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Thursday, 7 May 1987
Page: 2872

Mr McGAURAN(10.14) —I support the amendment moved by the honour- able member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt). In doing so I am aware that there are two dangers in this debate. The first is that the discussions relating to the equal opportunity provisions in the legislation will overshadow the importance of the Wool Marketing Bill. Thankfully, a number of members from both the National Party of Australia and the Liberal Party of Australia have stressed the glee with which this Bill is being greeted by the industry. The second danger is that an impression will grow up that the National Party is against equal opportunities for women or that we deny that discrimination occurs in different parts of this country, in different sectors of society or in different professions. Of course we do not deny that there are cases of discrimination. We could debate all night about the frequency of those cases but no one on this side of the Chamber denies for a moment that acts of discrimination occur not just against women but also against the disabled and Aborigines. But it is a matter of degree as to whether legislation of this type should seek to address such problems. In my view and that of the National Party equal opportunity programs in this form are totally inappropriate.

What I find more offensive than anything is that pious Government members can stand up in here with a most sanctimonious air and pretend that the mere insertion of words such as `equal opportunity' or `affirmative action' will correct the problem. Of course there is discrimination, but there are people dying as they wait for Medicare finally to take care of their elective surgery. There are people in poverty--

Consideration interrupted.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! It being 10.15 p.m., I shall report progress.

The Chairman having reported accordingly-