Clive Palmer’s Maiden Speech
Australians know who I am and where I come from. They know I love my family and I love Australia.
In 1918 my father, at the age of nine, went to see a silent movie. By the time he was 14 he was producing and starring in his first movie. He went on to become the world’s youngest movie producer, as he was known in the United States. He returned to Australia to establish radio station 3AK in Melbourne and 7UV in Tasmania. Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, leader of the United Australia Party, opened 3AK and I still have the recording.
My mother was born in Penguin, Tasmania. She left in 1940 to work in ammunition production in Melbourne.
My family members have served this nation in the First and Second World Wars, some giving their life for Australian freedom. My nephew, squadron leader Martin Brewster, served with INTERFET in East Timor. All of them have done more than I could ever do.
Like half of all Australians, I lost my first partner Sue. Her love, our children Michael and Emily, sustain me every day. My wife Anna and my lovely five year old daughter Mary, or middle five, as she says, remind me every day what life is all about and the love we have for each other. I look forward to the coming weeks when I will again be a father.
I have a strong resolve to serve our nation. I have a strong resolve not to let the people of Fairfax down. Fairfax has been taken for granted for many years. My election is a reminder to major parties that they must truly serve all Australians.
We meet today in a city which in itself reconciled our people at difficult times in the nation’s history, a city which, in this century and the last, has been witness to the trials and tribulations of our people, at a time when the nation lacks direction and needs to set sail on a new course.
How long can parliament remain indifferent to Australians’ needs? How long can government be deaf to the everyday struggles of Australians? They must be on top of the agenda.
On this small speck in the universe, planet Earth, we must do what we can to help each other. Our main concern needs to rest with how we can grow and expand our economy and create more wealth. Not wealth for the wealthy, but for all, even the least among us. As a wise man once said: “An injustice to a man anywhere, is an injustice to all men everywhere.”
We live in a nation where the roads are no longer safe, where ambulances remove the carnage from our highways, where the infant mortality rate of our indigenous people is twice that of the Australian community, where the life expectancy of many of our poorer and downtrodden citizens is less than it should be, where health services are declining, where our elderly and veterans are forgotten, where the tyranny of distance separates the hopes and aspirations of remote Australia, where despair of the homeless and unemployed robs the nation of the productivity of our citizens. Tasmanians feel abandoned by mainland Australia.
The ghosts of the Anzacs call us to action.
To stimulate our economic activity we must ignite the creativity of all our citizens. Chairman Mao once said that “women hold up half the sky.” Women received the vote in 1902 but prejudice still remains. Leadership, not complacency, is our need today. In parliament, in Cabinet, we need more women.
The nation needs a strong economy with efficient production. Australia still has a triple-A credit rating. The decline in Queensland’s credit rating has been followed by a decline in services. Our citizens need to live a civilized life. Government is not business. It’s about creating the environment to allow our economy to flourish, to grow revenue, to sustain the nation and to provide income and security to all Australians. Confidence is low. Our standard of living has declined. We must use resources better.
We are not prisoners to the world economy, drifting helplessly on a sea of despair. The problems we have were made by Australians, and can be solved by Australians. We should not accept defeat by just cutting and slashing, lest the reaper reaps more than he can sow. Borrowing to avoid the day is not a solution.
Let’s set a national agenda for growth and a goal for all of us.
When the day comes, and it most surely will, when citizens elected by the people take proper and full responsibility for the welfare of their fellow citizens, when we treat other Australians as we would want them to treat us, then we can surely know that we do God’s will.
Public service has no reward other than the service of others. It’s the legacy we leave future generations. History is our real judge. Let us work together, not as opponents but as colleagues joined by time and space to serve the nation.
Australians have lost hope in the future. Change is certain. Success reflects our ability to adapt to change. It’s not individuals or personalities that are important. It’s not demeaning comments about those who have offered to serve. The challenge is what we can do to make life better.
At the last election the Palmer United Party won 5.5 per cent of the vote, becoming Australia’s fourth largest party. The Prime Minister became Prime Minister because the Coalition received Palmer United preferences. Palmer United outpolled the Nationals. Palmer United had one member elected in the House of Representatives and three Senators, only to have the AEC lose ballot boxes to deny Dio Wang election in Western Australia. The Palmer United Party and the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party will hold the balance of power in the Senate. In WA our polling is showing we will win two senators if an election is held. In Fairfax, Palmer United received one of the largest swings in the nation’s history of 50.03 per cent.
