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Wednesday, 26 April 1961


Mr BARNES (Mcpherson) .- It is interesting to note that of the three speakers who have spoken on the Opposition side in this debate, two have chosen Queensland as the State worst affected by unemployment. It is interesting because Queensland has the longest history of control by a Labour government of any State in the Commonwealth. Labour governments were in office in Queensland for 40 years and in that time not one single great industry was brought to Queensland. To-day, Queensland relies on a rural economy which has been brought about by Labour administration over a period of 40 years. We might ask, Mr. Deputy Speaker, why no great industry was established in Queensland in that time. The answer is this: During that period, it was the policy of the Labour Government in Queensland - as it has been the policy of all socialist governments - to increase the taxes of all those who contribute something to the wealth of the country. In the period before the introduction of uniform taxation, Queensland had the highest incidence of income tax of any State in Australia. The company tax was 2s. higher than any other rate of company tax in Australia. Is it any wonder that industries have not come to Queensland? 1 remind the House also that Queensland is the only Australian State that has abolished its Upper House of legislature. With only one house in the State Parliament, there is no security for industry. A Cabinet can decide to alter any law or make any law. With a docile party following its leaders - as is the case with the Labour Party - the decision of Cabinet can become law the next day. Do the people realize that with a one-house parliament such as we have in Queensland, the Government can take away the franchise of the people affected overnight? That is something the people should ponder. We believe in one. man one vote but that right can be lost overnight. The judiciary is in a most uneasy position also because any judge can be sacked overnight under a one-house system.

Industry does not like to face up to such a situation. If an industry is established in a State, those responsible for it like to know that their investment, possibly amounting to millions of pounds, has some security. It is amazing to compare Queensland, the richest State in Australia in natural resources, with the other States. As I have said, not one industry was brought to Queensland by the Labour governments that were in office for 40 years. Let us compare Queensland with South Australia - a State poor in natural resources as some honorable members have said. South Australia has the greatest development in proportion to its natural resources of any State in Australia. It also has probably the greatest history of anti-socialist government of any Australian State; yet nobody in this House, and certainly nobody in the Opposition, has mentioned unemployment in South Australia. The people should ponder this situation.

Unfortunately, it is true that we have unemployment in Queensland, but that is simply because we have a rural economy with resultant seasonal unemployment. The situation has been adversely affected by the drought. Meat works in Queensland would have started earlier but for the drought. As the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) has said, the meat season will prob ably be short because the monsoon failed us. We did not get the heavy rains which normally fall in the north in the monsoon season, and so we will not have the usual flow of cattle to the meat works.


Mr Duthie - What about the timber industry?


Mr BARNES - Three industries were affected by the Government's economic measures, and they were industries which had over-expanded. The answer is contained in the report of the Tariff Board o:i the timber industry. In the building industry, there were widespread complaints about workmanship. There was terrific overexpansion in the industry. Workmanship was bad and inefficient and the cost to the community was considerable. It is easy for the Australian Labour Party to criticize the amount of unemployment in Australia. There is no unemployment in a totalitarian economy because, under that system, no one has the. choice of a job. Here it does no harm to repeat that when the Labour Government was in office eleven years ago one of its Ministers said that the time was fast approaching when a man would no longer be able to choose his own job. Of course there would be full employment in such an economy, but the individual would have no choice of the calling he would follow. The honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) said that 40,000 workers had changed their employment.


Mr Barnard - They were compulsorily transferred.


Mr BARNES - That is the honorable member's version. I point out to him that under a Labour government the decision as to where a man worked would be made by the government. As to seasonal employment, it should be noted that the awards of seasonal workers provide a loading to cover the period between the end of one season and the beginning of the next. Since the present Government has been in office these seasonal workers have enjoyed continual employment between seasons. It is only now that things are becoming harder for them, but the remedy is fast coming to Queensland in that industries are being encouraged by the anti-socialist government there to set up operations in that State.

The honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) criticized the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Pearce) because no industries were being set up at Rockhampton. 1 should say that the honorable member for Capricornia has done more than any other person to encourage the establishment of new industries in his electorate. I mention, for example, the coal industry at Kianga and the new oil refinery at Port Alma. Undoubtedly there will be further development in that State because of the confidence industries have in its present anti-socialist government.

In this debate initiated by the Opposition - and we have had quite a number of them recently - we are criticized for the overall unemployment of 2 per cent, in Australia. But honorable gentlemen opposite have put forward a very weak case. With our delicately balanced economy, when we depend on our primary industries for 80 per cent, of our overseas income, we are in a particularly vulnerable position, in that we have no control over the prices we receive for the primary products we export.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member's time has expired.







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