Episode 61

VOICE OVER:   Trigger warning! This podcast contains more common sense than most people can cope with. If you can't handle the truth, stop listening now. The Conservative Revolution starts here. This is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense with Cory Bernardi.

CORY BERNARDI:   Hello everyone, it’s Cory Bernardi here. Welcome to another Weekly Dose of Common Sense, great to have you tuning in.

Like most pollies, I’m on the campaign trail still. Although, this time I’m in a hotel room rather than in a car with a towel over my head so forgive me if the technology is not up-to-scratch as it normally is, but eventually I’ll get back to the bunker where the studio is and we’ll get back to transmission as normal. In the meantime, I’m travelling the length and breadth of the country; I’m speaking to groups of Australians, large groups, small groups, community meetings, town hall meetings, identifying what their deepest concerns are and I’ve got to tell you, their deepest concerns are for the future of this country.

Overwhelmingly, people think politics and politicians have become less credible and less relevant to them than ever before. It’s like we occupy – we, as in ‘politicians’ – a parallel universe where normality doesn’t exist.

Well, it’s a huge concern and I get the sense that so many Australians want to punish the current crop of politicians. It’s as if they say, “Well, if you’re not going to be working for me, I’m going to stick it to you by voting for the person who’s going to disrupt the status quo the most.”

Now, I can understand that. I’m a disrupter; I understand that things need to improve. The major parties are haemorrhaging votes – primary votes – they’re going all over the place and people want to inflict a bit of political humiliation, maybe a bit of political pain on the major parties, and who can blame them? But – and there’s a huge but – if you vote for the shrill, the radical or the insurgent, not only will you have a little bit of fun but you risk actually doing a great deal of damage. I say that not lightly because I do like the disruptors; I think we have to remind political parties and politicians who the real masters are. But we’ve also got to be mindful that ultimately the people who suffer from bad governance are us, all of us. Every Australian. And not just this generation, but we’re sowing the seeds for the crop that successive generations will be harvesting.

That’s why it worries me when I see some of the alternatives on offer.

It’s easy to identify the areas of dissatisfaction as a politician. You give voice to them, you identify people’s unhappiness and you say, “Yeah, we should do something about it.” The shriller you are, the more outrageous you are, the more headlines you’re assured of getting and that’s actually the business model for a number of these minor parties. They make outrageous statements to attract media attention, that gets them some votes from some discontented people which delivers taxpayer provided election funding and the cycle continues. It’s not a bad business if you can get into it. It’s proved pretty sustainable and lucrative for some over many, many years. But what they don’t have is actually the policies that can consistently solve problems.

It’s easy to voice a problem or vocalise it; much more difficult to have a solution to it. That actually requires a philosophical framework, a belief system – if I can put it like that – and the application of some core principles.

Now, many politicians think that getting government to do more of the same is somehow going to be a cure for the ills that they created in the first place. They have this supposition that government failure and the problems that we face as a society is actually driven by a lack of spending or resources in government. I think that is perhaps the most dangerous of all political agendas.

Governments are not working for you. Getting them to do more of the same is not going to be in your interest. Most of the problems confronting our nation today were actually created by politicians – well meaning or otherwise; governments – well meaning or otherwise; and big spending programmes – all probably well intentioned but they’ve delivered a nightmare, a disaster, a waste that is unprecedented in the history of this country.

As government has grown and implemented ever more programmes, created more bureaucracy - more little, quasi, non-government organisations to hector and lecture us - our problems have got worse. They haven’t solved too many, I’ve got to tell you. And few people on my travels around this great country of ours ever think government is doing a good job. So, it begs the question: if you don’t think they’re doing a good enough job now, why would you want them to get bigger, more powerful and do more? Won’t they just do more damage?

You put it into retail parlance: if you went into a store that gave you terrible products and terrible service, would you keep going back there to spend more money in the hope that they’re going to improve? Probably not. You’d look around for an alternative. That’s what the Australian people are doing. They know the coalition can’t really be trusted, they know that Labor can certainly not be trusted, so they want an alternative. Unfortunately, those who are capturing the headlines; the shrill, the rich, those that are parroting things hoping you will forget their history, will ultimately do more damage to this country than we currently have been done by politics.

