First of all, I would like to welcome everyone in this house and thank you for your attendance. It is very much appreciated. When I cast my mind back to the last day on the floor of the House of Representatives in 1998, just prior to the election, I called out across the chamber, ‘I will be back!’ Those around me cried out, ‘No, you won’t!’ My electorate boundaries were changed, forcing me to stand for the new seat of Blair. Also with the introduction of full preferential voting, this cost me the seat. Although I polled 36 per cent of the primary vote, this was not enough against the Liberals’ 21 per cent and Labor’s preferences delivering them the seat.
It has taken numerous elections, countless legal battles and doing a stint in maximum security on trumped-up charges – of which former speaker Bronwyn Bishop stated I was Australia’s first political prisoner – to find myself here. Some call it persistence and tenacity. My daughter describes it as a Johnny Farnham comeback. I call it standing up and fighting for what you believe in and not allowing the bastards to grind you down. So, to all my peers in this place and those from the past, I have two words for you: I’m back – but not alone.
I cannot begin to express the pride and honour I have in being joined in this place by three of my colleagues—Senator Malcolm Roberts, also representing Queensland; New South Wales Senator Brian Burston; and Western Australian Senator Rod Culleton – elected under Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. As a strong, united team I guarantee we will make a difference.
It has been 20 years and four days since I last delivered my first speech in this house, a speech that shook a nation, woke up many Australians and gave hope to those who thought no-one was listening. That speech was relevant then and it is still relevant today. The problem is we have not had leaders with the foresight or the intestinal fortitude to cast aside political correctness. They have failed to discard old treaties and agreements that are not in our best interest and have signed new ones giving away our sovereignty, rights, jobs and democracy. Their push for globalisation, economic rationalism, free trade and ethnic diversity has seen our country’s decline. This is due to foreign takeover of our land and assets, out-of-control debt, failing infrastructure, high unemployment or underemployment and the destruction of our farming sector. Indiscriminate immigration and aggressive multiculturalism have caused crime to escalate and trust and social cohesion to decline. Too many Australians are afraid to walk alone at night in their neighbourhoods. Too many of us live in fear of terrorism.
In my first speech in 1996 I said we were in danger of being swamped by Asians. This was not said out of disrespect for Asians but was meant as a slap in the face to both the Liberal and Labor governments who opened the floodgates to immigration, targeting cultures purely for the vote, as expressed by former Labor minister Barry Jones – to such an extent that society changed too rapidly due to migrants coming in the front door but also the back door, via New Zealand. Now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims, who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own.
I love my country, culture and way of life. My pride and patriotism were instilled in me from an early age when I watched the Australian flag raised every morning at school and sang the national anthem; watching our athletes compete on the world stage, proud to salute the Australian flag being raised to honour them as they took their place on podiums. It is about belonging, respect and commitment to fight for Australia. This will never be traded or given up for the mantras of diversity or tolerance. Australia had a national identity before Federation, and it had nothing to do with diversity and everything to do with belonging. Tolerance has to be shown by those who come to this country for a new way of life. If you are not prepared to become Australian and give this country your undivided loyalty, obey our laws, respect our culture and way of life, then I suggest you go back where you came from. If it would be any help, I will take you to the airport and wave you goodbye with sincere best wishes.
Australia is predominantly a Christian country, but our government is secular. Our Constitution prevents governments from imposing religious rule and teachings. The separation of church and state has become an essential component of our way of life, and anything that threatens that separation threatens our freedom. Australia has embraced migrants from all different races, making us one of the most multiracial nations on earth. Most have assimilated and are proud to call themselves Australians, accepting our culture, beliefs and laws. I welcome them from the bottom of my heart. As they integrate and assimilate, the disruption caused by diversity diminishes.
Why then has Islam and its teachings had such an impact on Australia like no other religion? Islam sees itself as a theocracy. Islam does not believe in democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or freedom of assembly. It does not separate religion and politics. It is partly a religion, but it is much more than that. It has a political agenda that goes far outside the realm of religion. It regulates Muslims’ social and domestic life, their legal system and politics – their total life.
Australia is now seeing changes in suburbs predominantly Muslim. Tolerance towards other Australians is no longer the case. Our law courts are disrespected and prisons have become breeding grounds for Muslims to radicalise inmates. Muslims are imprisoned at almost three times the average rate. The rate of unemployed and public dependency is two to three times greater than the national average. Muslims are prominent in organised crime, with associated violence and drug dealing. Antisocial behaviour is rampant, fuelled by hyper-masculine and misogynist culture. Multiple social surveys find that neighbourhoods of Muslim settlement are suffering from collapsing social cohesion and fear of crime. Australians, in general, are more fearful.
