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Thursday, 30 March 1995
Page: 2540

Mr LATHAM (12.37 p.m.) —How appropriate it is, how symbolic that Liberal and National Party members should be congratulating the beneficiary of push polling, the new member for Canberra (Mr Smyth). How appropriate, in the middle of this debate about the shameful acts and behaviour of Senator Michael Baume, that this new member should be sworn in. It is so typical of the Liberal Party in the 1990s.

  As the member for North Sydney (Mr Mack) pointed out earlier, it is not only a question of the ethics and possible criminal behaviour of Michael Baume; it is also a question of tracking down the smear and smut trail of those in the Liberal Party who assisted Baume in this act. Those involved in sighting and treating in the leaked tax documents may be guilty of a criminal offence.

  We all know from this debate the identity of the campaign manager for the Liberal Party in the state seat of Manly. It was the mad monk; it was the bellringer of Manly, the member for Warringah (Mr Abbott). We all know that he has been at the bottom of too many rucks. We all know that the seminarians worked him out nice and early when they sent him out the door backwards. But he has been involved—much more than defrocked but totally implicated—in this campaign of smear and innuendo against Dr Peter Macdonald.

  This House, in my assessment, not only should be censuring Senator Baume but also should be censuring the member for Warringah because the smear and smut trail in coalition politics is so clear to see. Michael Baume, a protege of the rodent himself, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Howard), and the member for Warringah, a self-confessed and self-identified Baume protege, have been treating and dealing in illegal documents. The member for Warringah is totally and utterly obsessed with the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) on matters of tax and property.

  It is of great interest to note his comments earlier in the debate and note that he is the best known monarchist and supporter of the royal family in this parliament. I get the impression, when dealing with these questions of tax and property, that he grew up in the 1950s and 1960s taking as his role model the royal family, who did not pay any tax at all.

  The member for Warringah, on tax and property, is in it up to his neck with Eton West Pty Ltd as a trustee for the Abbott family trust and the Tony Abbott family trust—not one family trust for tax minimisation, not one device to minimise his tax, but two: Eton West for the Abbott family trust and the Tony Abbott family trust. How seedy, how hypocritical, how rotten of the member for Warringah to come into this House holding up Michael Baume as his role model, holding up the Leader of the Opposition as his role model—with the smut and smear campaign tracking itself all over the parliament right to the Leader of the Opposition's door—when, in his own arrangements, he is the beneficiary of not one but two tax minimisation devices: the Abbott family trust and the Tony Abbott family trust. This is not the time nor the place to provide the full details of the operations of those two family trusts.

Mr Hollis —To be continued.

Mr LATHAM —But, as my friend and colleague the member for Throsby correctly points out, it is a saga to be continued. As long as the Liberal Party trumps into this parliament your Michael Baumes, your Tony Abbotts, your David Connollys and Richard Evanses—the garbage men and the goons of the Liberal Party—as the stock-in-trade of the Liberal Party in the 1990s dealing in the politics of the big smear, they can have one personal guarantee, shared right across the government backbench, and that is it will come back with interest. Those failures of the landed aristocracy in Australia, those drop-outs of corporate Australia who come into this place pretending they are angels, have a lot to hide in their own backgrounds.

  They can be assured by the Labor Party that in debates like this we are not going to cop it any longer. We are not going to cop their failure to develop policy, their failure to develop ideas and their failure to debate matters of substance. We are going to hold them to account by their own standards on questions of tax minimisation, property dealings, rummaging through garbage bins and raising in parliamentary debate people's children and their spouses. We are going to hold them fully and totally to account for those sorts of standards. A party that cannot debate matters of substance in this parliament should not be allowed to get away with its own hypocritical and low standards.

  On the evidence of this sorry saga, this smear and smut campaign leading right to the door of the Leader of the Opposition, tracked there by the member for Warringah and Senator Baume, each of them—Baume, Abbott and Howard—deserves to be denounced, deserves to be censured and deserves to be fully condemned by this House.