Bob Katter MP – referencing Gaza in a speech on the Digital ID Bill 2024

May 15, 2024

Who would trust a government that has backed Gaza? Would you trust those people? They’re justifying the murder of 1,200 innocent people with no provocation whatsoever, and they’re out there barracking for Gaza. Would you trust that government? I wouldn’t.

Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (12:26): To the speakers supporting this bill: maybe the education system doesn’t have Brave New World or 1984 on their reading lists. But in Queensland, up until the nineties, anyway, I can assure you they were on the reading list, and every child, every young person, in Queensland, read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984. The characterisation in those books, as in all the movies that have been made about these two wonderful books, was: Big Brother is watching. You people are advocating Big Brother watching. These people will win the next election, and you’ll see what it’s like when they have access to every movement that you make.

An honourable member interjecting

Mr KATTER: Unlike you, I happen to be a very strong trade union man. We’ve had to have discussions in situations that were very, very prickly. They didn’t want to see, and I didn’t want to see, anyone looking in on our discussions. But there’s no privacy now. You’ve taken our privacy away.

I sat in the room when we were assured that the gun laws would not interfere with your personal freedoms and your right to protect yourself in your own home. We’re now putting before the Queensland parliament the Castle Law, which has been the law of the British tradition since Magna Carta—your right to protect yourself in your own home. The Liberals are not voting for it—they’re too scared—and, of course, Labor is opposing it, as usual. You know the three famous assurances: ‘I’ll respect you in the morning’; ‘The check’s in the mail’; and ‘I’m from the government; I’m here to help you. I’m from the government; you can trust me.’ Under the gun laws, a government authority can walk into your home any time they like. Did we lose our rights to privacy, freedom and the idea that an Englishman’s home is his castle? Of course we lost all those rights.

On Telstra, I said: ‘You’ve got to be joking, Mr Prime Minister. If you privatise Telstra, how the hell are we going to get services in our little towns, on our station properties, in our remote areas and in mining? How are we going to get coverage?’ The former Prime Minister, John Howard, assured me—and he’s a very good man and a very good Australian; please don’t take my remarks as being critical—saying, ‘No, no, no Bob. We are putting universal service obligations in there.’ Go and tell that to people in Julia Creek or the people in the Gulf Country. What use are the universal service obligations? If you trust the government with your freedoms, you are a fool and you betray the people that you represent. Not one person in the ALP has had the guts to stand up on the issue, and I would suspect that many of them are not on side with this proposal.

Having said those things, freedom is a real issue in Australia today. My grandchildren were coming up a few years ago. I said: ‘Oh, beauty! I’ll get out the air rifles and we’ll shoot a few toads.’ My wife informed me that boys below the age of 13 or 15—whatever it is—are not allowed to use any firearm whatsoever. ‘Yeah, but this is a 70-year-old air rifle!’ ‘They’re not allowed to use them.’ So that freedom is gone for every generation of Queenslanders who live in a small town. He had his air rifle and, later on, his .22—well, that one’s gone. I said, ‘Alright, I’ll set up the flying fox and—zoom, zoom, zoom—splash in the swimming pool.’ She said: ‘No, you’d have to take the panel off the fence. If you take the panel off the fence, that’s illegal.’ ‘But they’re not going to inspect it. We’re out of town.’ She said: ‘They came and inspected it last week, and they informed us that our fence was 2½ centimetres below what it should be. They want the whole fence replaced’—at a cost of $3,500.

That’s not the end of it. I said, ‘We’ll start work on the second stage of the tree house.’ ‘Uh-uh. A kid fell out of a tree house in Brisbane two months ago. Tree houses are banned.’ Tree houses are banned. Grandad’s 70-year-old air rifle is banned from shooting toads. I’m not allowed to use the swimming pool. I said, ‘Alright, we’ll just go down the flat and boil the billy.’ The most iconic Australian scene is boiling the billy. We should teach all our grandkids how to boil a billy and make a bit of damper. My wife said: ‘No, you have to get a permit to light a fire in the open. It will take at least three months for the permit to come through.’ A free country? You people in this place and in the state houses have never understood freedom. You’ve had such an abundance of freedom in this country that you have a cavalier attitude towards it. And you are paying a terrible penalty. When government officials can walk into my house at any time they like, I am already paying a terrible price for freedom.

Every single school child in Queensland was made to read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four because it is an important part of your understanding of freedom. That was why it was on the reading list for every single kid that ever went through schooling in Queensland’s history. You people either don’t understand it or haven’t read it, because, when your party says to go ahead with some stupid, ridiculous, terrible infringement of our freedoms, you just do it—and you don’t even kick up a stink! You’re not even game to open your mouths in the party rooms. I was in a party room for 30 years. The people who I selected to go into the ministry in Queensland were the people who did stand up in the party room, because I knew that, when we went out in the public arena, they were going to stand up for the principles that they believed in. We were born and birthed in freedom in our country, and we never had to fight for it like the Americans. They had to fight for it twice: freedom for the black people and freedom for themselves from the pernicious rule of Great Britain.

