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Thursday, 21 March 1985
Page: 578


Senator HARRADINE(3.18) —I simply indicate that there is a difficulty with respect to the membership of the Economic Planning Advisory Council. No member of that council represents the general viewpoint of the average woman in the home, that is, the full time mother. In fact, I studied the documents that were prepared by EPAC. In those documents I could see nothing that was directed towards an objective consideration of the need for support, for recognition of the importance of the work done by the mother in the home. In fact, the only reference that was made was made in a document prepared by Mr Menzies. I hope my memory serves me correctly on that point. That document suggested a reduction in or abolition of the spouse rebate. It is quite remarkable that in a body such as EPAC there appears not to be a person who would be able to represent that very large number of dedicated Australians who are doing probably one of the most important jobs in this country. I refer to the nurturing and education of and the caring for the young. No one in EPAC has addressed himself to the economic worth of that work, let alone its social worth.


Senator Button —Hugh Stretton has had a fair bit to say about that.


Senator HARRADINE —In EPAC?


Senator Button —No, not in EPAC, but in general.


Senator HARRADINE —We are talking about EPAC at the moment.


Senator Button —I understand that you were talking about EPAC. You said nobody had given any attention to it.


Senator HARRADINE —Well, I have certainly given a fair bit of attention to it over the years. I am simply talking about EPAC here. It probably escapes the notice of some of the businessmen, for example, and of some of the other interest groups on EPAC, but it ought not. I congratulate the courage-perhaps that is putting it too highly-or the foresight of Mr Coates and Mr Kelman in drafting their well-considered comments on the capital gains tax matter. They were honest enough to approach that matter as members of EPAC and as people with open minds-and expert minds at that. I feel that the criticisms levelled at Mr Coates and Mr Kelman for daring to raise publicly matters about the capital gains tax were unworthy of those who levelled them. It could be said that shareholders or policy holders in the various companies had different opinions but, surely, persons of the stature of Coates and Kelman ought to be able to consider objectively whether a capital gains tax should be introduced and, if so, how it should be done. Surely we should not go on a witch hunt just because people raise matters which need raising in any event in the context of a review of the taxation system.

There are a number of other matters on which I want to comment, but we have only five minutes to do so under Standing Orders. I feel that the rights of and the efforts put in by those women who are doing a very important job in the home should be considered by EPAC and, at least, a paper should be prepared by the secretariat to outline the economic worth of their contribution to society.