I’ve seen the reactionary nature of it. I’ve seen what they say in public and what they do behind closed doors. I’ve seen how they profess to believe in something but they will compromise and sacrifice it at the slightest resistance or because there’s some short term, political interest in it.

I want to be different to that. I want the Australian Conservatives to be different to that. I want the Australian people to understand that seeking comfort in a short term, smack-in-the-face for the major parties can have long term consequences that are likely to be negative for many of us. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to think seriously about how they’re going to lodge their protest vote.

It’s very easy to say, “I’m not going to vote for the majors and I’ll go with whichever colour scheme: red, green, yellow,” whatever you want to pick. Much more difficult to find someone who stands up for the values that you share, and this is the real challenge. But it’s not that big a deal, it’s actually clear and present to all of us: the Australian Conservatives is the only party of true principle, where our candidates are first-class, our belief system is solid, our policies are considered and proven. We’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re trying to make the wheel turn and right now it’s like politics is building square wheels - we need to make them round again.

It’s a pretty simple premise. I’ll just tell you what I personally believe:

I believe that the greatest social network in the history of the world is actually the family.

I think that supporting free enterprise is the best means of providing jobs. It’s the best means for alleviating poverty and building prosperity for everyone.

I know that the best form of government is actually self-government and this can most responsibly be achieved through developing personal responsibility - holding people accountable for the actions which in turn leads to a more civil society.

We will get better outcomes, we will have happier people, we will have a more responsive government and we’d have a better country if we’d adhere to those principles. It’s a pretty simple ethos but it’s one that’s sustained multiple generations prior to the great, political experiments of recent times; the political experiments that have done so much damage and basically undermined centuries of lived, human existence.

You can make a difference at this election not by experimenting with your vote but by voting for that party - the only party - that is actually built around values, that is built around principles, that has a policy agenda that is entirely mainstream, whose candidates are first-class. A party which does what it says and says what it means. A party of conservatives - people who believe there’s something in this country worth conserving; there’s something in the history of Western Civilisation that is worth conserving.

We want to protect the future for our children. Our policies are proven, our principles and our consistency are rock-solid. This is my promise to you:

The Australian Conservatives will make whatever government the Australian people choose a better one. We will make this country a better country. Your chance to chip-in to that comes on 18 May.

Well, now that’s off my chest we can talk about the rest of the podcast. We’ve got a bit Your Say. We’re going to go through a whole range of different topics, many of them related to the election, of course.

I’m going to play you – I’m not going to say an ‘ad’ because it’s not an ad – a Conservative message that actually appeared on the ABC. Not because they particularly wanted to but because they kind of had to. I think you’ll find that interesting. And there’s going to be so much more as well; we’re going to get into a bit of Australian history.

This is Your Weekly Dose of Common Sense. Thanks for tuning in.

ADVERTISEMENT:   In an age of deals, excuses and short cuts, it's time for a better way. Australia could really do with a new brand of politics: someone that will say what they mean and mean what they say; a party that will never quit, never give up and I know Cory Bernardi and his team of Conservatives will always fight for you. They will fight for affordable and reliable electricity; they will fight for stronger borders and they will stand up to political correctness and defend our Australian values; Australia together. The Australian Conservatives can bring conviction back to Canberra. Authorised by C Bernardi for the Australian Conservatives, Adelaide.

VOICE OVER:   Welcome to the podcast of the only party at this year’s election promising to bring back Common Sense. This is Your Weekly Dose of Common Sense.

CORY BERNARDI:   Well, friends, you can imagine my surprise when I got a letter from Their ABC inviting me to submit a couple of television broadcasts of 90 seconds duration, and a couple of radio broadcasts that they were going to put to air during this election campaign. I mean, it’s about the first time a conservative has been on the ABC in many years – or at least the last 12 months-or-so.

But, it’s something they do offer up to major political parties of course, plus those who have representation in the parliament. And, it’s a privilege that I think is worthy of the national broadcaster to make sure that your political representatives can get their message out there.

