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Thursday, 3 May 1973
Page: 1667


Mr KEOGH (Bowman) - My principal purpose in entering this debate today is to draw to the attention of the Government a matter that gave me much concern in the days between the end of the last Parliament on 26th October and the holding of the election on 2nd December. 1 refer to appointments that were made by various Ministers in that dying Government. We all knew at the time that it was a dying government. But firstly I feel as a Queenslander that 1 must once again make reference, as I had to do the other evening, to the irresponsible remarks of the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron), lt is true that we in this House have come to know him well, and it is also true that he continues to go on and on with the same irresponsibility, seldom worrying about the matters which he raises.

The honourable member touched today on 2 matters which are of great importance to Queenslanders. He dealt with the grave problem facing the shipyard of Evans nc- ' n Industries Ltd. In a truly irresponsible way he accused the present Government and the present Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles (ones) of being almost totally responsible for the position in which this shipyard is placed. Any reasonable person knows that the total responsibility must be laid at the feet of the previous Government which, at the end of a long series of Liberal-Country Party governments, failed to show any sense of responsibility by preserving in a viable way the economic future of the shipbuilding industry in Australia. Never in the long period that the previous Government was in office did it take any action to show that it was concerned for the continued growth of this industry which is vitally important to this nation. That Government tolerated the industry in Australia rather than sponsor its growth, and the stop-go policies that it adopted over the years were totally responsible for the grave situation now faced by the shipbuilding industry in Australia and particularly by the Evans Deakin shipyard. 1 do not deny that there are problems in the industrial field in Queensland as far as the unions are concerned. On this aspect I compliment the Minister because he has taken every opportunity to make his position and the Government's position clear on this matter. 1 go on record as saying that my view at the moment is that we should not sponsor the move that has been made recently for this Government to take over the shipyard. I do not believe that that is an action that we should be contemplating today. My principal reason for opposition to this move is that I believe the problems faced by Evans Deakin would be multiplied and compounded if the shipyard were run by a Federal Labor government. 1 would be very happy to see a Federal Labor government in co-operation perhaps with the State Government and in partnership jointly with Evans Deakin - if this were suitable, or perhaps with the State Government alone - to take over the responsibility for making a decision to rebuild this shipyard. A decision must soon be taken to rebuild the shipyard. A decision should have beon taken in 1967, but instead a political decision was taken. That decision, which was influenced by the then Queensland Treasurer, Sir Thomas Hiley, was to reconstruct the yard at Kangaroo Point. The yard should have been reconstructed at the mouth of the Brisbane River. 1 hope that this Government will be responsible for initiating that type of decision in the very near future.

Let me touch on one other area of irresponsibility in which the honourable member for Griffith took the opportunity to join this morning. I refer to the accusation that this Government is responsible for the delay in the development of the Brisbane airport which is so vital to Queensland. This is the airport which caused members of the previous Opposition and the Lord Mayor of Brisbane to be so critical of previous Liberal-Country Party governments. Its condition certainly is not something that can now be slung around the neck of this Government with an accusation that we will prevent the development of the airport continuing. No decision has been made by the Cabinet, and this was very clearly indicated by the Minister, to take action that will hold up the development of this airport. Action taken so far has shown that the Government is prepared to make a move in a direction that will result in the establishment of the airport as planned. I agree that this is following on a plan that was prepared and put into operation by the previous Government in co-operation with the

Queensland Government and the Brisbane City Council.

The recommendations of the advisory committee which during the period 1970-71 reviewed the need for this airport and made certain decisions are being carried out by this Government. The announcement this morning by the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation that $6.5m will be allocated for the acquisition of land required for the development of this airport certainly cannot be taken as an indication that the Government does not intend to go ahead with all possible speed, taking into consideration of course the needs of the development of the airport, to see that the airport is developed and is operational by the late 1970s as was recommended by the advisory committee. The fact of the matter is that once again the honourable member for Griffith, who I assume has based his remarks on the ill founded and irresponsible article that appeared in the 'Australian' newspaper of Wednesday last, has gone off half cocked and has tried to accuse the Government that has been in office barely 6 months of something he would like to see happen but which we know will not eventuate; that is that this Government will hold up such an important development as the Brisbane Airport.

I want now to refer to action that was taken in what I believe to be a most irresponsible fashion by several Ministers in the closing hours of the life of the previous Government. Knowing that they were certain of defeat at the polls they proceeded with a rush of appointments to a wide range of responsibilities, In doing so I suggest to the House they abused the office they held as Ministers of the Crown. Their actions were a disgraceful example of the unprincipled methods of operation so typical of many Ministers of the last Government.


Mr Giles - 1 raise a point of order. Is the honourable member entitled to refer to actions by honourable members of this side of the House as unprincipled? I personally am affronted by these irresponsible-


Mr KEOGH - The honourable member does not want to hear what I want to say.


Mr Giles - As I was saying. I am affronted by these irresponsible remarks that the honourable member is making.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins

Order! There is no point of order.


Mr KEOGH - The methods of operation of Ministers of the last Government were so typical of this irresponsible and haphazard approach. The honourable member for Angas need not take my word for it. The former Prime Minister in an interview on 25 November, a few days before the election, said:

I couldn't get the work done quickly enough and 1 found frequently that the political approaches to it were not as good as I thought they should be.

That is what the former Prime Minister thought of the Ministers to whom 1 am referring. I want to refer to the appointments that were made by former Ministers which covered a wide range of responsibilities. Significantly enough and most importantly 1 want to refer to the appointment of members to the Australian Wool Corporation. On 26 November, knowing that he had not much longer to go and to be able to make decisions of this sort, the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair), the then Minister for Primary Industry, announced the appointment of members to the Australian Wool Corporation. Mr A. C. B. Maiden was appointed to the position of full time chairman of the Corporation. The names of other members of the Corporation were given, but I do not have time to list them now. On 8th November the right honourable member for Richmond (Mr Anthony), the then Minister for Trade and Industry, announced a senior trade appointment in Osaka. On 9th November he announced the appointment of the position of Minister (Commercial) to the European Economic Community. On 21st November the honourable member for Parramatta (Mr N. H. Bowen), the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced the appointment of Australian diplomatic representation in Nauru. I suggest that if the Government or the Ministers now responsible for these appointments have not had the time to examine them in close detail, they should do so because it is vitally important that the nation's confidence in these boards and corporations is restored. The Government should make sure that the appointments made so hastily and irresponsibly by the last Government are reviewed and that it takes this action to show how intolerable they were.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins)Order!As it is now 15 minutes to 1 o'clock, in accordance with standing order 106 the debate is interrupted. I put the question:

That grievances be noted.

Question resolved in the affirmative.







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