1 year ago




30 SENATE Tuesday, 14 February 2017 I bet they are not laughing down there now. "I have to deal with the reality that there's a rejuvenated One Nation party out there," the Premier said yesterday when asked if he had been forced— The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Sterle, please resume your seat. Senator STERLE: I am reading. Senator Ian Macdonald: There is a standing order against senators— Senator STERLE: I am quoting an article. You know that— The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Sterle, resume your seat. Senator Ian Macdonald: Senator Sterle is a good guy, but there is a standing order against senators reading their speeches, and I wonder if the same standing order applies to senators who do nothing else in a five-minute speech but read someone else's speeches, albeit an article from a newspaper. The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Sterle is quoting. Senator STERLE: Thank you for that protection, Madam Deputy President, because it is important that I do quote these words. I will continue quoting this. This is the cracker. Are you ready for this, Senator Macdonald and Senator Hume? In another twist late yesterday, One Nation's WA leader Colin Tincknell said his party would have put Liberals ahead of Labor, the Greens and Nationals whether or not a deal had been done. I cannot believe my luck today. He also goes on to say: "We were always going to preference the Liberals before Labor and the Greens and the Nationals anyway," Are you still there? I am just making sure. How is that for a good old-fashioned slap in the mouth? The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Quoting is fine; I think holding the newspaper up so high is not. Senator STERLE: I am trying to read. I will hold it that way; it is just that the light is not all that good. Senator Back: They did write it slowly, mate, because they knew you couldn't read it! Senator Hume: Put your glasses on. Senator STERLE: I just cannot see. Can I try another angle? As I was clearly saying, there is open warfare in Western Australia between the coalition partners. Senator Hume from Victoria, do you know why we got the rabbit-proof fence in WA? It is to keep the Victorians out, I am told. I do not know if that is true, but let me help you out with what happens in Western Australia. They are best of buddies for most of the time, except the last few years really has tested the mettle of the relationship between the Liberals and the Nats. I have to tell you, this is no secret; it is a well-known fact. Senator Back, who is one of the most intelligent senators from Western Australia— I will give you that; he is top of the class— Senator Ian Macdonald: Hear, hear. Senator STERLE: will know that the Liberals have been seething about the behaviour of the Nationals over the years since 2008, when the leader of the Nationals dared to venture across to the other side of the chamber to see if he could form government with Labor at the time. Boy oh boy, didn't that stir up a possum's nest? Thank goodness for us, it did not happen. I am so glad it did not, because then came the Royalties for Regions program. A lot of people will say the regions need to get money that is earned in the mining areas and the agricultural areas. I have no argument with that at all. But I do not know how singing toilets in Bunbury fit in. So what have we really found over there? I would go as far as saying—as a betting man, I would chuck a $5 bet on this one—that this is a little bit of payback coming from the Liberals to the Nats. They are actually peeved off. The most embarrassing point here is that Mr Tincknell, the leader of One Nation, owned up. They would have done the deal. Now the Liberals, when they get together and hold hands in the joint party room, have to look across and say, 'Gee whiz, you know, we really have done you over.' The preference whisperer, Glenn Druery, is quoted in an ABC article today, I think, saying that this deal between One Nation and the Liberals, which would have been done anyway without the Chinese meal or whatever, could cost six to nine seats. Now, if I were Mr Barnett and his cracker team of strategists in the Liberal Party I would be finding every rock I could hide under, because this is not a deal that is going to cut. It is not a deal that is going to stick. And we know what is going to happen, because One Nation have proved that they will slap you in the chops over there on that side of the chamber as quick as they will slap us. What this is all about is that a vote for One Nation is a vote for Colin Barnett; a vote for One Nation is a vote for the Western Australian Liberals. You will not be able to split the pair of them. (Time expired) CHAMBER

