Friday, April 15, 2022

Pauline Hanson's election plan to reduce Australia's refugee intake and only allow 'highly skilled migrants from culturally cohesive countries'

Pauline Hanson is fighting to hold her seat in the Senate at the May election with a suite of populist policies including reducing migration and foreign ownership.

The One Nation leader, who founded her party in 1997 and has been a senator since 2016, also wants to build more coal-fired power stations and stop disabled people charging taxpayers for sex workers.

Senator Hanson has been a vocal opponent of vaccine mandates and draconian Covid restrictions and wants a royal commission into government responses to the virus.

Here Daily Mail Australia takes a look at the policies she has announced so far.

Foreign ownership

One Nation wants to ban foreigners from owning homes in Australia. Under current laws non-residents cannot buy existing homes but can purchase newbuilds and vacant land in a policy that boosts construction and helps fund housing supply.

One Nation wants to 'stop the sale of property to non-residents and non-citizens'.

It also wants to ban foreign investment in essential services including power, water, telecommunications, roadways, and ports.

The party would also demand a 'full disclosure of water ownership and ban the sale of water to foreign investors.'

Net-zero immigration

One Nation wants to overhaul the nation's immigration system to make sure the number of people coming in is the same as the number leaving the country. This would lead to the population declining over time due to falling birth rates.

The party would only allow 'highly skilled migrants from culturally cohesive countries' into Australia. They would be required to speak a 'sound level' of English.

One Nation also wants to limit unemployment benefits to three years in any given five-year period for people under 50.


One Nation wants to withdraw Australia from the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention which outlines countries' legal obligations to protect refugees.

The convention says that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.

Pauline Hanson wants to reduce Australia's refugee intake for five years. Australia currently takes in 13,700 refugees a year.

More coal power

One Nation wants to build new coal-fired power stations, which will likely require taxpayer subsidies given a lack of private sector enthusiasm due to climate change.

Senator Hanson also wants to beef-up onshore oil reserves to have a 90 days worth of fuel in the country.

She also wants to investigate building nuclear power plants.

One Nation is sceptical about man-made climate change and wants Australia to withdraw from the United Nations Paris Agreement signed in 2016.


Apologies galore

Sorry to say this – but apologies by political figures seem to have become completely meaningless.

In a visit to Northern NSW in early March the Prime Minister apologised to flood figures, saying ‘every federal government would always be apologetic, and would always apologise that you’re never going to be able to provide enough support in these situations. That’s why I do apologise’.

If ever there was an act of God that could not be predicted nor planned for, it was the torrent of rain that produced the floods in south eastern Queensland and northern NSW. The notion of having to apologise for not being able to immediately restore everything to normal seems an extraordinary proposition.

Apologies now seem to be a regular duty for prime ministers and politicians generally. Earlier, in February, Scott Morrison apologised to staff members who had worked in the parliament over the years and been subjected to bullying and harassment. Having worked in the Old Parliament House in 1975 I was rather surprised to be the subject of an apology and, the more so, because I had never been bullied or harassed by anyone during that time.

Another general apology – on behalf of all Australians – was made by the Prime Minister in October 2018 to the victims of child sexual abuse over many decades. Everyone would naturally feel enormous sympathy for these victims, but it is important to note that the abuse was carried out by a relatively small group of individuals who administered government and private, particularly religious, institutions. The great majority of Australians had never engaged in this kind of conduct but the apology seemed to be premised on this and earlier generations being responsible for the activities of those who had committed serious crimes. These crimes were, of course, covered up by the institutions in question but this was again the conduct of a small number of administrators and it is hard to see how the Australian population generally could have any responsibility for this.

These last two apologies by the Prime Minister addressed matters of relatively recent history but the apology for events of ancient history has also been much in vogue in recent times. In March of this year, for example, the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, addressed the Scottish Parliament and apologised for the Witchcraft Act of 1563. This legislation made witchcraft or consulting with witches a capital offence and resulted in the execution of an estimated 2,500 persons, mostly women, over the next two centuries. These were terrible times – like almost all times in human history – but it is difficult to see the utility of an apology to persons who have been dead in many cases for almost five hundred years by a government that was separated by nearly five centuries from the events which were the subject of the apology.

A mere three and a half centuries separated the apology by Pope John Paul II in 1992 for the Vatican’s trial of Galileo in 1633 for maintaining that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa. Galileo spent the rest of his days under a form of house arrest but he might have considered himself very fortunate not to have been burnt in the public square – the fate of many of those accused of heresy at this time.

Almost two centuries ago in 1833 slavery was abolished by the British Parliament in almost all parts of the Empire but, when Prince William visited Jamaica in March on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of that country’s independence, he was confronted by demands from a number of Jamaican leaders for an apology, presumably by the Queen, in relation to the existence of slavery in Jamaica in the 17th and 18th centuries.

No doubt the current British government and almost all inhabitants of the British Isles would condemn the institution of slavery but it is nearly 200 years since it was tolerated by any British administration.

Long before admissions of historic guilt became fashionable, the drafting of apologies was something of an art form in the law of defamation. In addition to demands for financial damages, most persons who claim to have been defamed by a particular publication also ask for an apology conceding that the allegations made in the publication are false. Even if provided, these apologies are seldom effective for two reasons. The first is that many of those who saw the original publication will not see the apology, particularly if, as is often the case, the allegations were made on the front page of a newspaper and the apology is in a small box on some internal page. The second reason is that apologies in this area seldom say straight out that the original allegations were false but rather say that the publication did not intend to make those allegations of misconduct – which both parties know it clearly did.