Not only is terrorism seen around the world but it is now part of our society, with Muslim refugees involved in the Lindt Cafe siege, the Curtis Cheng murder in Sydney and the stabbing of the two police officers in Melbourne. The Grand Mufti and other Muslim leaders are deafening with their silence, or lack of sympathy. Radicalisation is happening on our streets, in our suburbs and mosques. Yet, our leaders continue to tell us to be tolerant and embrace the good Muslims. But how should we tell the difference? There is no sign saying ‘good Muslim’ or ‘bad Muslim’. How many lives will be lost or destroyed trying to determine who is good and who is bad?
Many more Australian Muslims have volunteered, or have tried to volunteer, to fight for ISIS than we have in our own Defence Force. ASIO has over 509 terrorist suspects under surveillance. Civil tension is on the rise across the country, led by Australians feeling the impact of Islam in their lives and a distaste for its beliefs. Their tolerance to our customs has seen Christmas carols no longer sung at some schools and Bibles not to be found in most hospitals. Some public swimming baths have times set aside for Muslim women only, and drivers licenses are obtained by Muslim women wearing the burqa and niqab. Prayer rooms are now provided in universities, hospitals, schools, airports and shopping centres to accommodate Muslims.
Halal certification tax has been forced upon us, costing Australians approximately $10 million a year. Halal certification is not a religious requirement but a moneymaking racket, and certification is unnecessary for Muslims’ welfare because non-halal products can be consumed, provided the word ‘Bismillah’ is said over the food and a prayer is recited. Muslims want to see sharia law introduced in Australia. This law is a totalitarian civil code which prescribes harsh feudal rules imposed on everything, firstly for Muslims, later for everyone. As long as Islam is considered a religion, sharia conflicts with our secular state.
Islam cannot have a significant presence in Australia if we are to live in an open, secular and cohesive society. Never before in Australia’s history have we seen civil unrest and terror associated with a so-called religion, or from followers of that faith. We have seen the destruction that it is causing around the world. If we do not make changes now, there will be no hope in the future. Have no doubt that we will be living under sharia law and treated as second-class citizens with second-class rights if we keep heading down the path with the attitude, ‘She’ll be right, mate.’
Therefore, I call for stopping further Muslim immigration and banning the burqa, as they have done in many countries around the world. Burqas are not a religious requirement. Most Australians find them confronting, as did two of our former prime ministers. I am sure a lot of the women forced to wear them would love to cast them aside but live in fear to do so. In addition, no more mosques or schools should be built, and those that already exist should be monitored with regard to what they are teaching until the present crisis is over. Sharia law should not be acknowledged or allowed. And Australian companies should be banned from paying for halal certification.
Australians have never been permitted to vote on immigration and multiculturalism. When have we been asked or consulted about our population? We reached a population of 24 million this year, 17 years ahead of prediction. Governments have continually brought in high levels of immigration, so they say, to stimulate the economy. This is rubbish. The economy is stimulated by funding infrastructure projects, creating employment. What major projects have we had in this country for the past 30 years? How many dams have we built in the past 50 years? The only stimulation that is happening is welfare handouts—many going to migrants unable to get jobs. At present, our immigration intake is 190,000 a year. High immigration is only beneficial to multinationals, banks and big business, seeking a larger market while everyday Australians suffer from this massive intake. They are waiting longer for their life-saving operation. The unemployment queues grow longer—and even longer when government jobs are given priority to migrants. Our city roads have become parking lots. Schools are bursting at the seams. Our aged and sick are left behind to fend for themselves. And many cities and towns struggle to provide water for an ever-growing population. Our service providers struggle to cope, due to a lack of government funding, leaving it to charities to pick up the pieces. Governments, both state and federal, have a duty of care to the Australian people. Clean up your own backyard before flooding our country with more people who are going to be a drain on our society. I call for a halt to further immigration and for government to first look after our aged, the sick and the helpless.
Foreign investment and foreign ownership are great concerns. The government finally released its register of foreign ownership, which reveals that foreign interests owned 13.6 per cent of Australia’s farmland. That is 52 million hectares. It includes 30 per cent of the Northern Territory’s farmland and 22 per cent of Tasmania’s. The register fails to show the quality of the foreign owned land. Is it the jewels in the nation’s agricultural crown? Let’s have a register on all land owned by foreigners, including non-agricultural land and housing. And why is there no information on who owns our country’s vital irrigation and water assets, despite this being promised? The registry is a disgrace. It makes me wonder whose interests this government is serving. Australia needs a national government, not a corporate one, not a union one, and not an alternative lifestyle one. Any foreign ownership is regrettable, but why are we allowing the Chinese government, an oppressive communist regime, to own our land and assets? Why are we allowing our ports, utilities, services, agricultural land, and industries, to be acquired by foreigners of any nationality?
