17 Mar Paterson’s maiden moment
The Liberal Party’s youngest-ever senator, James Paterson, wants to scrap the “unbalanced and skewed” national curriculum, move Australia’s Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and reintroduce the commonwealth debt ceiling to crack down on intergenerational debt.
The 28-year-old, sworn into parliament on Tuesday after being selected by the Liberal Party to fill the vacancy left by retiring Victorian senator Michael Ronaldson, made several controversial declarations in his maiden speech last night as e championed the need for free speech.
Senator Paterson urged Australia to “do more” to show its solidarity with Israel, which he said was “not just a beacon of liberal democracy in a seat of despotism in its own region” but a “prosperous, tolerant, harmonious and creative country in the toughest of circumstances”.
“The Israeli government have demonstrated time and time again they are the best custodians for the religious and historical sites that are of significance to many faiths,” he said.
“It would be a symbolic, but important, step for Australia to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and to move our embassy there.”
The former deputy executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs concerned he was not a fan of Australia’s national curriculum, “on many grounds”, and was concerned its cross-curriculum priorities were more aligned with progressive views than Liberal or conservative ones.
The self-described “classical liberal” said the government should license multiple curricula and set basic minimum standards.
“This will not only allow schools and parents to select a curriculum which reflects their values, but would also open up the school system to much more diversity, specialisation and choice.”
Senator Paterson acknowledged that he would be seen my many as a representative of younger generations and called for the reinstatement of the debt ceiling, introduced by Labor treasurer Wane Swan and abolished by the Abbot government in 2013 with the help of the Greens.
“Default settings can be powerful. Right now, our default setting is to increase debt with no end in sight,” he said.