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- Start of Business
- PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIES
- RECORD OF DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS
- ROUTINE OF BUSINESS
- SALES TAX LEGISLATION
NEW BUSINESS AFTER 11 P.M.
ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE
- SALES TAX LEGISLATION
- WOOL TAX AMENDMENT LEGISLATION
- EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND TRAINING AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK (ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT CHARGE—GENERAL) BILL 1993
- GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK (ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT CHARGE—EXCISE) BILL 1993
- DAIRY PRODUCE AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- AUSTRALIAN WOOL REALISATION COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (FURTHER PAYMENT) BILL 1993
- ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS (NORTHERN TERRITORY) AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL TRAINING AUTHORITY AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL (No. 2) 1993
- TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT (SUPERANNUATION) BILL 1993
- SOCIAL SECURITY AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- VETERANS' AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- EXCISE TARIFF AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- MEMBERS SWORN
- MINISTERIAL ARRANGEMENTS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Dr HEWSON, Mr BEDDALL)
(Mr BEVIS, Mr KEATING)
(Dr KEMP, Mr BEDDALL)
(Mr ELLIOTT, Mr DAWKINS)
(Dr WOOLDRIDGE, Mr BEDDALL)
Wool Industry: Financial Assistance
(Mr HARRY WOODS, Mr CREAN)
(Dr KEMP, Mr BEDDALL)
Japan: Trade Relations
(Ms CRAWFORD, Mr KEATING)
(Dr KEMP, Mr BEDDALL)
Food Industry: Exports to Asia
(Mr SNOW, Mr GRIFFITHS)
(Dr KEMP, Mr BEDDALL)
(Mr HOLLIS, Mr LEE)
(Dr KEMP, Mr BEDDALL)
Housing Industry: Trends
(Mr JENKINS, Mr HOWE)
(Dr HEWSON, Mr BEDDALL)
Political Parties: Policies
(Mr MELHAM, Mr KEATING)
(Dr KEMP, Mr BEDDALL)
Number of Questions
(Mr TIM FISCHER)
- Pay Television
- AUDITOR-GENERAL'S REPORTS
- PAPERS: PRESENTATION
- SPORT AND RECREATION MINISTERS COUNCIL
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- REGISTRAR OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS
- SERJEANT-AT-ARMS: APPOINTMENT
- PROTECTION OF THE SEA (OIL POLLUTION COMPENSATION FUND) BILL 1993
- PROTECTION OF THE SEA (IMPOSITION OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO OIL POLLUTION COMPENSATION FUND—GENERAL) BILL 1993
- PROTECTION OF THE SEA (IMPOSITION OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO OIL POLLUTION COMPENSATION FUND—CUSTOMS) BILL 1993
- PROTECTION OF THE SEA (IMPOSITION OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO OIL POLLUTION COMPENSATION FUND—EXCISE) BILL 1993
- ROAD TRANSPORT CHARGES (AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY) BILL 1993
- BANKRUPTCY AMENDMENT BILL 1993
- APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 5) 1992-93
Wednesday, 5 May 1993
Mr GRIFFIN (11.17 p.m.) May I take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on your election as Speaker of this House and also to extend my congratulations to the new Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees. I am sure that you will both do credit to us all in your new roles and assist greatly in the orderly conduct of the chamber.
I stand on this occasion to speak for the first time in this House. I feel honoured to have been selected by the Labor Party to contest the recent election and I look forward to playing a constructive role in the Government in the years to come. I also feel a responsibility and duty to my electorate to work hard on behalf of all its residents, for there is certainly much work to do.
As I look around the chamber, it is clear that the paths each of us have taken to arrive at this place are many and varied. The road I have travelled to this destination has been a long one. My political leanings were established in a working class family. My father, Alby Griffin, instilled in me from an early age three basic reference points to guide my political life: firstly, an understanding that the working people of this country are in need of the political representations that the Labor Party continues to provide; secondly, that the union movement is crucial to the advancement of the working conditions of ordinary Australians; and, thirdly, that if you do not stand up for yourself you cannot expect someone else to stand up and do it for you.
In such a short time it is hard to expand these points in detail. However, the role of the Labor Party as a vehicle to represent the aspirations of working class Australians is clear to any fair-minded observer. Our party and this Government have a superior record in the areas of assistance to lower social economic groups, far-sighted social reform and the development of a clear Australian identity. Whatever our faults, the Labor Party is vital to the defence of the less well off in our society.
The role of trade unions in Australian society has engendered considerable debate and controversy since their inception. However, as one who grew up surrounded by active rank and file unionists the need for trade unions to defend workers from the excesses of some employers was and is abundantly clear. Unions have been essential in the ongoing struggle to improve wages and conditions throughout the work force. Their work is a crucial part of our society's necessary checks and balances against the unrestrained free market kill or be killed approach embraced by many of the members opposite.
