Premier refuses to rule out preferencing One Nation

Adjournment speech - Tuesday 21 February 2017

The Hon. JOHN GRAHAM ( 21:59 ): 

I woke this morning to read the exciting news that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] had revived life that had been dormant for 60,000 years in ice caves in Mexico. These forms of life had stayed in extreme conditions, frozen in time, unchanged, until scientists were able to revive them. The hunt for what NASA calls "extremophiles" had been going on for some time. It appears that the New South Wales Government has launched a similar search for extremophiles. That is the only conclusion I can draw from the statement made by the new Premier when she was asked in the other place to rule out a preference deal with One Nation. She refused to do so. She said simply to the member who asked the question:

I share his interest in ensuring that we have tolerance for all members of our community.

That is, she failed to rule out a deal. She failed the first test of tolerance. She failed to follow John Howard, Peter Costello and John Brogden in drawing a line in the sand relating to this extreme political party. We saw why this morning. New South Wales Senator Brian Burston announced One Nation's re-entry into New South Wales politics. He said that the party is on track to apply for registration in the middle of the year. Asked whether the party will end up doing preference deals with either the Liberals or Nationals in certain seats, Senator Burston said:

I don't doubt that at all.

Nor, it appears, does the Premier. I understand the feeling of some voters that politics has left them behind and is not addressing their concerns. Let us recap the activities of One Nation. This party is a threat to our modern mixed economy and our multicultural community in New South Wales. What will it mean for our tourism and education industries, this party whose official policy is to abolish multiculturalism? What will it mean for our fresh produce exporters, this party that is opposed to Asians? What will it mean for our cattle exporters, this party that is opposed to Muslims? What happens to the New South Wales economy when those jobs go? What about the attack on workers by this political party that has abolished penalty rates, voted for legislation that bans agreements to hire apprentices, and that supports a 2 per cent easy tax, devastating the Government's ability to provide services?

So the extremophiles are back, their political views frozen in time, unchanged. What has changed is the position of the Liberal Party and this new Premier, who want to deal with them. It may all be a conspiracy. That was the view of One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts on climate change. On Q&A he alleged that climate figures had been corrupted and manipulated. "By who?" asked prominent scientist Professor Brian Cox. "NASA," Mr Roberts replied. I support NASA. I oppose One Nation, not just because their views are abhorrent on matters of race or tolerance or inclusion or multiculturalism—and they are abhorrent. I oppose them because, if given weight, their views would represent a wrecking ball for the New South Wales economy—for cattle sales, for fresh produce, for tourism operators, for education exporters and for the workers employed in those industries. I call on the Government to rule out preferencing One Nation. Like Howard, Costello and Brogden, the Premier should take a principled stand for tolerance.