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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2358


Mr KATTER(10.35) —Sometimes something occurs in this House which produces an environment of sadness and that environment exists at present. The honourable member for Charlton (Mr Robert Brown) with his obvious talents-a member for whom I have something almost approaching affection-indulged in what was a fairly futile operation of muckraking. It is pointless because all this has been said before. Most of it was said prior to the Queensland State election and what was the result? What was the effect on and the reaction of the people of Queensland? They put the National Party Government back with a greater majority then ever. Tonight I want to talk about another party. On Saturday there will be an historic event in the town of Barcaldine--


Mr Cadman —Hear, hear!


Mr KATTER —I am terribly pleased to see my good friend the honourable member for Mitchell here because he had a very interesting experience as a much respected jackaroo in the town of Aramac, which is near Barcaldine. On Saturday I will have the pleasure of flying to Barcaldine with the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Lionel Bowen) and will have the privilege of proposing a vote of thanks to him for the task he will perform-the opening ceremony of what is called the Tree of Knowledge. On that very spot the Australian Labor Party was founded.

I wish to refer to two elements of history. One is the ordeal that many shearers and others associated with them went through during those bad old days. If I seem to know a little more about this matter than usual, it is for a very obvious reason. An uncle of mine, Richard Dominic Arida, was closely associated with a particular group which, while it was not a formal union in those days, was organised to try to get some sort of social justice for its members. That strike became historic. My uncle was four square with the shearers and was part of the general movement. The other element concerns the general living conditions of people in those days. They were hardy people who had to cope with all sorts of disadvantages. One has to live in those areas now to understand the penalties of life in such places-the tyranny of distance, for example, and the penalty of sales tax on freight. Let me put in a quick word here. A fellow bought a bolt the other day. It was a large bolt which cost $1.50. The freight was $6--


Mr Andrew —Oh! Was it air freight?


Mr KATTER —That fellow paid sales tax on $7.50 and I am not sure whether it was air freight or not. However, successive governments seem to sidestep this issue.

There is another point I wish to mention. In doing so I am not referring to all people on the government side of the House because many members of the Australian Labor Party have been the custodians of wonderful families. There is no better example of that than you yourself, Madam Speaker. In a general sense this Government has ignored the fundamental bonds which keep a family together. Let me give an example, as I do not have much time left. Recently a specialised trained nurse went on television pointing out that she and her associates had been asked to leave the country. They had been informed that they had to leave because their visas had expired. She pointed out that those nurses were specialised and were needed in Australia. What really got to her was that when that particular information became available it was also promulgated that if a person was in a homosexual relationship with a bloke or a woman, that person was okay, his or her visa would be extended and he or she would get permanent residence. I would suggest that genuine members of the Labor Party should read the history of the Barcaldine era, take note of the family life, solidarity, principles and traditions that were evident there and insist in Caucus that these be restored.