My father also taught me that, although collective action is the best approach, we have to play our part in that collective. We have to take positions and we have to defend ourselves. I am reminded of an old maxim, `If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem'. I have always sought to be part of the solution as I have worked in the Labor movement and I hope to play a similar role in this place.
Throughout the last 14 years as a member of the Labor Party I have sought to be active in support of these basic principles. I have done so as an active campaign worker whilst working for a number of parliamentarians, both State and federal, and as an official with several trade unions. I believe my background within the Labor movement has given me an appreciation of the needs of ordinary working people, an understanding of the problems they face, and also the capacity to assist them with these problems. I look forward to continuing this involvement with my constituents on a local level as well as in this place.
My views of, and commitment to, reform through the Labor Party have lead me to the Federal Parliament but, as all honourable members would know, we do not get here by ourselves. There are many people who are deserving of my thanks, but I feel there is not sufficient time to name all but a few of them. I have mentioned my father for his role in the development of the young activist. I add to that my mother, Marj Griffin, for her contribution. I am joined in this Parliament by two close friends whom I have worked with over the last decade. They are the newly elected honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Tanner), and the recently installed senator for Victoria, Kim Carr. I thank them for their assistance and advice and look forward to continuing our effective association in the future. It is impossible for me to name all of the people involved in the recent election campaign. Suffice it to say that I am here because of the tireless effort of many branch members and volunteers who made the campaign for Corinella the great and conclusive success that it was. I owe them all a great debt.
My thanks also goes to the Victorian union movement for its support. It showed very clearly that when under attack it can and will respond strongly to ensure that its members' interests are defended. Most importantly, my thanks goes to my wife, Marianne, and daughters, Hannah and Bridget. I have not been able to spend as much time with them as I would wish or that they deserve. However, let them have no doubt of the crucial role they have played in my success. I love them dearly.
I come to this place as the first Labor Party member for the seat of Corinella and only its third member since its creation in 1901. The seat was abolished in 1906 and recreated in 1990. Corinella extends from the Melbourne suburbs of Noble Park and Keysborough, through the rapidly developing area of the shire of Cranbourne and around Westernport Bay to Phillip Island. It is a diverse electorate in every sense of the word.Politically, on this occasion, the true believers in the metropolitan and former coal mining parts of the electorate triumphed over the tiger country that extends through south-west Gippsland. I expect that this will continue, given the massive growth planned for suburbs like Hampton Park and Cranbourne.
Corinella presents a great challenge to me as its local member, and to the Government. Key issues of urban and regional development must be addressed in the south-eastern growth corridor of Melbourne, and no doubt on the fringe of all our capital cities. Corinella is indicative of the problems to be faced and the challenges that must be met. As our cities grow and the pressure for our urban areas to expand increases, we have a responsibility to ensure that the people who are encouraged to move to these new suburbs are provided with the infrastructure and services that are necessary to make their living standards acceptable.
When one looks at the issues to be faced, I am reminded of the Chifley Government's important work in post-war reconstruction as an early example of government endeavouring to provide the necessary basic infrastructure essential for new suburbs. By long-term planning and the identification of what new communities need, they were able to facilitate successful urban development to cater for a massively increasing population. The Whitlam Government also sought to address similar problems, over 20 years later, through the Department of Urban and Regional Development.
These Labor governments worked towards ensuring that the people who inhabited our fastest growing areas were provided with the necessary infrastructure. The current Government continues in this fine tradition across many program areas, but in particular through initiatives such as the building better cities program. Under the better cities program, this Government is demonstrating methods by which the growth of our cities can be tackled. Improved urban planning, better land use, increased housing choices and affordability, transport costs and availability, and the need for integrated service provision with developments are all part of what will be addressed.
People are entitled to accessible and reliable public transport; government departments represented where they live; programs to assist with aged care, child-care and family assistance; support services for those who need it; and education and training facilities in the areas people are moving to. These are just some of the requirements that must be addressed to help to build communities in these new suburbs and minimise social problems as they continue to grow. This will require coordination across local, State and Federal governments, innovative thinking and long-term planning. The private sector will also play a very important role in such initiatives.
In recent times this Government has been committed to a number of local initiatives in Corinella that are indicative of our commitment on these issues. Under the better cities program the rail line to Cranbourne will be upgraded and electrified. Within two years both the CES and the DSS will have offices in Cranbourne, and probably considerably sooner. A campus of Monash University is to be constructed nearby in Berwick, and innovative housing developments are to be funded in the Lyndhurst area. I am pleased that this Government has this commitment. I assure the House that I will work hard to ensure not only that these commitments are honoured but also that other initiatives are made to continue this good work.
