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Wednesday, 9 March 1977
Page: 59

Mr GRAHAM (North Sydney) -This evening we are debating the Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by Her Majesty the Queen in the other place yesterday afternoon. It has been my privilege to be a member of the House of Representatives over a long period and I was privileged to be present on the occasion of Her Majesty's first visit to Australia in 1954. I well remember that at that time all the members of the House of Representatives were united in their admiration of Her Majesty and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, of the charm and dignity which they brought to Australia and of the great impression that they made upon the Australian people. I express the view that in the 23 years since Her Majesty's visit in 1954 there has been, if anything, a growth in the respect and the admiration which the people of Australia hold for her, for her consort and for her family.

We may with propriety, with fairness and with justice claim that in the world today the Royal Family in London are an example of dedication to duty. They are an example of perfect family life that might well be admired and respected right throughout the world. Comparisons could be made with senior people in other great countries but one ought not to pursue that matter in a debate of this description. However, I feel that it is reasonable to say that alongside the other great, important, powerful families in the world our Royal Family is outstanding.

I would also like to say in tribute to the Minister for Defence (Mr Killen) that yesterday we saw an excellent parade of the armed forces representing the honour of this nation, bringing the colours of the units of the Royal Australian

Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force before the Australian people in a combined manner, which is most unusual, giving the people an opportunity to see those colours, to ponder what they mean and to understand that in the history of our nation those colours represent the honour of the nation. It was a proud occasion for those of us in particular who remember Her Majesty's father, the late King George VI, and his service during the Second World War. It was of great support to the people of the United Kingdom that the King and Queen remained in London during the whole of the horrific period of the bombing of the nation. I feel that we should look back at those days from time to time and remember that we have before us a great example of dedication to duty on the part of the Royal Family. I compliment the Minister for Defence and, through him, the armed Services upon the splendid parade that we witnessed here in Canberra yesterday.

I have said that in the government of this country we look for toleration and dignity. We look for understanding and sympathy. In these days when economic recession has come to our nation it is important that those qualities be demonstrated. Criticism will always emerge in the media and in all sorts of rough and crude forms, and from people who are irresponsible, who are prepared to accept lower standards of living in the community and who will make no effort to help themselves and their own nation. I suggest that these people are an absolute minority. I hold the view that the great majority of the people who are unemployed today are unemployed as a result of the economic recession and as a result of the problems that arose in this nation in the last four or five years, which problems can be traced in a very substantial sense to the profligacy of the Government that was headed by the honourable member for Werriwa (MrE.G. Whitlam).

In Her Majesty's Speech, which was of course prepared for her by the Government, one of the most significant paragraphs contains a recognition of the private sector, as we know it, as being that sector from which comes the great prosperity of the Australian people. In Australia' three-quarters of all the positions, the jobs, the appointments, are provided by people from the private sector. Her Majesty said that the prosperity of the Austraiian people depends on the strength of the productive private sector, on the manufacturing, mining and rural industries. I remind you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that you were in the House on the occasion of the first of the Budgets of the Whitlam Government, introduced in August 1973 by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean). I remind you, Sir, of a phrase that he used. He said that it was now time to begin transferring assets from the private sector to the public sector. In my view, August 1973 was the time when it became quite clear that Government policies would lead us into an economic environment within which the private sector would have great difficulty in sustaining the high level of production, the high level of prosperity, that we had come to accept as the norm in Australia, particularly in the decade prior to 1972.

I can well remember the Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Werriwa, when he was Prime Minister standing at the despatch box and saying that the time had come for the Government to use the civil service as a pace-setter in the development of standards for people working in the Australian community. At first consideration it seemed that this was not an unreasonable thing, but the fact is that from that time onwards there was a tremendous surge, a tremendous increase, in wages throughout the Australian economy. Finally, because retribution comes to those who will not recognise the facts of life, the honourable gentleman was forced to say to an assembly of his own political supporters: The inflation which is the cancer that is destroying the Australian economy is largely due -

Mr Shipton -Who said this?

Mr GRAHAM - The Leader of the Opposition stated this when he was Prime Minister. He said that it was largely due to these highly increased wage standards within the Australian community. Again and again honourable members opposite have made this admission after the damage has been done. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports is on record as saying that every wage increase received by one worker is at the expense of the job of his fellow worker. If one can accept the honourable member for Melbourne Ports as a man worthy of recognition, a person who knows what he is talking about, it would seem likely that we ought to recognise that these are the facts of life to which he has referred.

