Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait


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Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 16:44 :51 ): I am very happy to speak to this motion as a person who, like 57 per cent of those in my electorate, has a parent who was born overseas. I am very happy to speak to this motion as a person whose father never lived in an English-speaking country until the age of 25. I am very happy to denounce the deflection tactics of the Labor Party that suggest this motion is about Pauline Hanson. I want to focus on the picture that has been circulated around the House taken from the advertisement by Bill Shorten and the Australian Labor Party [ALP] that is pitched to country Queensland. The people we see depicted in that photograph who are standing behind Bill Shorten do not reflect the diversity of our country. If I may borrow a phrase associated with Oscar Wilde, "Diversity is a word whose name Labor dares not speak", because the photograph is full of people with white skin and blonde hair. It is an Australia that does not reflect even the childhood of the member for Heffron or my own.

When I went to school there were many Greek, Italian, Yugoslav, Asian, Jewish and Lebanese students. Yet this photograph depicts none of the diversity of Australia even 40 years ago, let alone the greater diversity of today. This morning I had the privilege of addressing a group of students from Normanhurst Boys High School in this very Chamber before today's sitting began. None of the diversity of that group of students from a selective high school—the future lawyers and doctors; the future professionals of our country—is reflected in this ALP advertisement. What does it say to our future leaders about the Australia they are going to lead? Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example. Earlier this year the Treasurer spoke with great passion about Labor members of this Parliament attending an anti-Israel hate rally. During the 2015 election the union movement ran a dishonest anti-Chinese scare campaign on the lease of the poles and wires.

We should never forget that in 1947 the then leader of the Federal Australian Labor Party stood up in our national Parliament and said, in favour of the White Australia policy, "Two Wongs don't make a white". It was a terrible, disgraceful, racist jibe made in our national Parliament. It is most unfortunate that in 2017 Bill Shorten wants to take our country back to 1947—the Federal Labor leader is jumping back to 1947. It is important for all of us to stand up and say that that is not the Australia we want. Labor members cannot deflect by talking about preference deals with One Nation and the like. We should be talking about what Australia we are proud of in 2017. This Labor advertisement is a disgraceful dog whistle to a bygone era and the White Australia policy.

We should never forget that it was the Liberal Party that abolished the White Australia policy under the Holt Government in 1965. It is the Liberal Party that has consistently stood up for freedom. Liberals tolerate diversity of opinion and diversity of people, and we will not stand up and take it when Bill Shorten says one thing to one group of people in the inner city and the western suburbs of Sydney and something completely different to those in country Queensland. It is hypocritical, dishonest, it is disingenuous, and we should not allow it. The member for Blacktown, instead of shouting at me across the Chamber, should stand up and call it out, just as Mr Albanese has done. He should call out the hypocrisy of his Federal Labor leader because it is a disgrace. It is a good example of why Labor members can never be trusted to run this State because only the Liberal Party believes in true freedom, diversity and democracy.