OPINION: by George Christensen MPNews Weekly
The difference between conservatism and Labor
, November 27, 2010
One of Australia's new MPs, George Christensen, federal Liberal National member for Dawson, Queensland, recently delivered his maiden speech in the House of Representatives in which he gave a positive view of how Australia can address the challenges it faces in the years ahead. It was particularly encouraging that it comes from a young man who comes from a disadvantaged background. Some extracts are published below.My mother was an immigrant to this country. Her family came to this country with nothing but hope. Both my parents were disability pensioners for my childhood life and we lived very humbly compared to many others.
All of this has given me a social justice conscience but tempered with a strong belief that living in abject poverty does not necessarily lead one into poor academic performance, further poverty or into crime.
My father and mother strived to escape the welfare trap as much as they could. In the bad old days, my father, seated in the gallery today, fronted the Commonwealth Employment Service looking for work, and they told him, "No, you're on the pension for life, mate."
He didn't accept that. He went on to become a taxi-driver, the fastest in town actually, as he also went on to become a professional drag-car racer. Today, my parents now own and run a successful small business - manufacturing and exporting motor-sports car parts all over the world.
I was raised a Catholic but family finances meant I never went to a private school. Of the state schools I attended, Walkerston State School lays claim to a former member of this House - the Rt Hon. Arthur Fadden, leader of the Country Party [now National Party] and Prime Minister, famously, for 40 days and 40 nights.
With some government support, I funded my own way through university where I graduated with a degree in journalism.
I had a great uncle who ran for the Labor Party in the seat of Dawson in 1955. I had a grandfather of Irish stock who worked on the docks in Glasgow.
My first job was on the floor of a printing factory, and I myself have been a member of two different unions so, from all of this, I understand and respect the needs and aspirations of blue-collar working men and women in Dawson.
On the other side of the family, my grandparents were cane-farmers and my father was also a big Joh Bjelke-Petersen man. Over a decade ago, I joined the National Party, now the merged Liberal National Party.
Right now, our nation groans under the weight of high taxation, government overspending, waste and debt and a political and media elite-fostered culture of relativism and lack of responsibility, masked as tolerance and compassion.
Now Labor wants to bring in two new taxes. The first is their mining tax that will put at risk jobs and busi-
nesses throughout the Mackay region and North Queensland.
Those opposite may not know it but when the global financial crisis first raised its ugly head we felt it in Mackay. The mining industry hiccupped and people lost jobs; mining service businesses stopped getting phone calls; and small businesses across the community felt the pinch in a big way.
To us, it showed that the mining industry was not the unstoppable economic force we had thought it was and obviously that the government still thinks it is. But make no mistake: if the government rips billions out of the central Queensland mining sector through its mining tax, it will have an impact.
This is personal for me. My brother is a coal miner. My sister is the wife of a coal miner. My two nephews and my niece rely on their dad's coal-mining income to live. If Labor causes the mining industry to hiccup, these are the kind of people who will feel it - miners, their wives, their kids.
Working families in Dawson have effectively been told by the Prime Minister that the only way Australia can move forward is by a great big new tax that will hold them back.
Then there's this carbon tax, the one that was twice denied during the election, the one that threatens to push up the price of everything, notably electricity, in the vain hope that we're going to cool the temperature of the globe.
Here's the difference between the conservative and the Labor socialist: we think people should be able to make choices with their own money while Labor dictates where they can spend it by taxing it and then giving back if you are performing an activity that falls into line with their particular worldview.
For instance, under Labor, you could get some of your tax money back if you supposedly helped the environment by installing pink batts or foil insulation. We know how that ended up.
A better example: Labor gives generous subsidies to parents if their children are put into institutionalised childcare. But what about choice? Shouldn't parents, not governments, be the experts in deciding on the best day-to-day care for their children?
Under Labor, childcare funding, along with paid parental leave (PPL), is more about promoting paid workforce participation than helping parents afford the care they really want for their children.
Every family pays for childcare by giving up or giving away income, in particular mothers who do their own childcare work unwaged. It is unfair that most Australian families miss out on childcare funding because they do not use day-care or other outsourced care.
Childcare must be re-defined to include parental and informal childcare, which is preferred by most families and cheaper for taxpayers to fund.
We need to put parents 100 per cent in control of the childcare budget by phasing in a single childcare payment that parents can use for family-based, as well as formal, childcare.
But picking people's pockets and using and abusing tax dollars are not the only ways that socialists try to dictate people's lives. We also have that other hand I talked about, boxing people in with red tape and regulation.
In the electorate of Dawson, due to the actions of Queensland Labor in concert with the Greens, we have a classic example of red tape and regulation strangling local cane-farmers.
Despite the Australian Bureau of Statistics finding that 97 per cent of farmers in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area were doing the right thing when it came to managing water run-off, state Labor brought in their draconian reef regulation rules.
These rules require farmers to fill out piles and piles of paperwork, taking hours and hours each week - just to put fertiliser on the paddock! Despite knowing that farmers are already doing the right thing, Labor seems to think that through red tape and paperwork it can better protect the environment.
Quite frankly, farmers are sick and tired of being portrayed as environmental vandals. I sympathise greatly with the plight of landholders who have had their property rights effectively stolen from them, under the guise of Native Vegetation Management legislation or the like.
To even think that a farmer's property rights have been restricted in the belief that locking up trees will keep the climate from changing is disgraceful.
But it's not the first disgraceful thing done in the name of tackling so-called man-man climate change and it won't be the last.
Despite what the political and media elite tell us to think, the truth is the science on climate change is not settled. There are more than 700 scientists who have openly opposed the theory of man-made climate change in a report of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
One of those scientists is a resident in the seat of Dawson, the respected geophysicist, Professor Bob Carter.
It seems to me that before we go down the track of removing people's property rights or introducing carbon taxes in the name of stopping man-made climate change, we should really work out what the facts are. That is why I believe it is high time we had a royal commission to determine the scientific facts on the theory of man-made climate change.
But while liberty from taxation, liberty of choice and liberty from regulation are important, the liberty of life is fundamental to my conservatism. Whether it be the frail, the elderly, the terminally ill or the child in the womb, life matters.
The Left of politics promote welfarism of all varieties under the guise of compassion. But the relationship that exists between parents and the child they are to give birth to or an adult child and dying parent should be inherently compassionate by their nature.
When we break this nexus, when we allow and encourage the removal of compassion from relationships that by their nature should be the most compassionate, then we are all the poorer for it. If we accept this as lawmakers, we accept a culture of death and then we can no longer say we are a compassionate society.