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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 87


Senator HANSON (Queensland) (17:46): It has been quite interesting to listen to the debate about these free trade agreements. Let me make it quite clear. One Nation is not against trade by any means. Trade has been going on for many years across the world and has helped countries to get produce, appliances—whatever it may be—from other countries. But Australia was once a thriving country of industry and manufacturing. We produced so much here, yet much of this has closed down due to free trade agreements. Let me name some. There were the cars. We don't have a car industry here anymore. That has closed down. Even the canneries we used to have are gone. Where are we making refrigerators, washing machines or other whitegoods now? Electrical appliances, footwear, clothing and machinery are no more. They have basically closed up as well. When those industries and manufacturing go, jobs go with them.

Let me turn your mind back to the free trade agreement with the USA in 2004 under the coalition. It was supported by the Labor Party and came into force in January 2005. Under that free trade agreement Australia got rid of all our tariffs from day one—great negotiation skills!—but America kept their tariffs for between 11 to 18 years for wool, horticulture, steel, wine and beef. They protected their country's industries and put in place quota systems so that, even though we were exporting over to that country and those imports were still having an impact, they could say, 'No, we can stop this.' What did we do? Labor supported it from day one, with no tariffs.

Now we go to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Senator Patrick from the Centre Alliance was saying that his concern is about jobs. We seem to be the only ones that are concerned about the Australian workers and jobs. I'm sick of the same old rhetoric and hypocrisy in this place. I'm especially sick of hearing that the Labor Party are the ones out there fighting for the workers in this country when even the unions don't like the fact that you are going to now support the TPP and all these other free trade agreements. According to DFAT:

ChAFTA supports increased trade and investment between Australia and China by reducing barriers to labour mobility and improving temporary entry access within the context of each country's existing immigration—

but makes it easier to come into our country. It goes on to say:

Alongside ChAFTA, Australia and China have also implemented a Work and Holiday Arrangement (WHA)—

we don't need a holiday arrangement, because we want tourists to come to the country; they're not taking jobs, so let's just throw the word 'holiday' in there to offset it—

under which Australia will grant visas for up to 5,000 Chinese work and holiday makers annually.

Then we go to the latest Indonesian agreement. Indonesia will also receive an increase in the number of Australian work and holiday visas—I love this again, 'holiday visas', which is just thrown in there to confuse everyone—from 1,000 today to 4,100 in year one, growing to 5,000 over six years. I had the maritime engineers union come to me and say: 'Pauline, we are training engineers on the boats and they've got no jobs. It's all foreign workers.' No-one is listening to them. Where is the Labor Party? What are you doing about this? Are you standing up for the workers and the unions? They rely on you to make the right decisions for them, but you're not doing anything.

I was listening to Senator Brockman before. He said that we need this in order to expand our country—that we need free trade in order to create better living conditions for everyone. But that's not the case. It's not true, because under the Lima declaration of the 1970s we were told to forgo our industries and manufacturing in favour of Third World countries. The whole idea sounded wonderful: we forgo our industries and manufacturing and sell our raw materials to the Third World countries to help them. Yes, it's given them a hand up, but we've actually pulled ourselves down. I am sick and tired of seeing people in this country thrown on the scrap heap, with no jobs to go to. Industries and manufacturing—you cannot keep pushing people onto higher education to get degrees when they don't wish to do so. People need to have the tasks and the work in this country, but too often now we are seeing this work going to foreign nationals—jobs that belong to Australians. I think that what you're doing is disgusting.

Listen to the Labor Party bleat on, especially just before about the royal commission, which is quite interesting. You throw the blame onto the coalition, because they didn't do anything about it. There have been, what, 18 Senate inquiries into it, or maybe even more—it was before my time. The fact is that you have been in government yourself. What did you do about it? Absolutely nothing. You never went on to do these things at all.

Getting back to free trade—I can't speak for Senator Patrick on this—our main concern is jobs for Australians. We want to see manufacturing industry back here to give Australian workers the opportunity to have jobs. We've got it all here. We have the resources, we have the materials and we have the skills, yet you do everything you possibly can to allow in cheap products from overseas. Your free trade agreements have taken the tariffs off, which means that you have allowed these cheap products to come in here—the throwaways—which will cost Australians more in the long run, and at the detriment of lost jobs. And you say it's better for the economy! That is why our welfare system now costs approximately 42 per cent of our revenue. That's how much we pay out through Centrelink—42 per cent of our revenue. It absolutely disgusts me that it's as high as that.

Like Senator Patrick from the Centre Alliance, One Nation will not support the TPP-11 if it has the proviso in it—the coalition government, especially, has waived labour market testing. I've had a lot of complaints from people who are very concerned about it. The labour market testing exemption is another thing Labor has agreed to. Labor can actually put a stop to this if they want to, because they have the numbers now, with One Nation and the Centre Alliance, to stop this deal and fight for the workers of this country. You know that your union mates don't want you to pass this.

You're supposed to stand up for the blue-collar workers. You haven't done it and you never will do it. You're in this place and you don't give a damn about those people because you actually have your jobs and you're not worrying about the people out there you're supposed to be representing. I'm sick of hearing the rhetoric and the hypocritical comments that I hear in this place. Stand up for the workers in this country because, if you don't, you're going to get more crossbenchers in here that will fight for the Australian people.