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Tuesday, 26 March 1985
Page: 850

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Community Services)(10.59) —in reply-It has been a long night. I was very interested in the long speech by Senator Missen. I certainly would be a bit worried about travelling down the Great Barrier Reef if all the things that he has said tonight are true. I will refer all those matters to the Minister for Transport (Mr Peter Morris) for further attention. I take seriously the matters raised by Senator Boswell. I will certainly refer them to the Minister for Social Security (Mr Howe). However, I shall make a couple of comments on them. The figures Senator Boswell presented tonight are quite fascinating. He tells us of a situation of someone who has 590 acres of land in Queensland with a market value of only $30,500. That is a bit contrary to the sort of nonsense we get from the Queensland representatives in this place. I do not know of any 590 acres of land in Tasmania that would be worth only $30,500. The valuation of that land by the Valuer-General is only $13,600 yet the Department of Social Security values it at $365,000. Quite obviously, there are considerable differences there. I will certainly ask the Minister for Social Security to look into that. We also heard of the 213 acres of land worth, on market values, $21,000. The Valuer-General values it at only $4,000-again, extraordinary values in Queensland-yet the Department of Social Security values it at $225,000. That is obviously worth looking at.

I remind Senator Boswell of what I said today. We have an assets test to which he objects strongly. He believes that people who have land worth $365,000 or $225,000, even in real value, should still be able to get the full pension and fringe benefits whereas his colleagues in Queensland say that people who have assets worth more than $5,000 should not receive home care or domiciliary care. I ask him some time, perhaps on the adjournment-but, please, not tonight-to explain those differences.

I find Senator Townley's speech extraordinary. Senator Townley is well known in this Parliament as an apologist for the South African Government. In fact I remember meeting Senator Townley on three occasions when he was swanning around representatives of the South African Government in this country. He will apologise for the actions of the South African Government at any time. In fact he has been to South Africa and had his fare paid by the South African Government. He has had his fare and his living expenses in South Africa paid by the South African Government. It is extraordinary that, on the twenty-fifth anniversary, as he said, of the Sharpeville massacre-two days after there has been another massacre in South Africa; a massacre of black people who were shot down-he gets up in this Parliament and says that the representatives of those black people should not be heard, that the words that they wish to speak on behalf of their own people should not be heard in this country. He has the gall to get up to suggest that what this Government is doing is in some surreptitious way passing money to terrorist organisations for their use. Senator Townley is the great supporter of the South African Government. He is a great supporter of South African business in this country which takes its money back to South Africa and uses it to suppress the great majority population of that country.

I have met Senator Townley in streets in Tasmania where he has been swanning around representatives of the South African Government who take him to South Africa and do what is known in this country as duchess him-look after him very well. He comes back here and is second only to Senator Sheil in supporting the apartheid regime in South Africa. A couple of days after there has been a terrible slaughter of black people in South Africa, almost on the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre-even the American Secretary of State Mr Shultz condemns the apartheid regime in South Africa-Senator Townley decides to speak. Alone in this Parliament Senator Townley says: 'The South Africans are perfectly right in suppressing their black majority'. According to Senator Townley, we should not even allow into this country an organisation which wishes to speak for black majority rule. I think Senator Townley should remember that he is a senator for Tasmania and not for South Africa. He should remember that if he takes his trips to South Africa, swans around that country and is treated there in a way that no black citizen of that country would be treated, he does not have the right to come in here and go on in the way he did tonight. If he does it again I will again get up and condemn him.

I will not refer Senator Townley's remarks to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden). If the Minister for Foreign Affairs wishes to read those remarks and read the scurrilous nonsense that Senator Townley went on with tonight about the actions of this Government he can, but I will not take the trouble to refer them to him. I make it perfectly clear that that is so. I have heard Senator Townley go on in this way in the past. I dare say that now Senator Sheil is back he will do the same thing. I do not think that this chamber, at any time of the day let alone at this time of the night, should have to put up with such rubbish. As I said last night, I think we all should go home to bed.

Senator Townley —Mr President,-

Senator Grimes —Mr President, Senator Townley has spoken already.

The PRESIDENT —Yes, I know. Senator Townley, are you seeking leave to speak?

Senator Townley —I seek leave to make a brief statement.

Leave not granted.

Senator Townley —Mr President, on a point of order, I suggest to the Minister for Community Services that I wish to make only a very brief statement. It might save a lot of time in this place on future days if leave were granted.

Senator Grimes —No.

The PRESIDENT —Leave has been sought by Senator Townley to make a statement and leave has been refused. Therefore, I have to put the question that the Senate do now adjourn.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 11.07 p.m.