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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2357


Senator WOOD (Queensland) - I have listened to the debate and I want to say that I am one of those who believe that when a nation or a state or a council sets up its public offices in a beautiful setting, such as we have in front of Parliament House, it is not the right of anyone to monopolise that setting and to put unsightly structures on it. This is not the first time it has been done. When my own Party was in government I took them on in this very chamber for allowing tents to remain outside Parliament House for so many weeks.


Senator Gietzelt - Who was the AttorneyGeneral in those days?


Senator WOOD - I am not speaking of the Attorney-General.


Senator Gietzelt - Who was the AttorneyGeneral?


Senator WOOD - If you will wait a while I will tell you that at that time I attacked my own Government for not removing those tents. I thought it was a sign of weakness not to remove them and I still think it is again a sign of weakness. I am not blaming the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) because, knowing him, I believe that probably no one has a higher regard for Parliament and for the appearance of things generally in this country. But I do believe that these tents should not be allowed to remain. They are unsightly and their presence is completely contrary to what was intended when the whole of this area was set out. As I said at the time when my own Party was in government -


Senator Gietzelt - What about the concrete jungles in Sydney? Wouldn't they be unsightly too?


Senator WOOD - The concrete jungles in Sydney have buildings which are established on freehold or leasehold properties which those people possess. As a local government man, you should know that just as well as I and others do.


Senator Gietzelt - Approved by the Liberal council of Sydney.


Senator WOOD - I know your local government record and you should know it. If Senator Gietzelt were mayor of his community and somebody dumped themselves in front of his town hall he would probably be one of the first to do something about it. The point is that if we are going to have law and order in this country it should be conformed to by everyone. Because people belong to a certain section of the community there is no reason why they should have privileges above those of other people. In the case of the Aboriginal people here, why should they have any priority over white Australian people in relation to being on that area. If white Australian people -


Senator Georges - If white Australians have a protest they can pitch a tent.


Senator WOOD - If white Australian people were to arrive here and dump their caravans on that site- and I said exactly the same thing to my own Government- you and everybody else would be squealing about it. What right have they got to be dumped there? So far as I am concerned, the essence of the conduct of this Parliament and of the grounds surrounding it should be in accordance with the law of this country and there is no right for those people to be there. On the previous occasion when they were there, from what can be told by the citizens of this area about what went on there and the people living there, it indicated to me that it certainly was not of a very high standard. I stand for law and order in this country and I believe that those people should not be allowed to remain there with those tents and be unsightly and a nuisance. If we have got any stomach about us, any respect for decency and law and order in this Parliament- it does not matter whether it is under my Party's government or this Government- we should act to clean the area up and make it look decent and remove the unsightly obstructions which are there at the present time. Those are my sentiments. I do not make a personal attack on anybody. I have always looked upon this areas as being the control of the portfolio that was formerly that of the Minister for the Interior.


Senator Murphy - It is actually in Mr Bryant's administration.


Senator WOOD - Yes, now it would come under Mr Bryant's administration.


Senator Greenwood - What about the Minister who has taken control of the Australian Capital Territory Police?


Senator WOOD - I know, but it comes within the jurisdiction of the Minister for the Capital Territory and some action should be taken, and I believe he is the man who should talk to the Attorney-General or whoever else it may be necessary to talk to in order to get action. Those are my sentiments and I think that the average Australian would agree entirely with what I have said. It is about time that we in this Parliament stopped having racism in this country and stopped giving preference to a certain section of the community over the other Australian people. One public accountant said to me recently that an Aboriginal man came into his office with a loan to buy a business. The Australian Government provided the money for him to buy the business. What did this Aboriginal say to the public accountant? He said: 'You know, this is something you white people don't get'. It is about time that we stopped this racism and stopped giving preference to one section of the community.







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