The apology is only provided, of course, to avoid litigation or to lessen the award of damages for which the defendant is liable if litigation proceeds and is successful. There is certainly nothing heartfelt about expressions of regret in the law of libel!

So even in the case of recent damaging allegations against individuals the value of apologies might be doubted. But, in the case of apologies by governments to whole classes of victims there seems little benefit in expressions of regret, particularly when the government itself has no responsibility for what has occurred. And this is even more true when the events took place hundreds of years ago so that all the victims are long gone and the apologising government cannot have the slightest connection with these past instances of oppression.

The last word might be left to P.G. Wodehouse: ‘It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them’.


NT and federal governments sign major deal to accelerate fracking in the Beetaloo Basin

Two days before going into caretaker mode ahead of the election, the federal government signed off on the joint $872 million deal to accelerate gas production in the Beetaloo Basin, about 500 kilometres south-east of Darwin.

As part of the agreement, the federal government said it would contribute $660 million and the NT government has allocated $212 million, with plans to boost gas supply from the NT to Australia's east coast by 2024.

The deal pulls together more than $550 million in already announced projects to boost the Northern Territory's renewable energy supply and security, as well as investing in technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

It also includes $300 million to support the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen, as part of a $1.5 billion plan for Darwin's Middle Arm precinct revealed in the latest federal budget.

It marks the latest push by the federal government to accelerate fracking — a controversial drilling technique — in the Beetaloo Basin, under its plans for a gas-led recovery out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Large green well head sticking out of the ground, surrounded by chainlink fence topped with barbed wire
Fracking remains an ongoing political issue in the NT.(Supplied: Brendan Egan)
It follows previous funding intended to speed up development in the area, including money for road upgrades and subsidies for gas companies' exploration activities, and builds on recently promised federal support for new port facilities in Darwin Harbour.

Exploration is currently underway to frack the Beetaloo Basin, and the government has said the new supply target will reflect the proven findings of that exploration.

Senate inquiry into Beetaloo Basin
Politicians, environmentalists, traditional owners and gas company representatives have arrived in Darwin for a public hearing into the Beetaloo Basin.

In a statement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the agreement was "about seizing the opportunities in the Territory to deliver a stronger economy and a stronger future, by investing in a new hydrogen industry and the Beetaloo to grow jobs and the local economy".

"This is also about ensuring households, businesses, and industries in the territory get a fair deal on energy, and more affordable, reliable power," he said.

Speaking on ABC Radio Darwin this morning, NT Environment Minister Eva Lawler said the NT government had been negotiating the deal with the Commonwealth for nearly two years.

"We literally have been negotiating tooth and nail and it came down to the wire but we did get a better deal for the Northern Territory," she said.

Ms Lawler said the NT government has been "very clear about" supporting the onshore oil and gas industry, provided all 135 recommendations outlined in the Pepper Inquiry were implemented.

Among those commitments is Recommendation 9.8, which states that:

"both the NT and Australian governments must seek to ensure there is no net increase in the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions emitted in Australia from any onshore shale gas produced in the NT".

This commitment is of particular concern to scientists and environmental groups, who fear fracking will fast-track the warming effects of climate change.

Ms Lawler said "we have to make sure that those 135 recommendations are comprehensively implemented, so that's the work that's absolutely being pushed ahead".

"Recommendation 9.8 was part of that agreement as well, making sure that the proponents and the federal government adhere to our net zero 2050 target," she said.


Federal election 2022: Asylum seekers and forests dangerous territory for the Labor Party

Tuning in to the duelling press conferences on the campaign trail on Thursday, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a re-run of the 2001 or 2004 election campaigns — stopping the asylum-seeker boats and either saving (or investing in) Tasmania’s forests and timber industry.

This is exactly where the Liberals want to be, and has proven in the past to be dangerous, and even election-losing ground, for the Labor Party.

While no fatal damage was done to Labor on Thursday, it was a brutal reminder of how effective the Liberal machine is at sniffing out and exploiting perceived Labor weaknesses.

First, Labor leader Anthony Albanese, giving his strongest performance since his brain-fade on Monday, was asked a question about whether he would support offshore processing of asylum-seekers. He replied that they would not be needed, because “we’ll turn boats back.’’

While Labor has no plans to change its support of the Coalition’s tough border policies, Albanese needed to be clearer in his statement.

The Coalition quickly seized upon the sliver of daylight between the policy and Albanese’s words, with Defence Minister Peter Dutton claiming people smugglers would be “leaping off their couch’’ in glee.

Morrison accused Albanese of being a “weathervane’’ and flip-flopping on the issue, and used it as an opportunity to talk up his own success in stopping the boats when he was immigration minister back in the Abbott Government days.

What Albanese actually said yesterday was: “Turning boats back means that you don‘t need offshore detention.’’

He later reinforced he would continue to support offshore processing centres.

Then it was on to forests. Labor didn’t get drawn into this one.

But Morrison, campaigning in the marginal Liberal seat of Bass in Northern Tasmania, announced more than $200 million for the timber industry, including a new research hub in Launceston.

Appearing in the yard of a timber company, Morrison stated “we’re making sure we don’t support any shutdown of state forest industries … we will not support any shutdowns of native forestry.’’

No-one is calling for a shutdown of native forestry of state forest industries, but Morrison appeared to be getting in a pre-emptive strike.




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