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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1379


Mr SPEAKER -Order! 1 suggest that the honourable member for Sturt address the House through the Chair; he should not address an individual member.


Mr FOSTER - The Minister went off last night, as he was not able to do it at any other time, for the simple reason that he issued Press handouts at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and he could not withdraw them. There was an embargo on them but perhaps he thought that he should go off last night. But I do not want to waste any more time on that matter. 1 want to refer to some reports which have appeared in the Press from time to time. Let us have a look at what the daily Press has to say about this Government. When is it going to do the right thing and get out of office? In every newspaper in the nation today one sees that the Government is under attack. A headline in one newspaper states: 'Child Patients Sleep on the Floor: Ministers Make Statements'. There is a surplus of some $630m in this year's Budget, but the Government does nothing about these children. It is not concerned about the fact that children in Australia are sleeping on hospital floors. It could not care less. A headline in another newspaper, referring to the tragedy in Pakistan, states: 'Death Reaps a Young Harvest'. An article in another newspaper says that the Prime Minister (Mr MoMahon) has sent a message of mercy. Where is his humanitarian thinking? What is the Government prepared to do about these matters? Nothing.

Turning to the question of trade, a headline in another newspaper states: 'United States Plans an Even Tougher Trade Policy*. What does the Government do about it? Another headline states: 'Huge Rise in Cost of Freights to the United Slates'. It is just a mere 30-odd per cent. The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony), in answer to a question today, was not able to say that the Government is prepared to do one single thing about the fact that Australia's rural industries will be required to pay this exorbitant freight slug. The Government is to do nothing about it at all. The Minister gets out of it by saying that the increase will be only 15 per cent on wool, so what have we to worry about? The fact is that the wool industry cannot afford it. In addition, something has been said about 2 blokes who were sacked for selling wheat. I think that the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) dealt with that matter last night. One can go through the newspapers day after day and see the headlines. What in fact is the Government going to do in regard to the wool industry? Yesterday's Melbourne 'Herald' stated that the public cannot back wool much longer, even if the Government thinks it can. What do the so-called responsible Ministers of the Crown propose to do about that? The Minister got up, and attempted to defend the crowded hospital situation in which the children of this nation were sleeping on the floor.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There seems to be a concerted attempt from my right to disrupt the honourable member for Sturt. I suggest that honourable members on my right cease interjecting.


Mr FOSTER - Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Hurford - Mr Speaker, would this be an appropriate time for me to move for an extension of time for the honourable member for Sturt?


Mr SPEAKER - No.


Mr FOSTER - Alongside a photograph of Bob Hawke is the heading '"We Were Wrong", the Prime Minister admits'. When will he do something to correct the wrongs and the evils that he is inflicting upon the community today? The editorial in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' has a further crack at the Prime Minister in an extremely roundabout sort of way. But, of course, the editorial places emphasis on the fact that the Government wants to get out of the present economic situation, which is of its own making, by insisting that there should be a fair pool of unemployed. Another headline states: 'Government is Likely to do Something for the Aged in the Community'. I do not know where members of the Government meet; it is probably down in the dungeons somewhere where they thrash out these matters with a blind eye to the needs of the public and the community generally. Apparently at this belated hour the Government is to do something for the aged. But why did not the Government in the Budget make provision for the aged people in our community? So it goes on.

The Government ought to be censured because of the fact that it is leaderless. It is unable to assess correctly the needs of the community. If I wished I could go on for hours talking about education. The Government intends to import doctors into Australia from America to overcome the crisis in the medical field. Australia has to get teachers from somewhere because of the crisis in education. Today there is no decent developmental programme going on in the Commonwealth, because the Government is completely devoid of any plan. It is about time that it recognised its guilt, its weakness and all its shortcomings and that it is an absolute failure in office. It should toddle up the road and see the Governor-General for the purpose of having a government appointed which is prepared to accept those responsibilities.

If I may I shall now come back to the matter on which I rose originally - Pine Gap. For the third time I repeat to the Minister that if he makes a short ministerial statement in regard to that installation tomorrow we will welcome it.


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







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