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Tuesday, 24 March 1987
Page: 1441

Mr GEAR(10.55) —If I have one piece of advice for the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Cadman) it is that he should keep his mouth shut and just let us think he is a fool rather than open it up and confirm that he is. He has given us tonight one of the greatest diatribes of absolute drivel that we have ever heard. If he ever cared to check his facts-he never has, which is obvious from his speech-he would know that as a result of his so-called free enterprise captains of industry government this country is on its knees. The reason it is on its knees is that his Government, or his style of government, adopted a policy of protectionism that has sent this country broke.

Those opposite never knew how to run a country, how to run a government, and that is made evident by the fact that they have not come up with any policies in four years. We are still waiting for their taxation policy, their industrial policy, their communications policy and every other policy. Their industrial relations policy was such a sham that the Confederation of Australian Industry threw it out the door. It was supposed to be a mate of the Opposition's. Yet the honourable member for Mitchell has stood up here trying to tell us how to run a government. Those opposite really are a bunch of fools. Outside of this place people see them as such because they have never done the hard things in government.

Tonight I was at an Australia-Japan symposium. It always impresses me that when we compare ourselves, a mineral rich country, a country of great natural wealth, with a country such as Japan we always come off a distant second. The reason is that we had fools like those opposite running the country.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member will moderate his language.

Mr GEAR —Thank you for your guidance, Madam Speaker. I will moderate my language.

Mr Slipper —Madam Speaker, I take a point of order. The honourable member for Canning ought not refer to the shadow Minister at the table as a fool. I take exception to that comment and I ask him to withdraw it.

Madam SPEAKER —I have just asked the honourable member to moderate his language, and the honourable member has accepted my advice.

Mr GEAR —Thank you, Madam Speaker. I was talking in general terms. They never ever gave the Australian people the credence they should have. The Australian people are smart people. They are people, given the right leadership, who can lead this country out of the mess that it is in. We had absolute fools running this country for 30 years. They sold us down the drain, and the speech we just heard from the honourable member for Mitchell, who is at the table, epitomises that performance. We have never reached the heights that we could have.

Members of the Opposition stand up here and talk about small business. The greatest failure of small business is in Queensland. Honourable members should go out tomorrow and check the facts. The greatest percentage of small business failures is in Queensland, under a so-called free enterprise government-a regime that those opposite would support, that they would endorse. They have never done the hard things in government; they have always sold us short. This Government has taken the hard decisions. We do not like having high interest rates, but that is to support the Australian dollar because of their failures. In 1987 we are still sending rocks, wheat and wool overseas-the same as we did 50 years ago. A fool like the honourable member--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Canning will not refer to the honourable member at the table as a fool.

Mr GEAR —I am sorry, Madam Speaker. Sometimes I am tempted. The fact is that the incompetents that the honourable member supports have always gone for the bottom line. They have never looked past their shoestrings; they have never lifted their vision. The fact is that it is up to this Government to make sure that the taxation policies, the industrial policies and everything else that is necessary for good government and the economy in this country are put in place.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! It being 11 p.m., the debate is interrupted.

Mr Cohen —Madam Speaker, I require the debate to be extended.

Madam SPEAKER —The debate may continue until 11.10 p.m.