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Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 654

Mr CADMAN(10.51) —What a fascinating contribution we have just had from the Left tonight.

Mr Griffiths —Hey, hey! I am a right winger.

Mr CADMAN —The honourable member could have fooled me. If this attitude to the well-being of the country were to be matched by government action, we would see quite different policies from this Government. For instance, who would have thought that a Labor government would introduce policies that would massively increase the number of people on Housing Commission waiting lists around Australia? I remember old Tom Uren coming into this chamber--

Mr Cohen —That's enough of the old.

Mr CADMAN —He is retiring.

Mr Cunningham —Madam Speaker, on a point of order: Standing Orders clearly point to the fact that a member should be referred to by his seat and not `old Tom Uren'. I think he should be correctly addressed as a Minister or referred to by his seat.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The point of order is correct, but I rather felt it was a term of affection.

Mr CADMAN —It was indeed, Madam Speaker. I remember the current Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services (Mr Uren) coming into this chamber when the Labor Party was in government under Gough Whitlam, and he talked passionately about the needs of welfare housing. He not only talked about it but also convinced his Government actually to do something about it. Under this current Labor Party we see that the number of people on the housing waiting list is just sky-rocketing. Young couples seeking to purchase their first homes are facing a 17.5 per cent basic borrowing rate to purchase those homes.

Mr Cunningham —Where?

Mr CADMAN —At any bank or building society. The honourable member should ask them, and then he should try to take out a cocktail loan, as they have to, with finance company money wrapped up with it at 21 per cent. What a dreadful situation for the Labor Party, which claims to be concerned for people and then has policies that produce these effects! We remember the Treasurer (Mr Keating) saying in the early days: `She'll be right. Trust me'. He is still saying ad nauseam in this chamber: `Don't you worry about that. It is all under control'. But it is not under control and honourable members opposite know that it is not under control. They know that this Government has borrowed too much money. They know that there has not been the discipline on the management of government that they would need to have in order to restrain expenditure. They know that their priorities have been so subverted by people seeking to make a minority claim on the funds of government that they have missed the mainstream issues and needs of Australia. Who would have thought that the Labor Party would postpone pension increases for the elderly at Christmas time? Coming up to the Christmas period the Labor Party delayed the payments to pensioners. I think it is appalling that Australian families today are $31 per week worse off than they were in 1983. That takes into account wage rises, tax falls and everything else. In real terms, families are $31 per week worse off.

We have problems with welfare housing, with the cost of housing, with families that are worse off, and record breaking bankruptcies in small businesses. The employers, who are going broke, are the people who provide jobs and who should bring about the economic recovery that members of the Labor Party talk about. On top of that, the most massive factor in the Government's Budget is the constant need to raise the capital and the interest charges needed to repay the money that the Government has borrowed-from overseas, from the Australian people and from all and sundry. It is no wonder that the Treasurer can say: `We have done some things'. But on the basic issues of the real needs of people, whether it be through the superficialities of this Government's policies towards the young, the conjuring tricks that the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr West) contributes every day, or the postponement of the pension increases for the elderly, in every area this Government has missed the mark. That is a tragedy for a great party such as the Labor Party. The man I referred to-the current Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services-must be ashamed of the processes that this Government has adopted. It is all right to be led by those people who will not go near their electorates and who will not go into supermarkets. But the real theme of the Australian Labor Party has been missed because its back bench is superfluous to its current front bench. It is not listening and it is not facing any of these issues.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.