So, ours went to air – the first one – last week and of course, Twitter went into melt-down. They were outraged because Their ABC is not a place for conservative messages to be displayed. Nonetheless, we got it to air and I want you to hear it. I hope you enjoy the next 90 seconds which outraged the lefties on the ABC because it’s got more Common Sense in the next minute-and-a-half than they’ve had for a year-and-a-half. Tell me what you think:

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ANNOUNCER:   Here is a broadcast by Cory Bernardi for the Australian Conservatives for the 2019 Federal Election.

CORY BERNARDI:   Do you remember the good old days when electricity and housing where affordable; when jobs were plentiful and cost of living was low? It was a time when our kids learnt to actually read, write and reason at school rather than be used as political pawns. It was a time when politicians were actually working for you rather than for themselves.

But times have changed and common sense is being washed away in a torrent of political correctness. The evidence is there for all to see. Successive governments have made almost everything worse as they perform policy experiments that have hurt us all. Little wonder so many Aussie families and businesses are finding it tough going.

Australia simply can’t afford more of the same.

It’s time to bring back common sense and to stop the political experiments. We need to restore the principles and values that have built our country and can make it stronger.

The Australian Conservatives will keep taxes low and electricity costs even lower. We’ll protect your retirement savings and your job. We will never surrender our sovereignty to the United Nations or allow the Chinese Communist Party to meddle in our affairs.

We’ll make sure immigration is working in your interest. We’ll fight for your freedoms and make sure every Australian gets a fair go.

The Australian Conservatives are running Senate candidates in every state. Our Senators will fight for you and for our country.

So, no matter who you want to form the next government, a vote for the Australian Conservatives in the Senate is a vote to bring back common sense.

VOICE OVER:   Authorised by C Bernardi for the Australian Conservatives, Kent Town.

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VOICE OVER:   If you think politics needs more common sense and less clowns, you’ve come to the right place. This is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense.

CORY BERNARDI:   Got a quick bit of Australian history for you listeners:

Did you know that on 29 April 1770 Lieutenant James Cook, botanist Joseph Banks and the crew of their tall sailing ship HMS Endeavour made their first landing on Australian soil? This is now known as Kurnell Peninsula in Botany Bay, New South Wales.

Cook, of course, first named the bay Stingray’s Harbour but later renamed it Botany Bay after Banks retrieved an incredible range of unique botanical specimens from the area.

And Cook’s first southern expedition which went from ’68 to ’71, rounded Cape Horn – that’s the southern tip of South America – to observe the Transit of Venus at Tahiti near the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He also held a commission to search further west in the South Pacific for Terra Australis; the legendary and rich Great Southern Land.

He found, circumnavigated and mapped New Zealand to confirm that it was not Terra Australis. Cook then sailed west across the Tasman Sea and he first sighted the Australian continent near Point Hicks – which is far-eastern Gippsland – before heading north and mapping the coastline before he sailed into Botany Bay around ten days later.

29 April 1770 – put it in your diaries. Let’s celebrate it! Another great day to unite the country.

I’ll be back.

ADVERTISEMENT:   Make your vote count. Hi, I’m Jonathan Crabtree. No matter who you vote for on the green ballot paper, bring back Common Sense with your Senate vote. Stand up for our freedoms and stronger borders. Vote 1 Australian Conservatives in the Senate.

ADVERTISEMENT (VOICE OVER):   Authorised by J Crabtree. Australian Conservatives, Scarborough.

VOICE OVER:   Keep listening. This is Your Weekly Dose of Common Sense.

CORY BERNARDI:   Well, it’s time for your favourite segment, this is Your Say.

And wasn’t I pleased that Adrian happened to be tuning in to Their ABC – or Their SBS, actually – where they heard our election policy announcement and he says, “Congratulations on a good speech. It was real, it was genuine, it made sense and it told us what you will do for Australia instead of the despicable practice of the major parties of telling us nothing about what they will do, merely defaming – truthfully or otherwise – the other party.

