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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1222


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Community Services)(1.16) —in reply-Mr President, I hate to disappoint Senator MacGibbon, but I am afraid that the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) is not going to lose any sleep over his speech, one of these many speeches we hear from Senator MacGibbon espousing his far right views, indirectly supporting governments like the government of South Africa and therefore the apartheid system. He made personal attacks on the Prime Minister, as he often does, and also as he frequently does, on the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden). I remind Senator MacGibbon, as I have reminded him before, that there are some countries which he supports, like South Africa, where such attacks would not be tolerated at all. I will speak briefly on the first item, the matter of the Queensland industrial dispute. The Prime Minister has on several occasions contacted the Premier of Queensland and said: 'Look, you should talk to me and you should talk to the trade unions about what is happening out there instead of taking this confrontationist attitude'. Premier Bjelke-Petersen has refused.

The Prime Minister has not, by word or deed, encouraged the actions taken by people outside of Queensland. Senator MacGibbon considers that activity as acting against the law. Where was Senator MacGibbon when the truck drivers and owners blockaded the Hume Highway for several days, blockaded the city of Sydney and Premier Johannes Bjelke-Petersen came out in support of them and urged them? Where was Senator MacGibbon and what was he saying then? He was saying nothing. Who is being selective? Senator MacGibbon is obsessed with his mad League of Rights nonsense that he goes on with in this place and obsessed with the fact that the vast majority of the people in this country know and respect the Prime Minister and hardly any of them know Senator MacGibbon, or will they ever. Maybe they should know about his activities when he was out of this country for so long and maybe they should know whom he really represents in this place.

I turn now to his comments about the Prime Minister's comments about the cricketers who have allegedly signed contracts to go to South Africa for considerable amounts of money. It was reported to be said by those who arranged the contract that they had so arranged the contract that the cricketers would not have to pay taxes in this country. They were going to avoid taxes and all the Prime Minister said was: 'Of course, as in any form of tax avoidance, the Taxation Office in this country should make sure that they pay their full taxes'. Senator MacGibbon is always happy to get up in this place and oppose legislation which is aimed at people who have avoided taxes, who have hurt the taxpayers of this country, making sure that those people get their just deserts instead of causing the pay-as-you-earn taxpayer in this country to pay so much extra taxes.

I suppose the sensible thing to do, and had it been later at night I would have done so, would be to ignore the right wing ravings of Senator MacGibbon, but I think every now and again when he gets up and makes these personal attacks about the Prime Minister someone should respond to them. I have responded to them today, but I know they will not end and I am not expecting them to end. We do not expect the ravings of people like Senator MacGibbon to end because he cannot control himself. He is the one who is filled with envy; he is the one who is filled with a sense of frustration because on two occasions the Prime Minister has led the Party of which I am a member to be the government of this country. All the predictions of Senator MacGibbon about all the problems that that would create have not been borne out.

The adjournment debate is usually held when everyone has gone home at night; it is just on the odd day that we have the adjournment debate in the middle of the day. I suppose the adjournment debate is the best time for Senator MacGibbon to indulge in his ravings. No-one takes any notice of them, very few people ever report them and I think the Senate would be much better occupied in getting on with the Estimates, which are far more important to this country than the views and expressions of Senator MacGibbon.