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Friday, 20 March 1987
Page: 1271


Mr FITZGIBBON(4.24) —I am delighted that I have the opportunity to come into the House to reply to some of the nonsense which has been spoken by the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Tim Fischer). I remember that when I spoke yesterday I said that the honourable member for Farrer had constantly in this chamber-and particularly when he had visited my electorate-`spewed spurious nonsense'. This afternoon he elected to come here and do what he is well known for-spewing spurious nonsense. The simple fact of the matter is that within my electorate I am highly regarded as a very conscientious and hardworking member. I know each part of my electorate intimately. I get sick and tired of people coming to me and informing me of their very great fears caused by the one penchant of the honourable member for Farrer-his delight in trying to scare the pants off people and causing unnecessary worry and concern. Any man who would want to do this to veterans who have served their country so magnificently is deserving of nothing but contempt.

When representatives of the National Party of Australia and Liberal leaders come to my electorate all they can do is run around talking doom and gloom. Interestingly enough, when I go and talk to some of the rural producers, I say to them: `I imagine that you are greatly perturbed about high interest rates'. This might surprise the honourable member for Farrer, but they say to me: `Well, we are not. We have total equity in our property. My great-grandfather or grandfather started this farm and, because we are lenders rather than borrowers, interest rates are not affecting us'. That surprises me. Some people have problems with interest rates because they do not have a high equity in their properties or because they have over-borrowed to acquire or expand the property, but there are not a great number of them.

Whenever I have spoken in this chamber I have always been very courteous and cordial. I elect to follow the example of a man whom the honourable member for Farrer could take some example from. I know that the Leader of the National Party (Mr Sinclair) is a rag-tag type who believes in abuse and in trying to pour scorn on everyone, but his Deputy Leader, the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt), comes into the electorate and speaks very kindly of the Minister for Primary Industry, the honourable member for Werriwa (Mr Kerin). The honourable member for Gwydir is fair and recognises some of the difficulties that have been encountered in the Hunter electorate. In the uppermost region of my electorate, around Merriwa, where people grow wheat, there are serious problems. But the truth about the rural economy is that the dairying, beef and horticultural product industries are doing very well in the Hunter electorate. All the rural producers are doing reasonably well, except those who grow wheat in the Merriwa region, and I have considerable sympathy for them.

It astounded me to go to a meeting of the Cessnock sub-branch of the Returned Services League and read an absolutely nonsensical letter from the honourable member for Farrer which stated that people should be most concerned at this Hawke socialist Government because we intend to make the Department of Veterans' Affairs disappear.


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

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 4.29 p.m.