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- Start of Business
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Dr HEWSON, Mr HAWKE)
(Mr MELHAM, Mr HAWKE)
PROPOSED NATIONAL RAIL FREIGHT CORPORATION
(Mr SAWFORD, Mr ROBERT BROWN)
(Mr HOWARD, Mr HAWKE)
(Ms CRAWFORD, Mr STAPLES)
(Mr TIM FISCHER, Mr HAWKE)
BONE MARROW REGISTER
(Mr FERGUSON, Mr HOWE)
(Mr CAMPBELL, Mrs KELLY)
(Mr REID, Mr HAWKE)
SHARK BAY: WORLD HERITAGE LISTING
(Mr CAMPBELL, Mrs KELLY)
(Mr TRUSS, Mr HAWKE)
COAL INDUSTRY: EXPORTS TO JAPAN
(Mr MARTIN, Mr KERIN)
- DEPARTMENT OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
- DEPARTMENT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY
- REPORTS OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL
- PRESENTATION OF PAPERS
- AUSTRALIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION
- TASMANIAN WORLD HERITAGE AREA MINISTERIAL COUNCIL
- ROYAL COMMISSION INTO ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS REFORM
- JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON MIGRATION REGULATIONS
- MEMBERSHIP OF COMMITTEES
- END OF WAR LIST BILL 1989
- APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 1) 1990-91
- APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 1) 1990-91
Tuesday, 11 September 1990
Mr BROADBENT(5.48) —Mr Deputy Speaker, I ask that you pass on my congratulations to the Speaker on his re-election to such a responsible position and also my thanks to the officers of the House who participated in the new members' seminar that was held recently at the opening of this Parliament. I am most grateful for the time taken by honourable members on both sides of the House and by their spouses, and I thank them for giving of their time so willingly in order to enhance my ability to effect my responsibility as a member of the House of Representatives.
I congratulate the honourable member for Banks (Mr Melham) on his maiden speech, but I remind the honourable member that today's use of the term 'social justice', which he used at the beginning of his speech, comes from, and was first mentioned by, the Right Honourable Robert Gordon Menzies on the tenth anniversary of the formation of the Liberal Party. I thank the honourable member for drawing it to the attention of the House today.
I enter this House acknowledging that I am here by the grace of God, and I pray for His blessing upon all honourable members in their work on behalf of this great nation. It is a privilege and an honour to participate in this great institution of parliamentary democracy and I accept the responsibility of serving the constituents of Corinella and, in the broader sense, the people of Australia. I said 'by the grace of God' because I know of no other person who was a candidate in 1984 and again in 1987 and who joined this House in 1990 as a new member. I have been through five preselections-and anybody who has been through five Liberal Party preselections can understand what I am talking about.
Many people took great pleasure in my victory in Corinella; not least being the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock), the honourable member for Bennelong (Mr Howard), the honourable member for Pearce (Mr Chaney) and the honourable member for Casey (Mr Halverson). I have had the pleasure of working alongside these honourable members for a considerable time-some six years-and I have gained invaluable experience from them. To Petro Giorgiou and his team in Victoria, I say, `Thank you for your outstanding contribution to my campaign'. My thanks go to the Victorian State members for their unified efforts and to those who have stuck with me through nearly 10 years of elections-including local government elections, preselections and Federal elections. I especially thank my wife, Bronwyn, who is in the gallery today and seated with her, Merilyn MacGregor and Lorraine Wilksch, who are friends who have been through all those times with us.
I send a message of thanks to Emily Broadbent and the boys, Evand and Paul, who this week are on camp with the Pakenham Consolidated School and the Pakenham Secondary School. I am sure they will be listening. However, I want to send a special message to the partners of volunteers. I refer to those volunteers we recognise in the fire brigades, the mothers' clubs and in all the other facets of voluntary organisations in Australia. We know that Australia would stop dead if those volunteers stopped tomorrow. However, all those volunteers have partners who stay home night after night. Some members of the House have said to me that it is the pits being married to a Federal or State member, whether it be the husband or the wife.
I am sure that the message needs to go out to those people, especially from this Party, that we appreciate their contribution in staying home and looking after those issues at home when others are out-when the fire siren goes and you are called out. That is important to us.
Three people who deserve special thanks in regard to my election are Glenys Gunther, Ruth Simon and Joan Reid. Their depth of knowledge, talent and unfailing confidence proved invaluable. I wish to say `thank you very much' and to express my gratitude for the kindness shown to me by my family; the people of the Kooweerup swampland; the Shire of Pakenham; the Westernport Development Council; the Dandenong Valley Authority; the Mornington Peninsula and District Water Board; the Pakenham Water Board-where I was first introduced to sewage in a big way; the people at Minibah and to all those disabled people whom I have been lucky enough to have been associated with and learn so much from over the past eight years as president of the organisation associated with that group.
All of those people shared in the victory but none shared in the victory as much as Lenny McGill and the boys from the Trutones and their families. Although that will not mean much to the House, to many Victorians I would be better known as the lead singer of the Trutones Showband. If I knock on a door during an election campaign, I normally say, `I am the candidate for Corinella'-as I was last time. However, I would be told, `No, you are not. You are the singer with the Trutones'. So I would have to address people in that fashion. But I did command the vote in the last election and that is the main thing.
