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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES If there was any doubt about the Prime Minister’s misogyny, that doubt has now been removed by the introduction of this bill. How can it be that there are so many capable and competent female members of the government on the backbench, and such a lack of representation of women in cabinet? That is a matter of serious concern. Role models are important for our society and for our children. We need strong women in cabinet and a lot of them, so that we have role models— Mr Brough: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I do not do this lightly. I do not wish to offend the member for Fairfax, but he has just made a reflection upon the Prime Minister which is totally inappropriate and I would ask him to withdraw. The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): The member for Fairfax would assist the chamber if he would withdraw the reflection on the Prime Minister. Mr PALMER: Well, seeing as you ask me, Mr Deputy Speaker, I withdraw it. The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank the member for Fairfax. Mr PALMER: We need strong women in cabinet and a lot of them so that we have role models for our children and so that they can contribute to the debate in the nation. To pay a greater benefit to wealthier women and a lesser rate to poorer women only lessens these poorer women and the respect that they have for themselves. Citizens are discriminated against by this legislation. Palmer United senators have resolved not to support this legislation in the Senate. A stay-at-home mum working hard every day for her family and Australia would get paid nothing under this legislation. It discriminates against people from the country, people in the regions, who may be engaged in a family farm—they would not be recognised as being entitled to the same benefits as a woman lawyer, a Liberal Party voter, living in the city. Regardless of the income of their mothers, a mother’s love is what sustains our children. The content of a person’s character is far more important than the size of their bank accounts or how much money they are earning each week. The cost of the Paid Parental Leave Scheme has been estimated at $20 billion for the first few years. Yet they say we have a budget problem. This measure would pay 50 per cent of a free university education for all our students in the country. The cost of one year’s unemployment is equivalent to the cost of 12 years’ education. A strong education policy is not only good social policy; it is great economic policy. How can we divide our people into rich and poor? How can the government declare a class war? The former Labor Treasurer declared a class war against me during the last parliament. We need to unite all Australians and unite them for a common purpose. All Australian babies are created equal, with the same rights as all Australians: the right to a fair go; the right to life in an independent country. How can the government pay more money for babies of wealthy Australians and less money for babies of poorer Australians? What sort of message does that send to Australia? What sort of a message does that send to our neighbours in the region? We need a more compassionate and caring approach that deals with the rights of all our citizens. We want all women to be loved and respected, put in cabinet, allowed to participate in all the important decisions of the government. How can the Liberal Party reduce tax on the one hand and introduce new taxes not just in the form of paid parental leave which will be taxing our businesses but a debt tax as well, which is an imagined, illusionary tax when there are no real debt problems in Australia. The Liberal Party is the party of Bob Menzies, Malcolm Fraser, Harold Holt, John Gorton and John Howard; the party of low taxation; the party which now increases tax. Shame on the Liberal Party! Shame! Shame on deserting the hopes and aspirations of all its members! The government should be ashamed of what it has done to all its members. Let’s not divide our community. Let’s not put a different monetary value on our children. We need to unite our country rich or poor, black or white, men or women. 86 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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