Unemployment remains a serious problem within Corinella. This must be addressed. I was encouraged by the Government's commitment through One Nation and the local capital works program to putting money into proposals that would both provide jobs relatively quickly and ensure that long-term relevant assets were created. As further initiatives are enacted, such as the investment allowance proposal, I look forward to employment improving. However, the war on unemployment must be this Government's No. 1 priority. Without jobs, the social and economic dislocations to the community must be addressed. As one who was unemployed in the 1982 recession, I feel for these people who are directly and indirectly suffering. As we continue to move out of recession, and as our economy improves, we must be prepared, if necessary, to intervene further in the economy to attack unemployment.
The Labor Government has made significant investment in education and training to equip this country with the labour force it needs to compete in the world economy. It is a fact that over the last 10 years this Government has made significant advances in the field of post-secondary education, with retention rates through to tertiary education increasing at unprecedented rates. However, even this success has produced new challenges for the future. Large parts of my electorate of Corinella still have very low levels of participation in tertiary education. The teenagers of areas such as the shire of Cranbourne will need further government assistance to ensure that they have the opportunity to further their education. I will be actively seeking greater government assistance for the development of further education options where they live.
Local initiatives are already under consideration regarding a community college proposal to service the south-eastern growth corridor. This is in line with the Carmichael report, which I commend to all honourable members as an innovative and far-sighted report to address our training needs for the future.
The recent election campaign provided a stark contrast between the platforms of the major parties. The coalition went to the electorate with a radical conservative program unprecedented in Australian Federal election campaigns. Without going into the obvious specifics, the basic tenets were massive cuts in government expenditure and services, and a withdrawal, or diminution at least, of government support in a wide range of areas, of which health care was probably the most contentious.
In addition, the so-called freeing-up of Australia's industrial relations system was a glaring example of the laissez-faire ideological basis of the Opposition's program. In contrast, the Labor Government emphasised its concern for maintaining the Government's role in the economy, whether it be via Medicare, maintaining the safety net of the award system or a greater commitment to assistance for the unemployed, including job creating initiatives.
On 13 March the Australian people made their decision—a wise decision. They endorsed the broad framework of Labor's program in comparison with the program of the Opposition. I know that in my electorate of Corinella the young families, the working people and many of those suffering under the debilitating pressure of unemployment endorsed Labor's program and the philosophy that is its base. They understand that the Government has a role to play in our economy, that we cannot leave people hanging out to dry without an award system and that access to an equitable health system is what they want and deserve.
I endorse the decision of the Australian people of 13 March. I agree with them that government has a legitimate and real responsibility to play a constructive and interventionist role in the economy. I fully support this Government maintaining a hands-on approach where appropriate, and I hold the view that it is often essential.
Prior to my election as the member for Corinella, I had the pleasure of being a councillor of the city of Springvale. Springvale is an extremely culturally diverse city, and a significant part of the city is in the top end of Corinella. In Springvale we are proud of our multicultural community, and the council is a strong supporter of multiculturalism. Springvale was also extremely fortunate to have a chief executive officer who provided innovative and progressive leadership until his untimely death. The late Ian Tatterson was a great leader in local government who could have played a major role at any level of government. I share his commitment to multiculturalism and to community services and his support for government programs such as the English as a second language program. I value the support I received from migrant communities within the electorate, and I pledge my continued support for government programs that assist them to be active participants in local communities and in the wider community generally.
Corinella also contains the borough of Wonthaggi, Phillip Island and a significant portion of south-west Gippsland. South-west Gippsland is a major farming area for Victoria. Dairy and poultry farming are important constituencies in the electorate, as is vegetable growing. I note the comments today of my colleague the Minister for Industry, Technology and Regional Development (Mr Griffiths) regarding promising developments in the food processing industry, as this will have important implications for local producers in the long term. I share four things with the Minister: a commitment to encourage the development of Australian industry; membership of the Australian Labor Party; support of the great Essendon football team; and an embarrassingly similar name. I am proud of three of these points, but I am quite sick of the confusion caused by the last one.
The borough of Wonthaggi has a distinguished history in the Labor movement. As the location of the State coalmine and the most active ALP branch in my electorate, it is the home of many old miners and their families. If I were ever to question why I am a member of the Australian Labor Party, I would look to Wonthaggi to remind me of the great working traditions of unionism and community support.
Phillip Island and the coast of Western Port Bay combine a delicate environment with significant tourist attractions that are of an international standard. The balancing act of protecting this environment while developing its tourist potential is a task that must be mastered. I look forward to working with the local community in this endeavour. The capacity for job creation through tourism is a real and important issue to this area, but it relies also on the maintenance of the local environment.
I look forward to the challenges of serving the people of Corinella, both in the electorate and in the parliamentary arena. I thank honourable members for the courtesy extended to me tonight.
Debate (on motion by Mr Bruce Scott) adjourned.