am disgusted with some of the union workers of today and the cheating of workers' basic conditions and cheating behind workers' backs while pretending to protect workers. They are shifty and cheating.

In the 2017 Queensland election, Labor accused Senator Pauline Hanson of wanting to sell public assets. Senator Hanson has throughout her political life been the greatest speaker against selling public assets. Indeed, Anna Bligh's Labor government sold more assets than any other and did so immediately after the 2009 election, following a campaign in which they promised not to sell assets—another Labor lie. They were cheating. Last week, Victorian Labor MPs were caught stealing from taxpayers to cheat in the last Victorian election. Although the Premier said he was not aware of this, Labor MPs have since come out saying he was. Worse, reportedly Premier Daniel Andrews spent around $1 million fighting to stop the ombudsman from revealing the facts of the investigation. Labor cheated, and they worked to stop being caught. In the recent by-election in the New South Wales federal seat of Bennelong, the ACTU was exposed for telling lies about health fees, medicine costs, numbers of doctors and workers, health funding and emergency surgery waiting times.

There's a pattern here of blatantly false statements and cheating. It is systemic and endemic in Labor and its cronies and a handful of dodgy unions, with shifty union bosses. Unlike the leadership of our nation's cricket team, Labor covers up its lies. That is because Labor is scared. Lies are a form of control, and always beneath control there is fear. What is new Labor afraid of? Labor is afraid of One Nation. As Labor has abandoned and betrayed its core voters, its heartland of honest workers and tradies for inner-city political correctness, Labor is vulnerable. People with a moral compass and strong work ethic now come to One Nation. Labor has lost these people and, as most Aussies are decent, law-abiding people who believe in a fair day's pay for an honest day's work, Labor's vote is plummeting.

As evidence of this, let's turn to the Queensland election result. That was so close it took 12 days to announce the result because of the very strong One Nation vote. Yet everyone watching the media coverage of the Queensland state election on polling day could be forgiven for thinking that Labor won in a landslide. Nothing, though, was further from the truth. In seats with One Nation candidates, the party averaged 22 per cent of the vote, or more than one-fifth of the voters. In nearly 40 per cent, or almost half, of the seats One Nation contested, One Nation received enough seats to be one of the two-party-preferred parties ahead of Labor and the LNP. Labor's primary vote fell over two per cent. A major result of the election is that it confirmed One Nation has arrived. One Nation is here to stay, and the previously entrenched parties will have to work with One Nation after the next federal election.

Lastly, journalists are saying that Steve Smith as captain was right to resign. I agree. Journalists are saying he was not alone and that the issue is cultural. I agree. The same is true of new Labor under Mr Shorten. He and his leadership team should resign. That would enable parliament to focus on restoring good governance and sound leadership to our nation that has lost its way under both tired, old parties—one dishonest and the other weak. New Labor under Mr Rudd, Ms Gillard and Mr Shorten is killing itself after adopting former Senator Richardson's mantra of winning at all costs, including cheating. Labor is no longer a grassroots party representing honest workers. Membership is declining as backroom party power brokers preselect MPs in grubby deals. Under Mr Shorten, Australians will lose a lot more than just their penalty rates; Australia will continue to lose integrity of government.

It's common sense: cheating needs to be understood for what it is and for what it does. It reveals weakness and it spreads like cancer. We cannot afford a cheater in the Lodge. One Nation provides a return to reality to get back to basics, bring back Australia and bring back common sense. Australia's insurance against a new Labor government, with Mr Shorten at the helm, is more One Nation senators in the Senate. It is a privilege to be elected to this parliament. As elected representatives, we have a duty to the people of Australia.