It is foolhardy to sell our water, agricultural land—our food source!—essential services and ports. This is not in Australia’s national or security interests. This foreign takeover is destroying small towns across the nation. A farm once the home of an Australian family is now run by a manager. People move, less money is spent, schools lose students and then the town starts to die. Now these foreign owned properties become food bowls for their own countries. Tax is avoided, or very little paid, because they go straight from paddock to plate. Transfer pricing, which involves minimising taxation by artificially charging high prices or operating costs to subsidiaries in Australia, and other forms of tax minimisation, are a certainty.
Housing is beyond the dreams of ordinary Australians. Why? Because they cannot afford to buy, due to foreign investors driving up prices. Officially, foreigners can only buy new housing, but this is not policed. If the Liberal Party wants a pat on the back for having reduced the purchase price to $15million before it has to go to the Foreign Investment Review Board, they will not get it from me. I intend to give them a kick up the backside. Australians have given their lives protecting this great land from foreign takeover. I can guarantee most did not want to go to war but knew it was their duty to ensure their loved ones lived in peace. But, more importantly, they fought for freedom.
I want Australian land, houses and companies to remain locally owned, and I believe I speak for the majority of Australians. Our land and assets are not for sale. Governments are only caretakers of our assets. No contract has been signed giving them permission to sell them. If they cannot rein in the budget with overpaid public servants—one being the head of Australia Post, who is on $4.8 million per year—foreign aid, welfare fraud, politicians lurks and perks, including former prime ministers, and backroom deals for government jobs, then get out of the job of running this country. I warn this government and future governments: you never miss the water till the well runs dry.
Australia’s federal gross debt is currently $499 billion. Our interest payments are over $43.5 million a day. Out-of-control government spending, mismanagement of taxpayers’ dollars, multinationals not paying their fair share of tax and welfare that was introduced to provide for the aged and sick, or as a helping hand for those going through tough times, has now become a way of life for some and is abused and rorted by others. Welfare costs the Australian taxpayer approximately $158 billion a year and this is expected to rise to $191 billion by 2019-20. Nearly one half of our budget is spent on welfare. This is out of control and must be reined in.
Farmers are screaming out for workers and small businesses have difficulty in finding people who want to work. Welfare is not a right, unless you are aged or sick. It is a privilege paid for by hard-working Australians. I support the government in wanting to stop school leavers going immediately onto welfare. What message are we sending them? Teach them how to apply for a job, rather than encouraging them to become dependent on money they have neither earned nor worked for. Then we have the single mums having more children just to maintain their welfare payments, and Muslim men marrying multiple wives, under their laws, then having multiple children at our expense while they collect thousands of dollars a week from the taxpayer. How many have ever held a job? Why would anyone want to work when welfare is so very lucrative? If people bring children into the world, it is their responsibility not the taxpayers’. Therefore, I propose that if a woman has a child, the taxpayer will support the first child, but, if they have more, there will be no increase to the welfare payment. Get a job and start taking responsibility for your own actions.
Not only are we facing a crisis with welfare but also with our health budget. It also is being scammed, abused and rorted and is costing taxpayers billions. The Health Care Card has no identification on it, just a name and number. Anyone can, and does, take another person’s card when visiting a doctor, especially those who bulk-bill. Prescriptions are collected at a cost to the taxpayer, if the cardholder is on welfare. Overseas tourists, illegals and those not entitled to Medicare use their family’s card or a friend’s card. Let me give an example. When one tourist visiting family fell sick, he went to the doctor and used his cousin’s Medicare card. He ended up in hospital and died. The owner of the card had to admit it was not he. ‘What happened?’ you ask. Well, he just had to pay the hospital bill.
We have to stop the rorts, mismanagement and abuse of our taxpayer-funded services, whether it be welfare, health or education. If you want to access these services then apply for an Australian identity card. You must prove you are entitled to apply for the card on a points system. There should not be any complaints because applying for a $30 phone plan is the same. So I will not accept do-gooders complaining about people’s privacy. The card will have an identification chip, a photo and electronic fingerprint. If we are ever going to pull back our deficit we must stop the thieves. If you are not prepared to apply for the card, that is your choice, but expect to pay full price for doctors and prescriptions, and no more welfare handouts will be coming your way.