“I’m fed up with fear-mongering, half-truth, negative-campaigning from all sides of politics. I would expect people who are asking me to employ them and entrust them with the welfare of my country to treat me with more respect and credit me with more intelligence.”

Well, thanks, Adrian. You know, there’s a reason why political parties use fear in their campaigns: it’s because it works. It works.

Everyone says they want an optimistic, positive message for the future and that works too, but it’s got to be coupled with, actually, a fear of the alternative. The two major parties are locked in this spiral of, “We’re slightly better in this area; they’re going to be slightly worse. We’ll have slightly smaller tax rises than they’ll have,” and so on. There’s got to be, in my view, a clear difference between the major parties but there’s not. Having said that, there is a clear difference in the Upper House parties. One party is principled, consistent and has good candidates that are of good character ... and then there are other parties.

Lynne, she’s sending me some encouragement, too. She says, “I’ve so long admired your courage and gentlemanly conduct in the face of such determined opposition. At last, I’m letting you know that I’m a staunch supporter, so is my 18-year-old grandson at uni – also struggling with relentless political correctness. Best wishes for success.” I love the idea that I’ve been called ‘courageous and gentlemanly’ in my conduct. Thank you Lynne, I appreciate it. And thank your grandson, too. He’s part of the counter-culture movement; the Conservative movement that’s brewing on campuses across the country as they realise they’ve been sold a dud by the lecturers and governments.

Josh says, “I’m unable to help out physically due to my specific commitments, but I’m more than happy to assist in another way. Can you attach your How to Vote cards to your podcast, emails and various emails from your candidates, and downloadable links on your website for us to distribute them to our contacts on your behalf?” Well, if you go, Josh, to the Conservatives website, you will find How to Vote cards there for every state in Australia. Good voting. Good luck. Please share. It’s easy: just Vote 1 in the Australian Conservatives box on your white Senate ballot paper – the rest is up to you.

Scott says he likes seeing me on Paul Murray Live, “... it’s good to see Common Sense ain’t dead yet, although I do think it’s on its last legs.” Yeah, fair point. “I have a question. I live in Victoria. I’ll be honest, I’ve never voted for an Independent but this year I do not want to vote for Liberal or Labor. I’d like to vote for you. Am I able to do that, and how?” Yes, Scott, you can. Vote 1 on the white Senate ballot paper for the Australian Conservatives and that will support Kevin Bailey who’s an outstanding Victorian – an outstanding Australian, I’ve got to tell you – and we’re privileged to have him as our candidate there in Victoria.

Jack says he’s a “... big fan of the Weekly Dose of Common Sense. What is your stance on Bill Shorten’s attack on smaller accounting firms with a limit to an individual deduction for managing their tax affairs to $3,000?” Well, you know, Jack, for people who have very modest tax affairs, $3,000 seems like a lot of money so I am sure that it will resonate with people who just go to H&R Block and pay a couple of hundred dollars and get it done. But, there are complex tax affairs, I mean, if you have administration of a company, for example, or a family trust, it’s going to cost you every bit of that $3,000. Then, if you multiply that across a couple of family trusts ...

It’s not about ‘tax minimisation’ or ‘tax avoidance’, it’s about the ‘compliance’ that’s necessary, there. I think, once again, you’ve got Big Brother interfering in what is going on. We know that people are misusing some of these sections. We’ve had people that have spent a million dollars to reduce their taxable income to zero and they can only so that because they’ve got a million dollars’ worth of advisers that are there. Now, they’re ripping off the system, themselves. But, in the end, if you’re making a deduction on your personal tax return it’s up to the ATO if they want to question it and they can investigate and do what they need to do. Some would say they’ve got too much power but I don’t think government should be mandating what they should be able to do with your tax affairs, quite frankly. That’s a matter between you and the tax man.

Scott wants to know, “What are your thoughts on the current house pricing with a fall in most major cities? The banks lose too much on these loans and the bank is looking to go bankrupt, will the government bail them out?” Okay, there’s a couple of things in there.

