Reducing the deficit (2017): I negotiated to remove childcare subsidies for families earning more than $350,000, saving $100 million over the first three years.
Protecting journalists (2017): In response to a written request to the Attorney General, I extracted a commitment to remove the offence of journalists disclosing information about Australian the Federal Police’s ‘controlled operations’, in instances where no-one is endangered and no operation is prejudiced.
Reducing red tape (2016): I established a Senate Select Committee on Red Tape to inquire into the effect of restrictions and prohibitions on business (red tape) on the economy and community.
Reducing red tape for farmers (2016): As part of the backpacker tax negotiations, I extracted a commitment from Government to: (i) stop the ATO passing taxpayer information to the Fair Work Ombudsman, who would use the information to enforce minimum wage, penalty rate and award wage compliance; and (ii) stop the publication of the names and addresses of employers who employ foreigners on working holiday visas. These two commitments are reflected in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Working Holiday Maker Employer Register) Bill 2017.
Protecting freedoms and Government accountability (2016): As part of the negotiations over the Australian Building and Construction Commission, I achieved (i) the removal of a reverse onus of proof in the ABCC Bill, which had required employees to prove instances where there is an imminent risk to safety; (ii) the holding of open community forums by the ABC and SBS, including in regional areas, at no additional cost to taxpayers; (iii) a commitment from the Government to impose principles of openness in its federal courts dealing with suppression orders, and to promoting reform to suppression order regimes at the state level; and (iv) a commitment from the Government to report government spending and tax in real per capita terms, to demonstrate the expanding size of government.
Cost/benefit analysis on foreign ownership laws (2016): In 2016, I amended the bill that requires foreign owners to report their ownership of water rights so that a register of such foreign ownership of water rights can be published. The amendment requires the Productivity Commission to hold an inquiry within three years into the costs and benefits of the register and the associated imposition on foreigners. The amendment also requires the Productivity Commission to make recommendations on the issue. (see new section 34A of the Register of Foreign Ownership of Water or Agricultural Land Act 2015).
Protecting freedom of the press (2016): After I opposed the 2014 introduction of an offence for reporting on ASIO operations, and after I continued to put pressure on the Government on this issue throughout 2015, it agreed to wind back the offence for reporting on ASIO operations in 2016. Now there is no offence for a journalist reporting on ASIO’s ‘special intelligence operations’, provided that no-one is endangered and no operation is prejudiced.
Supporting recreational shooters (2016): In 2016 I secured a 50 year lease for the NSW Rifle Association to the ANZAC Rifle Range on Malabar Headland in Sydney. This followed significant pressure to eject shooters from a range, including significant decisions by the Supreme Court. The range has been used since the 1850s. There are 60,000 recreational shooters in Sydney, and this range is central to the future of shooting in NSW.
Lowering taxes (2016): After I lobbied a series of Assistant Treasurers, the Government agreed to remove the requirement that an individual must earn less than 10 per cent of their income from employment-related activities to be able to deduct a personal contribution to superannuation. This cut tax by $850 million over three years.
Reducing red tape on business (2015): In 2015, I delayed by 12 months the commencement of a burdensome law prescribing how contracts with small business must be written, to allow time for contracts to be re-written.
Establishing and chairing the inquiry into the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin plan (2015): I established an inquiry that examined the effect on regional communities of the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, making 31 recommendations.
Representing farmers (2014): I established an inquiry into agricultural levies, which found that farmers were paying a lot of money but had very little say over either its payment or use. The inquiry recommended that, among other things, information on levy payers and the amount they paid should be provided to Research and Development Corporations so that two-way communication between levy payers and those who spend the levies can improve. The Government accepted the recommendation and passed such a law in 2016.
Establishing the inquiry into the governance of wind turbines (2014): I established an inquiry into the governance of wind turbines. In 2015 the inquiry recommended that research be undertaken to fill the current gap in research regarding personal impacts from the nearby operation of wind turbines, and that a commissioner be appointed to ensure such concerns are investigated. I lobbied the Government on behalf of the crossbench, which agreed to the recommendations, appointed a commissioner, and has commissioned research.
- Stopping government-sanctioned torture (2014): I forced the Government to amend its own national security law that would have allowed ASIO to torture people.
A key vote in the Senate
I voted against Labor and the Greens to successfully:
- abolish the carbon tax;
- abolish the mining tax;
- reintroduce temporary protection visas;
- reduce the burden of the renewable energy target by including energy from wood waste;
- protect volunteer firefighters;
- reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission;
- increase obligations on registered organisations such as unions;
- allow catch-up concessional contributions to superannuation;
- reduce government spending by limiting eligibility for a Seniors Health Card;
- abolish the ‘Health Workforce Australia’ organisation;
- abolish the the National Water Commission;
- allow payments to disabled workers as an alternative to court action over minimum wages;
- limit strikes outside of bargaining periods; and
- abolish price floors for the jobs trucking contractors can take (‘safe rates’ legislation).
I voted with Labor and the Greens to successfully:
- prevent mandatory sentencing for firearms trafficking; and
- defend Freedom of Information laws (did not go to vote due to insufficient support).
Uncovering problems and pushing solutions
Introduced bills to legalise e-cigarettes (2017): I introduced a bill to legalise e-cigarettes, which are currently illegal to sell.
Establishing the inquiry into red tape (2016): I established an inquiry into red tape, which I currently chair. The inquiry will highlight red tape issues surrounding the sale, supply and taxation of alcohol; tobacco retailing; environmental assessment and approvals; and retail trading.
Establishing the "Nanny State" Inquiry (2015): I established a nanny state inquiry that highlighted nanny state issues including laws on bicycle helmets, alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and the classification of publications, films and computer games.
Establishing an inquiry into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (2015): I established an inquiry into the Murray Darling Basin Plan that highlighted the damage to Basin communities from the diversion of irrigation water.
Forcing the discussion around charging a tariff fee for immigrants (2014): I negotiated a Productivity Commission inquiry into the option of using a tariff rather than a quota to limit and select immigrants. The Commission did not recommend this approach, citing political difficulties, but nonetheless demonstrated that the budget could be balanced and debt repaid if migrants are charged a fee for entry that constrained migration at current levels.
Preventing further restrictions on shooters (2014): I ensured an inquiry into illicit firearms established by the Greens was ineffective in recommending further restrictions on the law-abiding shooting community.
Introduced bills to abolish Section 18c (2014): I introduced bills to abolish section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, to reduce penalty rates, to allow the territories to amend their own laws on assisted suicide, and to legalise same sex marriage.
- Remained true to my principles: I have supported every cut to spending, red tape and taxation, and have opposed every increase. I am the lone, consistent voice for freedom.
Voting for what is right, (but going down in tight votes)
More Liberal Democrats required!!
I voted against Labor and the Greens when they attempted to:
- retain taxpayer subsidies to public university students;
- prevent a plebiscite on same sex marriage;
- retain the Education Investment Fund;
- block withholding the dole for 8 weeks from someone who refuses suitable work;
- prevent abolition of the Preventative Health Agency;
- prevent cutting the dole for jobseekers under 25, increase waiting periods for welfare and freeze welfare indexation;
- prevent requiring more independent directors on superannuation boards; and
- prevent allowing foreign ships to regularly service Australian ports and allow Australian ships to pay staff less when competing for international voyages.
I voted with Labor and the Greens when they attempted to:
- stop the $5 increase in the passenger movement charge and stop the Direct Action Plan/Emissions Reduction Fund.
- prevent the injection of an additional $5 billion into Commonwealth school funding, given that school funding does not drive school performance.