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Thursday, 10 May 1973
Page: 2042

Mr SCHOLES (Corio) - I understand - someone on the other side of the. House may correct me - that 2 members of the Opposition parties will be going to China shortly. Perhaps the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth), who might or might not have sought to go - I think it would have been informative for him to go because he is the type of person who would have benefited from such a trip - could ask honourable members who do go whether they can find out for him the information he has requested.

Mr Viner - You are going, are you not?

Mr SCHOLES - No, I am not. I would be interested to know also, because this matter is of such tremendous importance, what detailed information is available or was made available to this Parliament by the previous Government on wage rates in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and various other Asian countries. This is a matter of interest to me and to many Australians. Some of the brighter gentlemen in our community are fairly regularly saying that goods from the countries I have mentioned should be allowed into Australia without the imposition if tariff duties because these countries are more efficient producers of goods. I would be interested to know what the cost structure

Mr Viner - Name the countries with slave labour.

I SCHOLES- I could, but I will not. The facts of the matter are that-

Mr Viner - South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Thailand-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Stirling is out of his seat.

Mr SCHOLES - If the honourable member wants this information he should return to his seat and say so. The fact of the matter is that there is much loose talk about efficiency and the placement of labour in efficient areas of production. I suggest that the honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street) also talks about this matter a lot. But I have never found an academic who can tell me in which efficient industries workers displaced in Australian industry, which is protected by tariffs will be employed if the criteria of the very substantial differentia] in wage rates are ignored.

Mr Street - The problem is that a lot of our industry is fragmented. If it were not fragmented so much employment in these industries perhaps could be increased.

Mr SCHOLES - A lot of our industry is fragmented and one of the grave problems from which industry in countries like Australia suffer is that they do not have the through-put volume which exists in other countries. Unless we are prepared to involve ourselves in levels of economic planning, which would be foreign to Liberal Party philosophy, and direct resources there is no way in which we can increase through-put by eliminating the smaller industries without substantially involving people in loss of employment and loss of their assets.

Another thing to which I wish to refer is of very great concern to a great number of people. I am sure that it is of concern to honourable members on both sides of this House. I refer to the delay in the passage of the Defence Services Homes Bill, which was passed through this House, I think, 2 weeks ago. To my knowledge it has not as yet received royal assent. I am not sure whether that Bill is presently being debated in the Senate, but it is a matter in which a large number of Australians are interested.

I am not taking a rise out of anyone but I think it is reasonable that this Bill be dealt with as expeditiously as possible and if it is being delayed in the Senate, I ask honourable members opposite to urge their colleagues to get the Bill through. Hundreds and hundreds of Australian ex-servicemen are waiting for the increase in mortgages which will be available to them. The loan for which they will be eligible will be increased from $9,000 to $12,000, but they cannot conclude their contracts because they cannot make application for their loans. This is very serious to many people. That is the major reason why I rose to speak and I hope that honourable members opposite will use whatever influence they have to get that Bill moving and get it passed as quickly as possible.

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