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Monday, 20 May 1985
Page: 2130


Senator BOSWELL —Is the Minister representing the Treasurer aware of the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures which show that in the first three months of this year Queensland, with 16 per cent of the nation's population, accounted for 21 per cent of all new building approvals, 30 per cent of the national value of all non-housing building projects and 23.7 per cent of the total value of all building projects in Australia? Does he agree that these figures are indicative of a healthy, prosperous economy? How does he explain these figures in the light of the continued unjustified attacks on the Queensland economy from various Labor critics?


Senator WALSH —I am aware of the fact that 73 per cent of the working days lost through industrial disputes in the month of February were lost in the State of Queensland. I am aware of the fact that Queensland has the highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth-higher even than Tasmania. It has the highest rate of children born out of wedlock-a fact which I would have thought would have concerned the pseudo-moralistic, pseudo-Christian Government of Queensland.


Senator Boswell —I take a point of order, Mr President. I asked a question on housing. The Minister is turning this Question Time into a farce, as he always does. I call on you to call him to order and to reprimand him.


The PRESIDENT —Order! There is no point of order. I ask the Minister to relate his remarks to Senator Boswell's question.


Senator WALSH —Certainly, Mr President. I can only speculate as to why Senator Boswell jumped up so quickly when I mentioned the number of children born out of wedlock.


The PRESIDENT —Order, Senator Walsh!


Senator WALSH —With regard to the building statistics, I think the chief one cited was that for building approvals. I do not happen to have the figures here with me. I will look at them when I get back to my office. The figures may or may not be correct. I am not sure whether Senator Boswell knows how to read an Australian Bureau of Statistics table. If he does, that puts him one or two steps ahead of some of his South Australian Liberal Party colleagues who do not seem to be able to read a table on wine sales and changes in wine sales in one year compared with those the previous year. As I said the other day, those senators appear to be both innumerate and illiterate.


Senator Grimes —But not legitimate?


Senator WALSH —I have no knowledge of whether they are legitimate or not. I will look at the tables and check out Senator Boswell's numeracy and literacy. Even if those figures are correct, of course it is a well known fact that something is very wrong in the State of Queensland, politically, economically and in almost every other way one can think of.