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Tuesday, 11 September 1973
Page: 0

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins (SCULLIN, VICTORIA) - Order! I invite the honourable member to address his remarks to the chair.

Mr JAMES - I will do that, Mr Deputy Speaker. The Budget is one of the most progressive Budgets brought down in this Parliament since Federation. It is a great credit to the Treasurer (Mr Crean). He has given consideration to those sections of society that have been deprived and overlooked for so long by the Tory-Country Party coalition. An increase in the handicapped child benefit, which my Government is doubling to $3 per day, was long overdue. Other benefits which this Government has proposed include an increase in the orphan allowance to $10 a day; the upgrading of home nursing care, education, dental health and housing; hearing aids for the poor; curbing privileges to 'Pitt Street' farmers; upgrading the conditions of the armed Services, provision for hospitalisation and a national health scheme for which the nation has been screaming for the best part of half a century. By its contribution to the anti-smoking campaign the Government has made a sincere effort to discourage smoking in our community. Is it any wonder that this Budget has been praised as one of the most humane budgets that has been introduced in this Parliament?

I sometimes wonder whether the Treasurer had read or heard of the remarks of an

American who years ago, said: 'I hear the wailing call of millions'. Millions of people in Australia will benefit as a result of the Labor Government's progressive Budget. I believe that its practical approach to immigration, by curbing the number of immigrants to Australia to 110,000, was long overdue and should have been adopted by the previous Government. Facts disclose that in 1968, 23,814 migrants permanently left Australia. In 1969, 24,739 migrants returned to their homelands, leaving our country permanently. In 1970, 26,756 people permanently left Australia, in 1971, 29,449 and in 1972, 33,172. These were obviously people dissatisfied with the administration of this country by the LiberalCountry Party Government. The Labor Government has taken a practical approach by curbing the number of migrants coming to Australia and by assisting those who are seeking assisted passages. These are the sorts of things on which the previous Government let the people of this nation down. How true are the remarks made by the Treasurer in the Budget Speech, when he said:

In Australia we are much better at selling cars than providing decent public transport; much better at building houses than providing sewerage services. . . .

I assure honourable members that the people of my electorate of Hunter are happy to know that the Government has earmarked $30m to overcome the backlog of sewerage services throughout the country. Sewerage is very important to a modern country such as Australia which enjoys, or is supposed to enjoy, high standards of living. These matters were overlooked by the previous Government.

Members of the Country Party have complained about injustice to farmers, but the farmers do not agree with them. I have many friends in rural areas and they say: 'We have been existing on handouts for too long. We are able to stand on our own feet.' It has hurt the dignity of decent farmers to be continually subsidised. The farmers do not want the subsidies that have been handed out to them by the previous administration because of the pressure applied by members of the Country Party. The man on the land has dignity and pride and he does not want to be propped up any longer. He welcomes the action of the Labor Government in withdrawing some of the unnecessary subsidies so that he can now live in dignity and say: 'We have the capabilities to earn our own living and we are not imposing on the people in metropolitan areas any longer. We are not bludgers. We graziers are capable of existing without the handouts that the previous Government has been giving us.'

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins)Order!The honourable member's time has expired.

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