Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 20 May 1985
Page: 2133

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Community Services)(3.18) —There are two characteristics of politicians which are least attractive to the general public. One is righteous indignation, which we have heard from Senator Macklin this afternoon, and the other is pomposity, which we have heard from Senator Chaney. So I will indulge in a bit of hyperbole.

Senator Puplick —See whether you can do them both in the one go.

Senator GRIMES —I will try to do the whole lot. Senator Chaney gave us a lecture on manners. I have been in the unfortunate situation in this session of the Parliament of being the Minister on duty on the adjournment. I have sat in the chamber during the adjournment debate and listened to all sorts of nonsense from honourable senators opposite frequently attacking Ministers and other honourable senators on this side of the chamber. I will check when I get back to my office, because I have kept a note, but on at least five occasions a senator has made his speech and gone home to bed without waiting for any reply. Perhaps Senator Chaney could talk to senators on his side of the chamber about manners and decency.

Senator Chaney —It is also a question of responsibility on the part of Ministers.

Senator GRIMES —Is it the responsibility only of Ministers to hang around? It may be that Senator Ryan had something important to do. If, every time a Minister pours a bucket on someone, he or she had to stay around for half an hour afterwards to see whether someone will cry, Senator Walsh would never leave the place. Senator Chaney would have never left the place when he was in government.

Let me talk about other things in this place. If every time a Minister says something unkind about a senator on the opposite side and that senator moves that the Senate take note of the answer and gives us a quarter of an hour of nonsense-

Senator Haines —Ten minutes.

Senator GRIMES —It was more than 10 minutes, it was nearer to a quarter of an hour. If every senator spoke for a quarter of an hour, as Senator Macklin did, we would do nothing else in this place. There are a couple of issues which Senator Macklin gets up and bleats about in this place with what I call phoney righteous indignation. One issue is Aboriginal affairs. The other day he made an impassioned speech about how he would give land rights to the Aborigines, no ifs or buts, no problems. Then we said: 'Would you give them the right to mine uranium?' In a little voice, sotto voce, he said: 'Yes'. Then Senator Jack Evans jumped at him and tried to make him sit down, so we asked him again, and he again said: 'Yes'. He carries on like that. In the next couple of weeks we will have him getting up and making sanctimonious speeches about the evils of uranium mining.

He does exactly the same thing about veterans. For anyone to get up in this place and claim that the Government should not be concerned about the consequences of the O'Brien case and the $500m expenditure that is likely to arise, is absolute nonsense. It is nonsense to get up and say 'We want to take legislative action as a result of the O'Brien case' and to say that this will deprive the veterans of this country, and not be concerned that it will deprive the taxpayers of this country. Why does Senator Macklin not do it when the legislation comes up? Are we to have this again and again and again? Why does Senator Macklin not respond to Senator Ryan's answer on the adjournment? He will not do any of those things. The reason Senator Macklin got up here today is that the light up there says 'broadcasting' and he is under the illusion that there are a million people out there listening. No-one is listening. This motion has been put forward by Senator Macklin for a few headlines, and I suggest that the best thing we can do is get it out of the way and keep it off the Notice Paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.