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Thursday, 26 May 1983
Page: 1085


Mr SINCLAIR(10.12) —It is necessary, albeit that it is after 10 past 10, that I point out to the people of Australia that the House is rising tonight after a brief four-week sitting. This is the first session of the Thirty -third Parliament. The Government is in total disarray. It has made blunder after blunder. We are here at this hour of night having the 11 o'clock rule suspended simply because the Government is not prepared to come back next week. The Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) is about to go on a tour around the world; he is too busy with other matters to worry about the elected representatives of Australia. The 11 o'clock rule is not being suspended because we need to get this business through tonight; we all know the Senate will be here next week, although members of the House of Representatives will disappear from this place until 23 August. The reason the Budget is being brought down on 23 August is that the Government has not yet been able to get its house in order. I understand that it has not yet started its pre-Budget deliberations. It has extended by one week the expected date for presentation of the Budget and we are therefore now in the position of having the Government running away from the Parliament in which it ought to be properly answerable to the elected representatives of the Australian people.

This Government has absolutely no excuse to offer. From the Prime Minister down it has broken promise after promise. Last Thursday it presented a very weak excuse for an economic package. We know that next week the trade union movement, from Mr Unsworth in New South Wales to Mr Bill Kelty of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, will force on the Government changes to a significant element of the economic package. Changes to the superannuation measures, if they happen, will completely negate that economic package and we will not have the opportunity in this place to say anything about it. Whilst the Opposition will not resist the motion of the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Lionel Bowen), it is critical that the people of Australia know that this is all a farce as far as the Government is concerned. We believe that the Parliament should rise next week-


Mr West —You're a farce!


Mr SINCLAIR —You are the farce; do not make any mistake about that, my friend.


Mr West —Why don't you sit down?


Mr SINCLAIR —I am happy to talk; I have another 13 minutes. If the honourable member wants to address himself to the problems of Australia I will be quite happy to tell him a little about them. It is important that the people of Australia remember that they have elected this Government. The Government brought down an economic package which is about to be changed and it is running away from this, the forum of the people of Australia, because it is not prepared to face up to questions and is not prepared to acknowledge that it has broken promise after promise and that its economic package is already in disarray. Whilst we accept that the 11 o'clock rule should be suspended, the Government should hang its head in shame at finding it necessary to ask that that should happen.