To Bernie Marron at the Bentleigh Club, to the staff and members of organisations and companies that I have worked for over the past 20 years-and learned so much from, I would add-to the staff members at Broadbent stores, who have had a missing boss for some six years, I say, `You are very important to me'. That comment applies especially to those friends in the now abolished electorate of Streeton. To those friends I would also say, `You are the salt of the earth, and I appreciate everything that you have done for me'.
Lenny McGill said I was a punch-drunk boxer and that I never knew when to lie down. I admit that there have been times when I have felt a little sorry for myself. Obviously the honourable member for Banks felt the same way a few times.
In 1680 there was a gentlemen who had a little tougher time than I have had. His name was Roger Crab and he was in Cromwell's army for seven years. He had his skull cloven in battle and was then sentenced to death for indiscipline but survived to set up a business as a haberdasher or a draper, as I am.
One day he was seized by religious fervour; he gave away his shop and took up residence in a crude hut, where he lived the rest of his life on three farthings a week. His food consisted of bran, dock-leaves, mallows and grass. Several times he was cudgelled and put in the stocks. The wretched sackcloth frock was torn from his back and a merciless whip applied. He was imprisoned four times for being a wizard but died of old age in his hut on this day in 1680. There are those that have had a tough time before me!
I am delighted to be here in this House. As yet, I have not moved into my new office. I owe a great debt to a former member of the House, Len Reid, who was the member for Holt. He has offered me the use of his converted garage as an office for the considerable period since the Federal election. I extend a special thanks to Len Reid.
On the Sunday morning after the election, I received a phone call from Mr Leo Ford, who proceeded to tell me that his record was intact and that he had never handed out how-to-vote cards for a losing candidate. I was pretty thrilled about that; I would rather he told me before the election.
Previously, Mr Ford had handed out how-to-vote cards for the honourable member for Flinders (Mr Reith) and prior to that, Mr Barry Simon. Before that, Sir Phillip Lynch; before that, Sir Billy Snedden and back to 1938, one of our greatest statesmen, Sir Robert Menzies. So I am in pretty good company.
Mr Leo Ford is a past mayor of the City of Oakleigh. He currently resides in the electorate of Corinella and, by coincidence, the current mayor of Oakleigh is Councillor Denise McGill, wife of my good friend, Lenny, whom I mentioned previously.
Although Corinella was a newly constituted electoral seat in Victoria at the last Federal election, there was an electoral seat of Corinella at Federation from 1900 to 1906, which was held by Sir James Whiteside McKay. He was a soldier, politician, lawyer, teacher and borough councillor. Jim McKay won his first seat in State parliament by just 10 votes. Then at Federation he won the seat of Corinella. The only parallel between Jim McKay and me is that he was a councillor, as was I. Indeed, I was Shire President of Pakenham and for six years and a councillor for that shire. I learned then the importance of local government, its closeness to the people and how important it is for this Parliament to face up to the needs and the problems that local government has today.
Jim McKay's story is remarkable. He was shot twice through the hat and once through the shirt on one day and he was not brought down until a bullet broke his leg-an injury that finally saw him relieved of his command and returned to Australia. Of course, there is much more about this man than I could possibly tell the House during the time that I have.
My reading of the biography of Jim McKay only enhanced my gratitude to our forefathers who shed their blood on behalf of their fellow Australians. I am of a generation where only a few have known the destruction of war and fewer have known the discipline of men like McKay.
Sir James McKay would be sad to see the world of today where in my State-Victoria-we have legal brothels. We have a growing drug problem. In fact the Westernport Drug and Alcohol Service tells me it has in my electorate what it calls a major needle exchange program.
Road trauma in Victoria is horrific. We have an inordinate number of single-parent families. Last year Australia had 43,000 divorces. I would remind the House of the resultant poverty of many of these children from broken homes. To our detriment, some are homeless and, worse than that, without hope.
My new electoral seat of Corinella encompasses broadly the area from rural Wonthaggi, Phillip Island to the industrial area of Dandenong-the original hub of commerce gateway for Gippsland. I will not be dissuaded by the remarks of the honourable member for Barker (Mr McLachlan) in regard to the beauty or prominence of individual members' electorates because surely the boundaries of Corinella were made in heaven-from the rolling hills of Wonthaggi along the rugged shores of the Victorian coastline down to Phillip Island and the shores of Westernport Bay where I spent much of my boyhood; the rich, deep peat soils of the Kooweerup swamp-the place of my birth-then up into the magnificent urban surrounds of Cranbourne, Langwarrin, Keysborough and Hampton Park, where there is no room for an airport at this particular time.