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 SENATE 31 Senator BACK (Western Australia) (15:22): Well, hypocrisy writ large was in evidence yesterday when Senator Chisholm carried on about One Nation in Queensland and Senator Hanson called him out. Senator Hanson rose to her feet and reminded him that he was the past secretary of a union of which Mr Evan Moorehead is now the secretary. Senator Hanson said: Well he actually called up my staff on January 25th of this year and wanted to do a grubby deal with us. Our leader, Senator Brandis, demanded that Senator Chisholm stand and deny that statement. And did he? No. He hung his head in shame for the whole time Senator Hanson spoke. To hear Senator Ketter raise questions about One Nation in 2003 and then to draw attention in 2017—for those in the public gallery, let me remind you, since he referred to Mr Costello, the greatest Treasurer this country has ever had, that he was dealing at that time with some $96 billion of debt left to him by the then Keating government. He eventually paid it back, and he had $6 billion a year that was no longer being wasted on interest but was being paid into the Australian economy. And in 2016 what are we doing? Get your handkerchiefs out: the current Treasurer is borrowing from overseas some $15 billion of your money every year—not to repay the $300 billion debt but just to pay the interest on the debt. All of these questions this afternoon in question time about money for education, money for child care, money for child protection—do you know, if we were not wasting $15 billion a year on repaying the interest on Labor's debt we would be putting all of these dollars through the economy in exactly the same way that Peter Costello then was able to do. Why does Senator Ketter need to be called out? Because the One Nation party, responsibly, is assisting this government in terms of economic reality and economic prudence. The best example of the opposition failing to do that was that in 2013 they announced, 'Should we win the election, there are $5 billion in savings that we will make.' Well, as it happened, the coalition said, 'Yep, we agree with that', and the leader knows—Senator Brandis knows—what happened. In government, we brought those $5 billion of savings in—not once, not twice, but three times. These were Labor's own savings. And what do you think happened, in terms of their economic irresponsibility? Each time they opposed those savings that they themselves had indicated that they would make. In the minute and a half left to me, let me address myself to Senator Sterle's comments. Indeed, in 2008, as the minister said, the National Party—not a coalition in WA but an alliance—preferenced us last. They preferenced the Greens ahead of the Liberal Party in 2008. And in the cliffhanger, before we decided government, the now leader, Mr Grylls, actually said, within his party room, 'I would like to move a motion that we go with the Carpenter Labor Party to form government.' Contrary to what Senator Sterle just said, it was never Mr Carpenter and his mob who scotched that one; it was the other National Party members—upper house and lower, friends of mine all of them—who said: 'We could not walk down the main street of our towns if you want to do a deal with the Labor Party. So, go down that way, Brendon; go down that way, and we will go in with Mr Barnett.' That was in 2008. Do you know what Mr Grylls was quoted as saying recently? 'Once again, I would be prepared to have a look at an alliance with Mr Mark McGowan'—from the Labor Party. So, what has he learnt since 2008? The other interesting thing, of course, is that it is in the National Party's interests for the Liberal Party to have done this arrangement with One Nation. Why? Because in 2013, when Barnett won the election in his own right, he could have ignored the National Party. He could have said: 'I'm not interested in them. We brought them into government. The best way the Nats have of getting ministers in the next parliament is for the Liberal Party to win the election.' (Time expired) Senator PRATT (Western Australia) (15:27): I am sure most of us in this chamber today did in fact hear or read about trade minister Steve Ciobo's claims that One Nation's approach to economics had a certain economic rationalism reflective of what it is to 'govern Australia in a fiscally responsible way'. And he went on to say, as we know, that theirs was 'a mature approach to economic policy'. Well, apparently Senator Brandis did not, in answering these questions today, hear that statement, because that is what he told us in question time. And I would encourage the minister to read the paper. He does, not infrequently, hide behind the fact that he has not read the news or the paper, to avoid answering questions in this place. But it is of great concern that anyone in the government would agree that One Nation does indeed take a mature approach to economic policy, because if you look at their policies they are beyond all rationality. The reasoning is apparently that One Nation votes for Liberals' legislation in this place. Perhaps Senator Brandis chooses not to read the paper because he is clearly embarrassed by what is evident in some of the revelations. It does seem to me that Senator Brandis, if something embarrassing is revealed, will deny any knowledge of it and use it to skirt around the question that is being asked. I think that absolutely affirms what we on this side of the chamber were saying in this place yesterday: what we really see behind closed doors here is a vote for One Nation being a vote for the Liberals. That is certainly what is playing out in Western Australia and it is certainly what you rely on in this place to pass your more erroneous pieces of legislation. On the one hand, we have Senator Brandis saying he CHAMBER

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