Mr President, Not far from where you sit, some 10 metres from the entrance to this old chamber, there’s a wonderfully imposing canvas. It depicts the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove. The painting by Algernon Talmage is called the Founding of Australia, a founding marked by the arrival of Western civilisation on this continent.
Like so many parts of our politics that have changed quickly in recent times, there are voices here who do not believe in the virtues of the West, who do not acknowledge the nation-building achievements of our culture and our country.
It’s like a scene from The Life of Brian, a case of: What has Western civilisation done for us? Only advanced healthcare and education; architecture, engineering, information technology, free speech and the rule of law. Yet still, among the Leftist elites, the social engineers and cultural dietitians, sneering at our civilisation has become their new pastime. They preach diversity but practice a suffocating cultural conformity, wanting everyone to be just like them. They argue for inclusion but as soon as a Christian, a conservative, a libertarian, a nationalist, a working class larrikin, an outsider from the vast suburbs and regions of our nation disagrees with them, they crank up their PC-outrage machine to exclude them from society. They are tolerant of everything except dissenting values and opinions – meaning they are tolerant of nothing that matters, only themselves.
The Green-Labor-Left has become the thing it originally opposed: elitist, would-be dictators taking away from working class communities the things these battlers value: the right to speak their mind. To say they love their country and want Australia Day to stay. To practise their Christianity, openly and freely. To send their children to school without the garbage of Safe Schools and other crackpot theories. And when they go to work, the chance to do their job without being bombarded by employment quotas, ‘unconscious bias’ training and a long list of unspeakable, taboo words like ‘guys’ and ‘mums and dads’. The New Left are the new primitives of our time: junking the importance of evidence, of recorded history, of biological science, to pretend that all parts of our lives (race, gender and sexuality) can be fluid, that everything we know and feel is ‘socially constructed’.
We shouldn’t be taking away from parents their essential role as the primary carers of their children – in matters personal and sexual. We shouldn’t be changing the purpose of our education system: transforming schools from places of skill and academic attainment into gender fluidity factories. Everywhere I travel, parents and grandparents, workers and communities, ask me, ‘What’s happened to our country; where has this nonsense come from?’ The answer is clear. The Leftist project, then and now, is about control. With the fall of the Berlin Wall the Left got smarter. It shifted from the Cold War to a culture war. It moved from pursuing economic Marxism to pushing cultural Marxism. Instead of trying to socialise the means of production, it’s now trying to socialise the means of individual expression and belief – our language, our values, our behaviour.
Mr President, I ran for parliament to be part of the fightback for freedom and fairness. So much of the offenderati, the outrage industry, involves the fabrication of offence – saying that their feelings have been hurt solely for the reason of closing down their political opponents. PC is riddled with these internal contradictions.
I’m not a Christian but I recognise the vital contribution of Christianity to our civilisation: its vast social and charitable work; its teaching of right and wrong in civil society. Mr President, I stand with Israel Folau. In his own private time away from his job playing football, he’s a preacher at his community church and naturally, he quotes the Bible.
Yet for his beliefs, his Christianity, he is not allowed to play rugby, to chase the pigskin around the park. How did our State and our nation ever come to this? I was on Folau’s list of sinners, more than once actually. But as I don’t believe in Hell, there was no way I could take offence. I say to any young person: if you are looking for guidance and inspiration in life, study Churchill, Lincoln, Reagan and Roosevelt, not Todd Carney. (That’s Ronald, not Reg, Reagan). I believe that no Australian should live in fear of the words they utter. No Australian should be fearful of proclaiming four of the most glorious words of our civilisation: I am a Christian. No one should be sacked by their employer for statements of genuine belief and faith that have got nothing to do with their job. As per our One Nation election commitments, I will be moving legislation for the protection of free speech, religious freedom and the privacy rights of workers. When I was first elected to federal parliament in 1994, if you had asked me: Who typically is the neediest person in your electorate, the one you are trying to help as a Labor MP; I’d have said: A white working class man living in one of Campbelltown’s public housing estates who had been restructured out of manufacturing work in the ‘80s and now faces the indignity of long-term unemployment and welfare dependency. How silly of me. How little did I know. Now I’m told he was an example of White Male Privilege; the bum out of his pants was actually a rainbow shot up his backside.
Earlier I asked where the attacks on our country and our civilisation are coming from. Here’s the problem: I’m not just talking about the usual suspects from the Green-Labor-Left. I’m talking about Liberal and National parties that have been paralysed on these issues, that haven’t stood up for freedom of speech, freedom of religion and meritocracy.
This government and this parliament has no greater duty of care to the people of NSW than to keep the lights on. The best way of doing this is through reliable, dispatchable, baseload power. The two ways of achieving this are through nuclear power and coal-fired stations. I’m not a climate denier. I respect all forms of science. But just as much, I don’t believe in running public policy through the work of zealots. And that’s what renewables have become – a new pagan religion.
As a young man I had the honour of being Labor Mayor of my hometown, Liverpool, and had the opportunity to serve in the House of Representatives.
I also thank Alan Jones, who at various times gave me a chance when no one else would. Most of all, I thank the people of NSW who have given me a second go at parliamentary service.
Mr President, For those of us who believe in the virtues of Western civilisation, who treasure the advances and values of the Enlightenment, who look at Talmage’s painting and marvel at its meaning, this is the fight of our lives.
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