My electorate has the Dandenong livestock market, General Motors-Holden's Ltd, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Heinz, the International Harvester company, ACI, and Visy Board Pty Ltd. I could go on, but the real engine of Corinella still lies with the thousands of small businesses like my own and the farms that cover the electorate: family businesses, productive, efficient, stable; clothing manufacturers; furniture; steel fabrication; confectionery; horse training-and a bit of trading; and quarrying. We are the breadbasket of the Garden State. The area from Cranbourne to Kooweerup is a great production area. We export fresh and processed vegetables, organic asparagus, the best potatoes in Australia, the best milk from the Bass Valley, the best celery from the Schreurs farms. In fact the quality of the celery is so fresh that when snapped it can be heard in the eight Federal electorates that I border.
The honourable member for Flinders in his maiden speech spoke of the beauty of Phillip Island, its glorious beaches, penguins, mutton-birds and koalas-70 bus loads of tourists, local and international, descend daily on the island. The importance of tourism to my electorate, the electorate of Corinella, cannot be underestimated. The employment generated throughout the Bass Valley and in the shire of Phillip Island is crucial to our local economy. The devastation of the pilots strike and Victoria's being the first State on the east coast to have a bed tax are not grand preludes to the Australian Motor Cycle Grand Prix to be held at the picturesque Phillip Island circuit on Saturday. Australia will be the focus of world attention in Corinella as Wayne Gardner and Michael Doohan vie for the honour of winning and keeping that victory local.
Talking of a local victory, in the week before my maiden speech to this House, Phillip Island won the grand final in football. I congratulate that team and remind Pakenham footballers that they have a grand final to win next Saturday.
I refer the House to the historical importance of the seat of Corinella and the original settlement: the first Government House, the first wheat crops, the first white man's structure in Victoria, the first military road in Victoria. The capital value of Victoria at this particular time, I dare say, is about the same as it was in the 1890s. The area from Phillip Island to Wonthaggi has major historical importance and significance to this nation. Wonthaggi has a proud history in coal production. Now a flourishing tourist industry in its State coal mine is a reminder of the great miners' union tradition.
My wife and I were pleased to celebrate on the weekend the re-enactment of the landing on Churchill Island of Lieutenant James Grant-a marvellous exercise. I would recommend a visit to Churchill Island to any honourable member; they can stop off at our many small businesses where they can spend their few dollars.
The people of Corinella are as diverse as its businesses, new Australians from our earliest migrant intakes. They have made an enormous contribution to the growth of industry. These people now own farms and businesses, successfully bringing the great attributes of their culture to ours. The immigrants of the seventies and eighties enrich again those people who came on sailing ships from the old country. The people of Corinella came from all over the world and many of them have been in Australia for more than my less than 40 years.
I feel privileged to represent in this House immigrants who still see Australia as a haven full of opportunity and promise, dedicated to their families' futures. Immigrants-many of whom I grew up with-now voice their concern about the balance in our current immigration policy and programs. I urge the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) to take the lead from the Leader of the Opposition (Dr Hewson) and go to the people of Australia and ask them what population mix they would prefer towards the year 2000.
The Westernport region that encompasses Corinella is a rich and diverse community, a microcosm of Australia. How is it that an area so rich can contain so many poor people, as a recent report by the Salvation Army showed? How is it that the richest nation in the southern hemisphere can contain as many people in difficulty as we have in Australia.
Victoria is a financial wasteland. Traditionally it was the strongest industrial State in Australia with the least unemployment of any State. Victoria's strong position emanated from a firm foundation laid in the Bolte years, but it is now in desperate financial trouble and on economic indicators we are reportedly running second to New South Wales.
Our State Government is asking our schools to borrow funds. Rather than accept their recurrent grants, they have offered to pay the interest on borrowings. Our small business is struggling, our plastic money debt is skyrocketing, with interest rates at 25 per cent. The State Government has knocked off the $100 per child education allowance and we are paying 2c on every litre of petrol to support the collapse of the Pyramid Building Society. Why is it that people do not understand that the first casualties of these incompetent governments are those most in need-those people who only want food, a roof, education for their children and grandchildren, and a job. It is sad to report that the big growth industry in my area is in opportunity shops.
The nation must take up the challenge to change our economy, for without reasonable economic growth and foreign debt reduction we will never afford, for instance, to tackle the major environmental problems we have in Australia. Commonsense and balance through leadership are at an all-time low in Australia. We were encouraged to get clever so we could have some social justice. It is not social justice when you cannot pay your rent; it is not social justice when you cannot meet your mortgage repayments; and it is not clever when a deliberate high interest rate policy affects your family budget.
Last year in Corinella we built 30 new homes a day, attacking all the problems of community service and infrastructure needs. Today the building industry is at a near standstill but State and Federal governments are asking us to build and house more than 60,000 people in the next five years.
Some members of this House are household names; those in my electorate of Corinella have no greatness, but they are people who are popular in their homes. They are loved by the house cat, by the dog, by the neighbour's children and by their spouses. They are great people, even if they have never had their names in Who's Who. My electorate of Corinella has many such people.
Strong Opposition is good government. We have a first-class leader and an excellent team of which I am proud to be a member. I look forward to my initial term in parliament.
Honourable members-Hear, hear!
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Dubois) —Before I call the honourable member for Kennedy I remind the House that this is the honourable member's maiden speech and I ask the House to extend to him the usual courtesies.