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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Authority. If Palmer United had not saved them then, the Prime Minister could not have changed the government policy to support them in 2016. I also announced, against the wishes of the Abbott government, that Palmer United senators would vote in the Senate to abolish the carbon tax to ensure that the savings in the reduction of the carbon tax would be passed on to consumers of electricity and gas. Palmer United votes in the Senate were essential for those decisions. The Parliamentary Library has estimated that the savings to consumers by Palmer United staying firm and ensuring savings were passed on were $1.6 billion. Palmer United effectively reduced electricity prices across Australia by 10 per cent. Palmer United provided the key votes to abolish the mining tax, to free up investment in Australian projects. Palmer United led the charge against the 2014 budget and highlighted to all Australians that Australia’s debt was amongst the lowest in the OECD. In 2014 we campaigned for pens instead of pencils to be used in future federal elections to mark ballot papers. Palmer United worked hard to stop the GP co-payment, which would have made visits to the doctor unaffordable for our disadvantaged and elderly population, and our votes in the Senate were crucial. I remember giving a speech in the House about education. Palmer United stopped changes to universities, much to the disappointment of the then education minister. The 2014 budget had over $10 billion in cuts to social security, requiring unemployed people under the age of 30 to wait six months for the dole. Decisive action by our party ensured that these measures would not be passed and therefore not implemented by the government. Palmer United saved the low income super contribution for over two million Australians, keeping $1 billion in their pockets. It is pleasing to see that the Treasurer has adopted this policy and continued it in the budget last night—only changing the name to claim credit. The Prime Minister believes in innovation, but innovation does not put food on the table. We voted in the Senate to keep the schoolkids bonus, saving Australians a further $1 billion a year to support their children when they go to school. It is a disgrace that neither Labor nor Liberal party is going to the election with a policy to maintain this bonus for our families. We kept the low income support contribution, of which $1.8 million is paid to Australians each year. It was our votes that did that in the Senate. We need in this country more love and forgiveness and more compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves. A Palmer United deal with the government freed over 436 children and families from detention. We freed 1,500 people in total from Christmas Island. Following an arrangement with the then immigration minister, Palmer United supported legislation in the Senate that resulted in 30,000 detention cases finally being resolved. It was the Palmer United initiative which resulted in the introduction of the SHEV, the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa. Palmer United made 15 changes and amendments in the Senate on Direct Action legislation and passed it. We have watched and seen how Direct Action has succeeded in reducing Australia’s emissions. As part of the deal, the Climate Change Authority was to conduct and is still conducting a study into the introduction of an ETS in Australia. Palmer United kept hope alive for the introduction of an ETS in Australia. The CCA plans to report to the parliament after the next election. Palmer United supported changes to pensions for all veterans and ex-service men and women over 55. Palmer United initiated by agreement with the government, the opposition and others for three parliamentary inquiries: one into trade investment and growth, one into the Australia Fund and one into the Queensland government. Palmer United acted through me to introduce a bill in respect of the foreign death penalty. We have protected maritime workers’ jobs, and our votes in the Senate were crucial in keeping Qantas Australian-owned. In the Senate, we stopped changes to the income tax threshold and the extension of the pension age to 70. We saved jobs in the Australian offshore gas industry—you can look at the voting record on that in the Senate. Palmer United successfully voted against slashing university research grants. Earlier this year I delivered a speech on gender equality, and the following month I asked the Prime Minister two questions pointing out that there needed to be a minimum of 40 per cent minority gender on all Commonwealth The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 125


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