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Tuesday, 9 October 1973
Page: 1789


Mr WHITTORN (Balaclava) - I propose to devote my attention to the estimates for the Department of the Treasury during this debate on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1973-74. I have found it very interesting to look through past Hansard reports and see what the present Treasurer (Mr Crean) had to say on previous occasions about the expenditure of federal money throughout the States of the Commonwealth. In fact, I had a look at a speech he made on 10 September 1968 in which he said that he was then - I think he still is - a federalist at heart, although on looking at the Budget figures on this occasion one finds that he has restricted expenditure by the States to such an extent that they have found it almost impossible to find the moneys to carry out the work they have to do. In fact in those days the Treasurer thought that the then government was mean and without tolerance. He indicated the real responsibilities of the State governments. As I have said, the speech to which I am referring was made by the present Treasurer on 10 September 1968. It can be found at page 854 of Hansard on that date. The Treasurer said:

I want to talk about the lack of understanding, lack of sympathy, lack of tolerance . . . that exists throughout the federation . . .

He went through various aspects of this lack of tolerance and then went on to say:

Because of the lack of proper, sympathetic understanding of the needs of the States, the States are continually being forced to have recourse to indirect taxes as the form of raising additional revenue.

The Treasurer is not present in the chamber tonight. I must concede that he has just returned from representing Australia in Kenya. If the Treasurer were present I would ask him what sort of sympathy and tolerance he has shown in the Budget for the State governments. The Treasurer has presented a money grubbing Budget, which indicates that the Government is a money grubbing government. It appears to me that the Government is endeavouring to obtain as much money as it can from the people. It has diverted money from the States. It has diverted money from expenditure on defence and in other areas in which normally Australian people would expect it to be expended. It is obvious that there are very good reasons why a socialist government, which is what we have in Australia, would want to do this.

I notice that the Minister for Housing and the Minister for Works (Mr Les Johnson) is smiling benignly. I had a look at the estimates for the Department of Housing and found that in 1972-73 the Budget appropriation for housing was $126m. The Budget appropriation for housing in 1973-74 is over $570m. The Budget appropriation for housing has been increased to more than fourfold. In other words A. V. Jennings and all the other housing concerns in Australia will be eliminated by the Minister taking charge of housing production in Australia. He and his minions want to produce all the houses for the people of Australia in the areas in which they want to build them.

They will tell the people of Australia where they have to go, what type of housing they will live in, what they will do with it, how much a week they will pay for it and so on. That is not the wish of the prudent and hard working people of Australia. They want to be able to decide for themselves where they want to go, what type of house they live in, die area where their children should be educated and where they will live in future years. This socialist Government has already decided what it will do insofar as housing is concerned in Australia. I repeat that it is a money grubbing Government and the Budget is a money grubbing Budget that is designed to take money from any source wherever possible and divert it to government use in Australia.

The Treasurer talked in 1968 about tolerance, sympathy and understanding, but since becoming Treasurer his attitude has been completely contrary to what it was in 1968. In 1968 he also said - I agree with him - that the States have more responsibilities and more people to look after than has the Commonwealth Government. How right he was, because they have to look after education and health - or should do - as well as look after the fire service, the roads, irrigation and all the other things that happen within the State boundaries, but the present Government is prepared to take over these responsibilities and negative the activities of the State governments forever.

The present Treasurer also said - this is something which I have already said - that the States are responsible in such significant fields as education, health, public transport, power, irrigation and roads. It is laughable when we hear the present Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) say what he will do with the railways in Victoria and elsewhere. The Minister says that the Commonwealth Government will give Victoria $9.6m provided that the Commonwealth Government has a man on the commission for the transport system in Victoria, that he can determine where the contracts go and at what price the contracts are let.

I can hardly believe after reading the debate on the Estimates in 1968 that the present Treasurer said the things which I have recounted. He talked about the hundreds of schools that State governments had to construct. He talked about the hundreds of locomotives that had to be purchased and where they would be obtained. I believe those are the responsibilities of State governments and not of the Federal Government. On page 855 of the same speech the present Treasurer said - and I agree with him - that State governments spend threequarters of the public capital expenditure throughout the Commonwealth. This is what was done in those days and this is what should be done in 1973-74, 1974-75 and so on. The present Treasurer has had an amazing transformation of thought on the uses that State governments appealed to in the past and will look to in the future. One only has to look at statement No. 2 in the Budget papers to see what the Treasurer has done. I refer to the Budget domestic outlay. The increase in capital expenditure on domestic outlay over last year is 40.6 per cent. This Government and the people of Australia are wondering about inflation. One only has to look at the Budget papers to realise what are the causes of inflation. Statement No. 2 states:

The rapid acceleration in capital expenditures on gods and services, which are estimated to rise by over two-fifths in 1973-74 compared with little change in 1972-73;

Is it any wonder that we on this side of the House talk about the extent of capital expenditure by the present Government and the reasons why we are in this serious and raging inflation situation? It is because of the Federal Government. Statement No. 2 also shows that net advances other than to the States increased by 67.5 per cent over last year. I hope those people who are listening will hear me send out this call. These are the reasons why we are in the inflationary situation we are in today. The present Government is spending and will continue to spend such large amounts of money from the public purse in Canberra. The money is not being spent by the States or by local governments but is being spent by this Government in Canberra. I have not time to deal with all the matters because 10 minutes is not long for a politician to speak. I have a chart prepared by the Parliamentary Library Legislative Research Service indicating some of the reasons for inflation. It shows that average weekly earnings between 1964-65 and 1971-72 increased by 68.2 per cent. The consumer price index, which one would expect-

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Armitage) - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.







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