Family Law would be the most discriminatory, biased and unworkable policy in this country. I referred to it in my maiden speech 20 years ago and still nothing has changed—if anything, it is worse. As a nation, we should hang our heads in shame when, on average, three men, and occasionally a woman, suicide a day due to family breakdowns. The whole system is unworkable and is in desperate need of change. Children are used as pawns in custody battles where women make frivolous claims and believe they have the sole right to the children. Children have two parents and, until we treat mums and dads with the same courtesy and rights, we will continue to see murders due to sheer frustration and depression and mental illness caused by this unworkable system. Suicide is the only way out for those who feel there is no hope after facing years of costly legal battles. Their lives having been destroyed and the pain of missing their children are the reasons many end up in a state of depression caused by the trauma and in some cases the blatant vindictiveness from former partners.
Child support is another contentious issue and should be revised. Some parents are left caring and providing for children without any financial help from the other parent. Others refuse to work so they do not have to pay child support. The system needs to be balanced, taking in the age of the child on a sliding scale and both parents’ incomes should be taken into account. Non-custodial parents find it hard to restart their lives, with excessive child support payments that see their former partners live a very comfortable life. Make it fair with both custody and child support and most parents will gladly take on their responsibility.
I ask all parents: is it worth the pain and anguish to deny your child the love they so deserve from both parents? They are only children for such a short time and all children need both parents. Please put your differences aside, make your peace and come to agreements outside of law courts. The only ones to gain are the legal professions, who are rubbing their hands together watching the thousands of dollars coming their way. Is it worth losing the family home? Is it worth the grief it brings not only to you but also to your extended families, not to mention the children? At the end of the day, the answer is no. I speak from experience not only as a mum myself but also as a grandmother.
I am not going to do a Derryn Hinch and speak for 45 minutes – oh, he still awake! I have a lot more to say but I have six years in this place – Derryn, sorry, you only have three – so there will be plenty of time. Oh, I can feel the Greens cringing – no they have left – and squirming in their seats at the thought that I could possibly be here for six years.
In closing, I will finish on this note: very few of us ever travel a journey alone and nor should we. Our loved ones and friends we have accumulated along the way are an integral part of who we are. Three of my children are here today. They have been with me every step of the way sharing my triumphs and battles, my high points and the lowest in my life. I did not know my life was going to be such a roller-coaster of a ride. I love you with all my heart. But I hate to tell you guys: it’s not over yet; buckle up.
There are those who kept the political party I launched in 1997 alive for 13 years after I left in 2002 till I came back in November 2014. Special thanks to Ian Nelsen for never giving up and for asking me to come back and lead the party. James Ashby is a man I have the utmost respect and admiration for. Like myself, the establishment has also kicked him about unfairly. Your dedication and hard work beside me added up to the clincher that not only saw me win my seat but also saw the other senators win their seats. With deep appreciation and sincerity, thank you.
Thanks to Sarah Beric. You took on a task unbeknown to you, from performing as a professional violinist to running a political office and campaigns. You have been invaluable. A couple of strangers came along at the right time, helped me spread my wings and gave me the support and assistance I needed that now see me standing on this floor today. These people are no longer strangers but dear friends, welcome at home any time for another lamb roast. Thank you, Bill and Renatta.
As I said earlier, I was imprisoned in 2003 for three years, held in maximum security on electoral fraud charges. My sentence was quashed on appeal after 11 weeks. If it were not for my sister Judy and brother Peter fighting for my freedom and justice – and Alan Jones, along with approximately 90 per cent of Australians who believed I was wrongly imprisoned – I would have been behind bars for three years. My father always said, ‘Politics is a dirty game.’ I was one of seven children and the quiet one of the family – believe it or not! Believe me: you are lucky to have me here and not the rest of the Seccombe clan. We come from a breed of Australians who were taught values, morals, honesty, work ethic and common sense – things very much lacking today.
I will never take my position as a senator in this place for granted and nor should I. To the people of Queensland and Australia who voted for me and my party: thank you. You have given me a great honour. Now it is up to me to prove my worth to you. I can guarantee Pauline Hanson is a name that carries with it independence, honesty, assurance, quality and reliability – things the Chinese can never buy. Also, Halal snack packs are never provided – isn’t that right, Sam?
Mr President and my fellow senators: thank you for your indulgence. We may not agree on everything but we need to work together for the future of our country and its people. I look forward to working with each and every one of you, including the Greens, if you are prepared to see this country prosper rather than shut down.
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