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Friday, 1 May 1987
Page: 2472


Mr BEALE(4.05) —It has been well known that, since the time of Caesar, all of Gaul has been divided into three parts. I wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the Government Ministry is also divided into three parts: Firstly, former trade union and party officials; secondly, former lawyers; and, thirdly, former teachers. These three groups make up more than two-thirds of the Ministry which is in charge of the Government of Australia in the year 1987. I raise this issue in a completely non-partisan manner, but I ask: Is a ministry dominated by trade union and party officials, lawyers and teachers, an appropriate one for this country at this time?


Mr Holding —Better than half-baked millionaires.


Mr BEALE —I will get to Fraser. The composition of the Ministry could very well have come from the nineteenth century; yet we are only a decade and a quarter away from the twenty-first century. Being non-partisan on this issue let me, in fairness, refer to the previous Liberal-National Party Government. In its ministries the overwhelming numbers were held by two groups-farmers and lawyers. An unkind person might observe that a government of farmers and lawyers might better belong to the eighteenth century, but I would not, of course, lend my support to that observation.

However, I believe that this briefest look at the composition of both ministries in terms of occupational and professional background is a cause of some concern for the future of this country. There is obviously something wrong with the preselection machinery in both parties, and there is obviously something just as seriously wrong with the attitude of many of our occupational groups and professions in their members' failure to pursue parliamentary careers. Parliament has been dominated for many years by trade union and party officials, teachers, farmers and lawyers-so much so that when this Government created a ministry of science it had to appoint to that portfolio a man who was formerly a teacher and a lawyer. The Minister in charge of technology is a former solicitor, the Minister for Health (Dr Blewett) is a former teacher of politics, and so the list goes on.

We cannot govern properly because we do not have the people; the pool of talent. We are desperate for exports to improve our balance of trade, but where are the exporters in the Parliament or in the Ministry? Where are the biological scientists, the electronics engineers, the tourist entrepreneurs, the urban planners, the nursing sisters, the transport industry executives and, indeed, the fashion industry designers? Of course lawyers, farmers, union officials and teachers have their place in this Parliament. Some of our finest parliamentarians at present are from those professions and they have made a significant contribution to the progress of our country. However, to confront and conquer our present and future problems, whether they be economic, industrial, cultural, or in defence and foreign policies, we must attract a wider expertise and a greater pool of talent into our Parliament.