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Thursday, 3 May 1973
Page: 1664

Mr INNES (Melbourne) - The matter which I desire to draw to the attention of the House concerns the people of Victoria and the way in which they are being blatantly deceived by the Liberal Government in that State which is attempting to lead the people to believe that that Government is in no way associated with its counterparts who sit on the Opposition side of this House. However, the people in Victoria will realise that they belong to the same Party and are equally responsible for the chaotic conditions that prevailed prior to the December election that led to the defeat of the Liberal-Country Party coalition and which will, I hope, lead to the removal of the Liberal Government in the forthcoming State election. The Hamer deception goes further than that. The Liberals have let things slide over a number of years. They have failed to take the initiative to introduce policies. Now in great haste they are plundering Labor Party policies in an endeavour to pull the wool over the eyes of the Victorian electors.

I instance the concrete monstrosities known as freeways that tear the heart out of the inner suburbs of Melbourne. They were part of the great Liberal plan that proceeded despite the desperate opposition of the Labor Party, to leave in their wake destruction of the environment, incalculable social disruption by the bulldozing of houses and the uprooting of people in many cases after a lifetime in the locality. While sabotaging the quality of urban life, the State Government has led the motorists in Victoria up the most expensive garden path in the history of the Slate. After refusing to listen to the Labor Party for a number of very expensive years, on the eve of the election the Hamer Government slashed $700m off the freeway program simply because the freeways were planned to run through Liberal seats and the inhabitants were up in arms about it. The Hamer Government realises that cars simply do not vote.

Whilst Victoria is spared the freeways, the Liberal Government must stand condemned for the fact that it has not given the Victorian people any alternative. It has failed to do anything at all about upgrading public transport. In 18 years the Liberal Government in Victoria has performed the magnificent feat of laying a total of 10 miles of new railway track. The railway rolling stock belongs to the 19th century, and if it was not in such bad shape I am sure the antique dealers would be interested in buying it. The only aspect of public transport that could be called up to date is the fares. 1 am sure the Victorian people would agree with me that they are well ahead of their time. The Government is trying to pretend that better transport facilities are just around the corner. A recent example I can recall is the production of a bright, shiny, glittering tram, the only one that has been produced at this stage of the game. A public relations exercise broke down when the tram itself broke down.

In the area of high rise housing the Victorian Government has been forced to adopt the policy of the Labor Party, which is to oppose the construction of huge concrete jungles which leads to the destruction to the fabric of people's life, the creation of enormous social problems and a breeding ground for child delinquency. The Housing Commission's plans for high rise development were halted as late as 26th March this year obviously to try once again to fool the people of Victoria. Westernport is certainly another example that can be pointed to of the Liberal Party in Victoria being forced to adopt the policies of the Victorian Labor Party. Sir Henry Bolte proclaimed the Westernport project as the Victorian Ruhr, while the Labor Party strenuously opposed the industrial development of that area. The project was once again belatedly stopped by the Hamer Government only after enormous pressure from the Labor

Party and people within and around the area who felt that the price of industrial development was the destruction of one of our national assets. As the elections have come closer, so the plundering of Labor Party's policy has been speeded up. We can refer to a few of them.

Mr Keogh - They are the best policies it has had.

Mr INNES - I think that is very true. An education teacher housing program, for instance, was part of the Labor Party's policy in 1967 and was adopted by the Liberals in 1971. A fourth university outside the metropolitan area was Labor Party's policy in 1967. In November 1970 the Government established a committee to look at the fourth university. Autonomy for teachers colleges was Labor Party's policy in 1970. In 1972 it was adopted by the Liberals. The appointment of an ombudsman was the Labor Party's policy in 1967. A Bill was introduced in the House at that time to give effect to this policy and has been introduced every session since but it has been opposed by the Liberal Government. But in March of this year, lo and behold, the Liberal Government adopted that policy. The vote for 18-year-olds for many years was Labor's policy. In the closing hours of the parliamentary session prior to the forthcoming State elections great haste has been made by the Hamer Administration to adopt the proposition. But in doing so it has not given sufficient time to have all the 18-year-olds registered. One month before the rolls were due to close the decision was taken by the Hamer Government.

Mr Martin - Do you think that was a confidence trick?

Mr INNES - I would think so. It was part of the Labor Party's platform to have a helicopter emergency service to ferry sick people over long distances. This was adopted very recently, as late as April, by the Hamer Government. On 5th April Mr Holding announced the pegging of country natural gas prices to the city level as part of the Labor Party's program. Mr Hamer reannounced it on 13th April. I could go on for some considerable time referring to such matters as the setting up of a series of ministries to adopt the progressive policies set out in the various areas of the Labor Party's program. What we see is that the Hamer Government follows suit. I am quite confident that the people in Victoria will not be fooled by this deception.

The Liberal Party has had its head in the sands of time in Victoria over a number of years, and those sands of time are quickly running out for it. As I have said, the Victorian people will not be deceived. They will not fall for the deception of the Hamer Government. Mr Hamer will suffer the same fate when he faces the people on 19th May this year as his Federal counterparts did on 2nd December.

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