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Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 655

Mr CUNNINGHAM(10.56) —Madam Speaker-

Mr Gear —What a terrible speech!

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Canning will resume his own seat. If he keeps interjecting I will stop him.

Mr CUNNINGHAM —I rise in this adjournment debate to follow the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Cadman). He is the first year apprentice for the honourable member for O'Connor (Mr Tuckey) after his performance on television this morning, as he tried to get in on the act of, and behave in the same way as, the honourable member for O'Connor. I wish to say-

Madam SPEAKER —I draw the honourable member's attention to the fact that the honourable member for O'Connor has unreservedly withdrawn and apologised for the remarks he made. The Chair has accepted his apology.

Mr CUNNINGHAM —Madam Speaker, I thank you for your advice in relation to that matter.

Mr Cadman —Maybe you should withdraw those remarks.

Mr CUNNINGHAM —I withdraw any remarks that I may have made that offended the honourable member for Mitchell.

Madam SPEAKER —I thank the honourable member.

Mr CUNNINGHAM —The matter which I wish to raise tonight follows the debate that has been going on in this Parliament almost all day today and has been one of the issues that have been discussed around Australia particularly over the last couple of weeks.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for McMillan may not allude to the debate that was before the House earlier today.

Mr CUNNINGHAM —I wish to refer to a matter that occurred subsequent to the debate that occurred today. Madam Speaker, I think you will realise that it is a topical issue. I would like to make a few comments which relate to it. Over the last couple of days we have heard many speakers addressing the issue that Aus- tralia's major problem is that we are buying more goods from overseas than we can afford to pay for with our exports. This is a typical example that most families have to face up to at some time in their lives. Businesses have to face up to it when there is a downturn in their business transactions, when the income coming into either the business or the family is not enough to pay for their expectations. They suddenly find that their income does not match their expenditure on the goods that they have been purchasing over a number of years and they have to make adjustments to it. That is a very simple equation of where Australia is at present.

One strange thing I cannot understand is that members of the Opposition, in all their debates, give the impression-I do not think for a moment that they believe it-that there is a possibility that some people in the community can have more money placed in their pockets to give them more funds to buy imported goods at a time when the national economy cannot afford it. I am saying that those in the community who have plenty and who are quite well off are in a position to buy imported goods but this is not the case for the poor in the community.

Are we going to take a policy position, as has been espoused by the Premier of Queensland or perhaps the National Party of Australia or the Liberal Party of Australia, that we can give money from the public purse back to those who have fringe benefits or to those who are making profits on capital gains and that they should not contribute to the public purse? In other words, for every $100,000 that is available in that area, 49c in the dollar should be handed back to them so that they can buy a Mercedes-Benz or another BMW and add to our debt on the world scene. Who pays for those products? Who pays for our imports? It is not the person in a four-wheel drive vehicle who heads up the path in the national forest to where our timber industry workers are working. It is the person in the community who exports goods who pays for our imports. At present we have in Australia this spectacle where the Opposition is saying that more money should be placed in the hands of the wealthy.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! It being 11 p.m., the House stands adjourned till 10 a.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 11 p.m.