Murdoch’s Newspoll showed “others” as being 12.4 per cent, consistent with our own polling of 10 per cent, nearly twice as much as we received at the election. Many Australians believed that a vote for the Palmer United Party was a wasted vote. Now our party vote has solidified.
I want to thank all 150 candidates who stood in every seat available in the House of Representatives and our Senate teams, and our party members in every state and territory.
Political courage is one of the rarest commodities. Our Queensland leader, Dr Alex Douglas, and his deputy, Carl Judge, have defended freedom and the rights of Australians by putting principle before political expediency.
The entrenchment of the two party system in this country not only threatens democracy, it destroys the creativity of the nation. It robs from all of us the benefit of each other’s ideas and innovation.
The forward estimates for August 2013 projected provisional tax receipts for 2014 would exceed $70 billion. Instead of companies paying tax quarterly based on an estimate we need to let them pay it yearly on companies and businesses’ actual results. If we keep $70 billion in enterprises’ hands they can spend it better than the Government. Australia will create real demand, massive job growth, reduce unemployment and turbo charge our economy. If $70 billion is spent by individual taxpayers, the Government receives 10 per cent GST. The Government receives $7 billion every time it’s spent by our citizens. The Government will receive the $70 billion at the end of each year. This means more hospitals, schools and a rising living standard. Increased wealth and revenue means we can make Australians’ lives better. At a current interest rate it will cost around $800 million a year but generate billions of dollars each year for the nation. We must stimulate domestic demand.
The Government is the top petitioner of bankruptcy and company liquidations. As a result of business closures employees lose their jobs. We lose group tax, company tax, exports and GST. Stop Government driving business to the wall. Let’s keep people employed. Transferring people from gainful employment to unemployment just guarantees misery. Let’s find a better way, such as Chapter 11 in the US. The loss of only one year’s income due to unemployment is more than the total cost of five years education through high school. To neglect education performance is not only bad policy, it is bad economics.
Our army, navy and air force personnel protect and defend us all. We must link all service pensions to male total average earnings, expand all gold card benefits to peacekeepers and gold card benefits to spouses.
We need to support regional Australia by reintroducing a zonal taxation system. Regional areas need doctors and professionals. Regional industries benefit all of Australia. We have to end the discrimination against rural industries allowing them to compete.
If Australians are satisfied that what their Government is doing now is enough, is adequate, for Australia and our future, Australians can accept their lot. But as Australia’s future, security and freedoms steadily erode, we have to act. This nation has the strength and the potential to live out its heritage, to fulfil the dreams of the Anzacs, to return Australia to a lucky country, to restore our economy, to reclaim our national heritage.
Many people say they care, but they don’t. Parliament should be about the needs of others, but sometimes it’s not. In Queensland the Mulga is dying, drought and flood have combined to wreak havoc on the families of the region. How can we not act? How can we complain about animal welfare overseas when we let thousands of cattle die a slow and painful death? How can we let Australian families suffer?
Are we so indifferent to our fellow Australians? It’s our responsibility to be the last sentry at the gate to protect the rights and freedoms of all Australians.
Australia needs a revolution in the way we think, in the way we boost our wealth and economy for all our citizens.
We have to re-establish confidence. We need to believe we can lift our economy to a better future. We need to have a positive attitude. We may not win. We may not get there. But nothing is surer that we will fail if we don’t project positively.
Public service and political life must be the highest calling. The catch cry in this place needs to be respect for ideas. Great debate always demands its victim and truth is the only winner. But we are all winners when truth prevails over injustice. The content of our character is more important than how much money we have.
We need to praise the incorruptibility of our public officials, the integrity of our marriages and the worth of our people.
It’s ideas that matter. Governments may come and go, ideas go on forever. It’s ideas that will shape the nation. Ideas endure through time, when we are gone and forgotten. In history, in commerce, in politics, it’s ideas that capture the conscience of the nation. It’s ideas that endure when all else is gone.
Let us unite to serve the nation we love, to discover our future, to share our trials and tribulations, to overcome adversity, to pull together for our common good under the Southern Cross, and to know as a great man once said: “that on this earth God’s work must truly be our own.”