I must answer a number of points that were made by my friend the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen). I was interested in his early comments in which he stated that the former Labor Government was elected in December 1972 because of the appeal of its welfare program. Whilst one can understand that people will support a welfare program, I assure him that one of the reasons that his Government was elected in December 1972 was that it had been out of office for 23 years and the Australian people had forgotten what it would mean to have a profligate socialist government on the treasury benches. It took the Aus.tralian people 3 years to find out but when the opportunity came the reality is that in spite of all the criticisms made by honourable gentlemen opposite, the Australian people voted them out of office in a manner almost without precedent in Australia's political history.

I refer to the power of the Senate, which the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith referred to as a mere charade. He said:

We were removed from office by the senators.

It must be obvious to all who can consider the facts of history that if the Australian people had wanted to retain their socialist government in December 1975; if they had wanted to keep the honourable member for Werriwa (Mr E. G. Whitlam) as Prime Minister, there was a substantial and real opportunity for them to do so. In fact, when they had their opportunity to express their judgment about the Australian Labor Party, they cast it from power in a manner which, as I have said, is unprecedented in our political history. The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), my old and distinguished friend who has been in this Parliament for a long time, also continued with the criticisms of the events of November 1975 and again proceeded to paint a picture of some diabolical conspiracy, some clandestine operation which was dishonourable and contemptible. The fact of the matter is that the actions of 1975, over a period of some 6 or 7 weeks before the election date, were discussed in the Press, on the radio and on television and the people of Australia had their opportunity in December 1975, as the greatest tribunal in the nation, to make their judgment. The judgment was made in December 1975.

Consistent with the normal criticism of members of the Labor Party, the last thing in the world they are prepared to do is to accept the umpire 's decision. I venture to suggest that if the Labor Party had remained in office for another 2 years and had had its full 3-year term of office from May 1974 to May 1977, the words of Senator James McClelland, when he was Minister for Labor and Immigration, would have been brought to absolute truth. He said to the trade union people: 'If you continue the way you are going now, by the end of 1977 we will have a million people unemployed and we will have roaring inflation of 20 per cent'. Anybody with any knowledge of these matters will understand that in nations where inflation has been roaring along, as it did in Germany in the 1920s, there has been a great social destruction of all the families in these nations and only the extremely wealthy have been able to sustain the impact of high inflation on their assets.

I was impressed by what my friend the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) had to say and I hope that his program to encourage investment will be studied closely by the Government and that the officers of the Treasury and the staff of the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) Will recognise the value of the recommendations of the honourable member for Mackellar and that the Parliament will receive some sort of statement from the Treasurer either accepting, refuting, criticising or praising the honourable gentleman for the comments that he made. The honourable member for Maribyrnong (Dr Cass) in his contribution to this debate made it quite clear that Labor Government expenditure helped private enterprise. He went to some length to indicate that hospitals, schools and roads are, in fact, mainly built by private enterprise and subcontractors. I was about to interject but I knew you would not approve of that, Mr Deputy Speaker. I remind the honourable member that when I was Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of this Parliament, I had to ask departments to pay their bills. I had to remind them that people had been waiting for payment for 180 days. This was a scandalous performance. It was not exclusive to the Labor Government and I venture to say on this occasion that I hope that government departments will pay their bills and that Prime Ministers and Treasurers will shake up the Public Service and make it do so because I believe that people who do not pay their bills for from 90 days to 180 days are guilty of conduct that I regard as totally reprehensible.

I conclude by saying that this debate, which has been the result ofthe visit of Her Majesty to Australia gives us an opportunity to review the past, to examine the present and to look into the future for in this type of debate one can deal with matters referred to in Her Majesty's Speech or matters that are not referred to in Her Majesty's Speech but which, in the opinion of honourable members, should be included. I have no doubt that my distinguished and humorous friend, the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Innes) will have a number of aspects that he would like to introduce to his speech which he thinks ought to have been present. Speeches were made in the Parliament last night at a function. Some of them were humorous and there were aspects of the speeches that could be described as flippant I frankly do not believe that flippancy is the wisest thing to have introduced into a speech at what is supposed to be a solemn public occasion.

I repeat that I am delighted to take part in this debate. I am proud indeed, along with my colleagues in the Parliament who have served the Monarch's father and herself over a long period of time, to see her and his Royal Highness, Prince Philip, here in our country. I know full well that the great majority of worthwhile Australians, to whom I refer will be in favour of her and her family and of this country remaining a constitutional monarchy in the future.

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