Firstly, the banks have done stress testing, so they can cope with – I think – a 30% fall in house prices. But yes, in the end, the banks won’t go broke because the government will bail them out and they’ll do it with your money. They’ll guarantee your money up to $250,000 but they have implemented what’s called ‘bail in’ provisions. They can actually confiscate your money and use it to support an insolvent bank. Now, seems a bit odd. They did it in Cyprus where people lost up to 10% of their money overnight. Now, I’m not saying it’s going to happen in Australian – I don’t want to be alarmist about that at all – but there does seem to be something wrong when you could lose a whole bunch of your savings overnight because the bank has been betting with your money.

That’s why I think we need a wholesale reform and restructure of the banking sector. Deposit-taking institutions should be effective custodians of your money. They shouldn’t be gambling with it on the share market, on the foreign exchange markets or derivatives or entering into all sort of colaterised debt obligations. Let them borrow from you, keep your money safe, and lend to business and mortgage holders in a prudent fashion. We don’t need bankers speculating with your coin, so a bit of reform there will keep us all a bit safer.

Having said that, we want a profitable banking industry. Nothing worse than a bank that’s not making money and is slowly going broke because we’ll all end up paying for that.

Robert says he’s “... looking forward to working on a booth on election day.” Thank you, thank you, thank you. He says, “I hope lots of your listeners are preparing to do the same.” Well, I hope they are too. Please, if you would like to help out on election day contact your local office of the Australian Conservatives.

He says, “The simplicity of coal comes to mind. Coal, like all fossil fuels, is medium for the storage energy, where we want energy and whatever quantity we want it; that’s why it needs to be stored. The means of storing solar and wind are not available and that makes these forms of energy useless when they’re not operating. The only alternative medium of energy storage to coal is nuclear, as most developed countries have realised. Australia needs to pull its head out of the sand and discuss nuclear.”

Well, you know, that’s true. Some could say gas reserve is a means of storage as well. You’ve actually got on-demand electricity generation; that is what’s critical. You can have nuclear or coal or gas and you can supply electricity in whatever quantities you’re capable of doing and not relying on the weather or the Sun. That’s what makes sense.

We’re crazy. Someone gave me today, a paper on thorium energy. Now, we haven’t had a thorium plant being built but it’s apparently safer, it’s under investigation, it could solve all the world’s energy problems and I’ll look forward to reading that paper with interest.

Harry, he’s a founding member. He’s referred me to an article in The Australian about nuclear energy. Well, I don’t know what the fear is about nuclear energy, Harry. I’m pleased you’re not scared of it because it’s in operation all around the world and we’d be made not to have it as part of our arsenal to lower electricity costs.

Hazel says, “I saw the preview of the TV ad you were going to use in the election campaign but I’m yet to see it on TV. Where is it? Avid viewer of Sky News.” Good on you, Hazel. Thank you. Well, the ad - which is not the ABC ad which I’ve played to you earlier – promoting the Australian Conservatives went to air for the very first time last night. That’s happened in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria at the moment. We’re hoping to get it across regional stations and some of the bigger-city metro ones, as well. Everyone tells me it’s a pretty slick ad. I feel a little bit awkward in it because it’s about me, but, you know, none of us like hearing ourselves or seeing ourselves on camera. Well, maybe some do, but I don’t, anyway.

David says he’s followed up last week about job network members. Now, I said I didn’t know much about it. He says, “... but job network members will not assist people who do not receive welfare. So, once again, if you’re not relying on the government, the government won’t give you any help.” Gee whizz, things are going around in a backward circle.

David says he’s a person in his 50s who has been “... unable to earn an income in over 10 years. My wife earns a moderate salary in state public service that barely meets ordinary living expenses ... makes me ineligible for welfare payments. I describe my situation as in ‘home detention’ ... has led to detrimental health outcomes ironically recently allowing me access to a disability employment service.” Isn’t it extraordinary? Rather than providing a service that will empower you and lift you up, they wait until you fall into a position where you actually desperately need even more assistance. The priorities of government are all wrong – all wrong.