While I’m on the subject, I can’t help but mention that we have a lot of growing up to do as a country. Any country that would put a foreign monarch on their coin says (a) you do not believe that all people are born free and equal, and (b) you do not believe that we’re a separate country. You cannot put a monarch of England on your coin and say that you’re a separate country. It is not Australian. And yet that’s what you’re going to do.

And it’s the same with freedom. You haven’t grown up—you’re not like France or America or even Britain. You can criticise Oliver Cromwell if you like. You can criticise the founders of the Magna Carta, or Archbishop Langton, the region of England—you can criticise them, but you enjoy those freedoms. Remember, every freedom that you enjoy has been bought with the blood of hundreds of thousands of martyrs, and you come into this place and just fritter it away until you’ve got no freedoms left.

I use the example of my grandkids coming home. Freedom? Is this a free country! I would say that Queensland would be the most un-freest society on earth. Queensland is worse than the other states. We have had more government for a longer period than the other states. So I would say that. And if you are to fire me then you start the argument. You give me an argument. Here you are taking away our right to privacy, and to some degree I’d say it’s the most powerful right that we still enjoy. Well, it’s gone. Big Brother will be watching you every inch of the day in facial recognition. In China, the leader in this area—the great leader is China, a country that’s noted for its freedoms and respect for humanity. They’re the world leaders and you’ll get their technology from them, and they’ll have access to your technology.

I stand up with a rage and fury in my soul. I lived in the freest country on earth, the state of Queensland, which had the great Theodore Labor government, for 40 years, outside of Brisbane. Take this point, you politicians: Theodore Labor outside of Brisbane won every seat, every election for 40 years. There’s nothing like it I can find in human history, because he gave us great and wonderful freedoms. You could get a miner’s right and you could go anywhere you liked in Queensland unless it was freehold land—95 per cent of the land in Queensland is pastoral lease, so you could go anywhere that you liked. And, all right, I might say that you let the cattle owner know that you’re going on to his place, but that was an incredible freedom. You could just go anywhere that you liked, and what a wonderful country. I could carry my rifle anywhere I liked.

And for those of you who say, ‘That’s a freedom you have to sacrifice for the security of the people!’, in Queensland, we had eight deaths with guns when we had no laws at all. I walked into a sports shop to buy a pair of socks and I saw an AK-47 rifle so I bought the AK-47 rifle instead of my socks, and threw it in the back of the car at the Gold Coast over Christmas. I threw it if the back of the car and drove around all day with an AK-47 and 350 rounds of ammunition. We had eight deaths with guns. In New South Wales, if we had eight deaths, they should have had 16. They didn’t have 16. They didn’t have 26 or 36. They had 38 deaths with guns, with very strict laws. Victoria, with draconian laws had 54 deaths with guns. Taking away that freedom—what did it achieve? It achieved an increase in the number of deaths with guns. And that is the same in Europe—the same phenomenon occurs—and it’s the same in America. I absolutely love the arguments.

This is a story about freedom. That’s what we’re talking about here. In America, they say: ‘Oh, it’s terrible! Deaths with guns is horrific!’ But have a look where they’re occurring: in North Dakota and South Dakota there have been no deaths in the last two years. Guess who’s got the highest gun registration in the world? It’s North Dakota and South Dakota. Washington DC has the highest death rate, where guns are almost banned.

You are taking away our right to privacy, our right to freedom. And I don’t know about other people in this place, but I’ve had to have very delicate negotiations to head off some very harmful strikes, and in other cases to turn on some very harmful strikes to get rights for our workers and people that were working in very dangerous conditions. I don’t want to have anyone looking in on those discussions. Matters are sub judice. We’re not supposed to interfere in the course of justice, but there would not be a person in this place that hasn’t, at some time, pleaded a case where there’s a great injustice occurring and tried to head it off. And now it will be on the register and you will go to jail when you do those things, because interfering in the course of justice is an unlawful and jailable offence.

I could give you a hundred examples of where your freedom is going to vanish. It is not funny to say, ‘I’m from the government. Trust me,’ and that’s exactly what the last two ALP speakers were saying: ‘We’re from the government. You can trust us.’ Who would trust a government that has backed Gaza? Would you trust those people? They’re justifying the murder of 1,200 innocent people with no provocation whatsoever, and they’re out there barracking for Gaza. Would you trust that government? I wouldn’t. Would you trust a government that has closed mines and intends to close all of the coalmines in Queensland, putting— (Time expired)

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