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Thursday, 28 February 1985
Page: 335

Senator BOSWELL —Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware of the statement on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's AM radio program this morning by the General Secretary of the Trades and Labor Council in Queensland, Mr Ray Dempsey, in relation to talks in Canberra seeking Federal intervention in the current Queensland electricity dispute? Is he aware that, among other matters, Mr Dempsey indicated that he would be seeking action or discrimination against Queensland by the Commonwealth in taxation and other areas? Will Senator Button give an unequivocal assurance that Queensland and Queenslanders will not be asked to pay disproportionate or additional tax burdens and that they will not be in any way discriminated against financially or otherwise by the Commonwealth Government to shore up the Trades and Labor Council's power base in Queensland or to undermine the authority of the State Government? Can Senator Button give an assurance that these discriminatory tactics, as advocated by Mr Dempsey this morning, will not be applied by the Commonwealth to Queensland and to Queenslanders?

Senator BUTTON —I did not hear what Mr Dempsey said. This Government will behave with fairness and equity towards all citizens in respect of the taxation regime. We have always tried to do so and will continue to do that irrespective of whether people live in Queensland or elsewhere. The way Senator Boswell puts Mr Dempsey's comments, they do not sound terribly attractive to me. No doubt we will have an opportunity to look at them in due course.