Glenda says, “Thank you for initiation the Senate enquiry into abuses of power and processes by AHPRA,” that’s the health practitioners’ association. “I’m a health professional who put in a submission at that enquiry. Can you please advise me if there’s since been any practical outcome from that enquiry including compensation for those who have been abused?” Glenda, the short answer is: I can’t answer that. Yes, the enquiry has taken place. I haven’t seen the government’s response and you won’t get a response from this government now because it has been prorogued, so it will be up to a future government to respond if they want to – if they want to.

Stuart’s on about preferential voting. He’s says, “I agree with you, voting should not be compulsory. The concept of democracy – that it is compulsory – seems contradictory. My bigger bug-bear is a preferential counting system.” Well, you’re right. You’re absolutely right. And you know, the scandal of this – compulsory preferential voting – is that the major parties made reforms to the Senate system so it’s no longer compulsory up there. You can get away and it’s a valid vote just putting a ‘1’. So then, if you haven’t preferenced anyone else your vote exhausts so the system can no longer be rigged and gamed, but they wouldn’t do it in the House of Representatives. And the reason they wouldn’t do it in the House of Representatives is because they’ve got a lock on it, the blue team and the red team. They know you have to put one above the other eventually if you want a valid vote. So, they know they’re the primary beneficiaries of it and they’ve rigged the system to help themselves.

Charlie says he gets my email each and every week. He “... listens and enjoys the podcast.” Well, thank you. “It’s good to listen to some Common Sense which is hard to find.” He says he’s a “... Liberal voter. I’ll be voting for you in the Senate and I hope you can keep the b*st*rds honest.” Good, that’s what we want people to do. Vote for the party of your choice but vote for us in the Senate.

But he says he’s been “... disappointed with the Liberal Party in recent years. Things may change now that we’ve catapulted the Manchurian Candidate, who appears determined to now undermine the Liberals. Very sad piece of work.” You’re referring to the ghost of Malcolm Turnbull who lives at Point Misery – Point Piper, sorry. Point Misery. You’d think it was miserable all the time ... anyway.

“Things that need attention and concern me are: freedom of speech, the nation’s debt, immigration, ABC and SBS bias, the Left filling our children’s heads with the politically correct nonsense, the Greens/Labor obsession with global warming. This is the most important election in my memory.” You’re right. You’re absolutely right and I agree with all of that, Charlie. We need to solve it and the only way we can solve it is to have the less-bad government of your choice – for me it’s the coalition – but to have a Common Sense filter in the Senate, and that’s the Australian Conservatives.

That is Your Say for another week. Send me your feedback: cory@corybernardi.com .

ADVERTISEMENT (CORY BERNARDI):   I think the trick to life is how you respond when things don’t go to plan. Sometimes you’re confronted with a situation and you either run and hide or you dig deep; you stand your ground and you fight for what’s right.

I am where I am today because of a series of disappointments: missed out on the Olympics because of a back injury; got sick overseas and spent a year in hospitals, isolation and in bed. But the biggest disappointment of my life has been the chaos, dysfunction and uselessness I’ve witnessed in Canberra. Maybe I should have quit, but I believe that you deserve a better way. That’s why I founded the Australian Conservatives and this is my pledge to you:

I’ll say what I mean and mean what I say, and I will never give up fighting for you.

I know you’re disappointed, I know you’re frustrated, but together we can bring Common Sense back to Canberra.

ADVERTISEMENT (VOICE OVER):   Authorised by C Bernardi for the Australian Conservatives, Adelaide.

VOICE OVER:   Keep listening. This is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense with Cory Bernardi.

CORY BERNARDI:   Well folks, that’s all we’ve got time for on this edition of the Weekly Dose of Common Sense podcast. It has been great to have you tuning in. I’m on the road for another few days but hopefully I’ll be back in the studio to record this next week – in the bunker, as I call it – where we’re safely cocooned away from the noise of the world and maybe we can take some of your calls.

I’ll try and be in touch with those of you who have made contact and we’ll see what we can do with that, but in the meantime: stay strong, stay happy, keep calm and vote Conservative.

VOICE OVER:   If you've enjoyed your Weekly Dose of Common Sense, chip in at conservatives.org.au .

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