May 28, 1998

Adjournment – One Nation Party

ADJOURNMENT – One Nation Party

28 May 1998

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (5.46 p.m.)—I rise tonight to congratulate and, indeed, endorse the statement made today by former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. It is a statement of principle which highlights just how far to the right the Liberal and National parties have come since the previous Fraser government. I will cite a couple of quotes from Malcolm Fraser’s letter. He says:

The Liberal and the National Parties have done Australia a great disservice. It is nonsense to suggest that their preferences will not be counted and that therefore the order of preference does not matter. If that were so, they would clearly have placed One Nation last.

He goes on to say:

On one issue alone, One Nation stands condemned: its policies are anti-Asian, anti-Aboriginal and anti-Semitic. Its policies are racist.

This comes from someone who was a Prime Minister of this country for eight years. This comes from someone who, whatever differences I would have with him on economic policies and on other social policies, has integrity on the basis of race. You have to have integrity across the board or you do not have it at all.

It is one thing when you are addressing a Lebanese community meeting or a Greek community meeting, such as the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (Mr Ruddock) does regularly—and he works very hard and puts forward a view of support for multiculturalism. But it is another thing when you are out there, when you see a political advantage, to do a sleazy deal with One Nation over preferences in Queensland and foreshadowing sleazy deals at the federal level.

Malcolm Fraser has great integrity saying this because he has been there and done that. We all remember—and, indeed, remember well—his stance against apartheid in South Africa. We well remember that the two leaders who refused to condemn apartheid and did not grace themselves in that debate against that disgraceful regime in South Africa were Margaret Thatcher and, of course, John Howard, in his previous incarnation as Leader of the Opposition, when he failed to take on the apartheid regime. In terms of Malcolm Fraser’s comments, he makes it clear:

Politicians in many things are pragmatic and indeed must be. That implies an element of compromise but there are basic beliefs, basic principles, which cannot be compromised. Opposition to racism is perhaps the most important of such principles.

And he says:

Placing One Nation before the Australian Labor Party implies a respectability to One Nation which that party does not deserve.

Frankly, parties which do have a racist agenda do need to be put last. I, along with all Labor Party candidates across this nation, will certainly be putting One Nation last at the coming federal election.

It is not just an issue of conscience. One would have thought that those opposite would have recognised that there is also an economic imperative because it embarrasses our international standing in the region and, indeed, in the world. I have travelled overseas as a representative of this parliament. When I went to South Africa and met with leaders of the now ANC controlled government there, one issue kept coming up. That issue was Pauline Hanson, One Nation and what Australia was doing about it. They want to know about it.

When you travel in Asia and talk to the leaders there, they will ask, `What is the phenomenon of this woman running this agenda and why is it that she hasn’t been isolated by decent, fair-minded Australians?’ The fact is that John Howard has form on this issue, on the issue of Asian immigration, on the issue of South Africa and on the issue of his failure to condemn Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech and his failure to distance the government and all decent Australians from that agenda.

People of goodwill should be demanding that the Liberal and National parties distance themselves from One Nation. Do not go down this opportunistic road because, at the end of it, we are all diminished as a nation by this opportunistic coalition in terms of preferences between the Liberal and National parties and One Nation. Malcolm Fraser has really highlighted, and done Australia a great service in highlighting today, the disgraceful actions of this Prime Minister (Mr Howard) and of the government parties in Queensland. (Time expired)