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Thursday, 6 October 1983
Page: 1507

Mr KATTER(9.41) —I am fully aware of the fact that this is a grievance debate. I say, very emphatically, that I have a profound grievance. If my grievance appears to have a pre-election content. In view of the forthcoming Queensland election, I say: 'Too damn right it has'. I believe that certain policies which are being promulgated by the Australian Labor Party in Queensland have a very dangerous content, at least for the principles that I hold high in this country. I cannot bring myself to be venomous or bitter in relation to my Labor colleagues in Queensland. In fact, I have been rather close to successive Premiers. Strangely, those Premiers have left the Labor Party and gone on to better things. I refer also to a person who was possibly one of the finest lord mayors that Queensland ever produced, Clem Jones; so there is nothing venomous or bitter in what I have to say. I will not discuss anything involving the private lives or the characters of the people involved but I will certainly speak about the policies which they are promulgating.

I will deal first of all with drug distribution and the general result of taking drugs, whether soft or hard, in Queensland or in any other part of Australia. Queenslanders are sensible people who are not easily deceived by political dishonesty, by political humbug or by political charade. The present leader of the Labor Party in Queensland is guilty of a conspiracy of those three characteristics. He believes that he has made substantial progress and is the great white hope for the most fragmented Labor Party in Australia, at least at a State level. I have enough faith in the good, solid, common sense of my fellow Queenslanders to believe that they have in no way accepted his deceptions.

In fairness to Mr Wright there is a matter about which he has been quite outspoken and about which he has never in any way attempted to deceive the voters. That is his approach to marijuana, its distribution, its production and its use. He has, in a very amateurish way, presented a policy which would indicate some sort of control but it shows a fairly tolerant attitude to the whole question. Under a Labor Government in Queensland-no one makes any secret about it-every Queensland household would be able to grow a supply of this dangerous drug. I refer to the pronouncements made by our Premier-on behalf of the Queensland Government-about introducing penalties, which are probably higher than those imposed in any other part of the world, to get the Mr Bigs of this industry and put them where they belong, in gaol.

I have chaired a committee which investigated marijuana and I speak with confidence regarding the matter. I do not give a damn if I am considered reactionary, behind the times or ready for the gas chamber. For some years I have received brochures produced by the World Health Organisation and other organisations updating research into pot. It was revealed in the report-official statistics were given-that a very high percentage, of people, particularly around Los Angeles and elsewhere on the west coast of the United States of America, who graduated to using acid and heroin had cut their teeth, if you like , on marijuana. They had graduated from an allegedly harmless drug to the dangerous and killer drugs.

Mr Milton —What about alcohol?

Mr KATTER —The humour of the Labor Party is based on the assumption that we should encourage our young people to cut down their standards. The honourable member laughs; it is a great joke; it is not very serious! Let me tell him this. The brochures, which I received not so very long ago from the World Health Organisation, indicate that there was fairly reliable evidence that the constant -let me be sensible about this-the habitual smoking of marijuana would produce cancer cells. Six months later an updated brochure came out which said that it had now been proved that the habitual smoking of marijuana could very clearly create cancer cells.

I look back to the good old Labor days. Government members would not have lasted 10 minutes in the Labor Party in the genuine Labor days. Many of them are intellectual aristocrats who would not mix with the workers under any circumstances whatsoever. A part of the Labor Party's aristocracy is to smoke pot and cut down all standards. This policy of absolute permissiveness-I make no apology for that comment-is promulgated by Mr Wright in Queensland. It is no good putting one's head in the sand and saying that the argument regarding cancer does not exist. The World Health Organisation, I imagine, does have some authority. The statement was based on the findings of an organisation which corresponds with our Royal College of Surgeons or our Australian Medical Association; so it is no good trying to be frivolous about this matter. I call on Mr Wright and those standing for the ALP in the forthcoming Queensland elections to declare, quite emphatically, where they stand in relation to a habit which could lead our young people not only into degradation at the best but also into a lethargic condition of mind and body which would render them relatively usless to themselves, their families and their country.

I will continue my comments in relation to the newly appointed leader of the Labor Party. One thing that is being questioned by reasonably sensible, alert Queenslanders-that is just about everybody in the State-is how can this man make extravagant, totally unachievable promises. He knows as well as everybody else that if the Queensland people, by some tragic error of judgment, set aside a government which is receiving tens of thousands of people from other parts of Australia, people from all classes and all age groups, each and every month of the year, a State which has made such a profound international impact and will stage Expo '88, these promises could not be kept. What would we give up for this ? Should we give up this Government which demands the respect not only of sensible Australians but also people beyond our shores, for a group of amateurs, for a leader who is obviously a rubber stamp for powerful groups in Sydney and Melbourne who, through Mr Hawke, will manipulate him? We all know that Mr Hawke will manipulte Mr Wright. He is a dominant figure. Members of Caucus tell us that Caucus is now a bit of a joke because its leader permits them to think that they are making decisions. The same thing would apply to Mr Wright. He would have to go cap in hand to Mr Hawke so that he could enjoy some of his glamour and some of the media backing which he gets. He goes around presenting himself as a person of importance and significance when compared with a man of such international reputation as Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

The honourable member for Petrie (Mr Wells) has devoted his whole political career to date, not to looking after the interests of the people of Petrie, but to constantly hammering. It is like a little bird flapping its wings on the City Hall in Brisbane. That would be the impact he is making on the reputation of a man like Bjelke-Petersen. They all wished that they had the same power and the same charisma-it is a peculiar charisma I will admit-that demands the world's respect. They fear him and so they make speeches all the time about philosophies , about Adolf Hitler, and all that nonsense. They have tried all that month after month, year after year. That is all old stuff. So we must wake up to the fact that Mr Wright does not have a strawberry road. He is not a stayer. He will not make the grade. Would the people of Queensland swap a strawberry road for a bush hat? Mr Wright has gone through my area like a brumby with his tail on fire bobling through the back blocks promising this and that. But the people of inland Queensland and inland Australia know the record of the Australian Labor Party. It is utterly futile-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Les Johnson) —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.