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Thursday, 14 November 1974
Page: 2432

Senator STEELE HALL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Let me finish. After my previous experience with Senator Rae -

The PRESIDENT - Order! I ask Senator Rae and Senator Bonner to desist from interjecting and I ask Senator Steele Hall to address the Chair.

Senator STEELE HALL - Yes, Mr President, I shall. After my previous experience with Senator Rae I do not trust him. I hope that when he tells people that I helped to defeat his amendment he will tell them the reason- that I do not trust him.

Senator Rae - That is a very poor reason.

Senator STEELE HALL -There are other reasons. That is the major reason. Another reason is that Senator Rae is injecting politics into an area in which party politics should not intrude to this degree. He is trying to take advantage by using the Senate in the guise of moving an amendment to the motion, although no doubt he will rush out and infer that it was an amendment as he did with the Bill relating to Tasmania. After seven or eight days a letter was printed in South Australia which went on, in the cold, hard light of fact, to infer that I had voted against money for Tasmania. In fact, the way he put it -

Senator Rae - It obviously cut you to the quick.

Senator STEELE HALL -I am sure. It cut so many people to the quick that I understand legal action is being taken by others against the honourable senator. I do not take legal action; I take political action. I say that for the honourable senator's information. I remember in regard to the other Bill- I think I should mention it in passing because it is pertinent to this amendmentthat Senator Rae moved an expression of opinion that the Government should do something more in relation to financial aid for Tasmania. Yet in a letter printed in a newspaper in South Australia he said: 'This would have honoured a promise made before the 1972 and 1974 elections.'

Senator LAWRIE (QUEENSLAND) - Mr President,I take a point of order. I think that the speaker should be asked to keep to the Bill.

The PRESIDENT - I ask Senator Steele Hall to connect his remarks to the Bill.

Senator STEELE HALL - I submit that I am doing so because I said, in addressing myself to this point, that I was doing so in passing to give judgment upon the amendment- or should I say the expression of opinion- which Senator Rae is moving to insert into the motion for the second reading of this Bill. I think it is relevant to illustrate the type of activity in which Senator Rae is engaging. As I said in relation to the Tasmanian Bill, Senator Rae tried to insert into the motion for the second reading an expression of opinion but in the South Australian Press- he viciously attacked me on my home ground- the honourable senator said: 'This would have honoured a promise made before the 1972 and 1974 elections by the Prime Minister.' It would have done no such thing. It would not have honoured anything. It was an expression of opinion. To the public of South Australia the word 'honour' means that it would have voted a certain sum of money to Tasmania. That was a distinct falsehood. I use that example in the hope that the honourable senator will not try to use that very undesirable practice of inferring what did not occur. May I compliment him on his letter? As Senator Withers would know, no one could have read -

Senator Withers - If you understood English you would know that he may have implied it but you inferred it.

Senator STEELE HALL -Not at all. I do not know whether Senator Withers helped Senator Rae write the letter. I would not know whether Senator Rae was capable of doing so. I was told that he had assistance at a very high level in writing the letter, even above Senator Withers' level. I can give Senator Withers a copy of the letter if he does not happen to have read the document. He will find that it contains almost half a column of attempt to tell an untruth.

Senator Missen - I take a point of order, Mr President. If reference to Tasmania was irrelevant I suggest that the literary style of a certain honourable senator is even more irrelevant. Senator Hall is ignoring your ruling.

The PRESIDENT - I have asked Senator Hall to connect his remarks to the Bill. I expect him to do that.

Senator STEELE HALL - I thank Senator Missen for his point of order because I think the point has been made. I come back to this companion or parallel attempt by Senator Rae to do as he did before, this time in regard to the States Grants (Aboriginal Assistance) Bill. I make some matter of this only because I do not want the public to be misled again by Senator Rae in similar fashion. I hope that he will at least tell the public- if he intends to rush away to a telephone directly- why some people do not like his particular amendment. It is seen, at least in my case, as an attempt to influence the election in Queensland by putting a clause in the Bill which is against the Australian Government and is for the State Government of Queensland. It is an attempt to use politics. It is an attempt to use this particular Bill, which is for the welfare of the Aboriginals, politically. I will not vote for an amendment which will make Aboriginal welfare suffer because some politician wants to gain some votes from it. For that reason I will not vote for Senator Rae 's amendment. I hope that if he tells people why I do not support his amendment, he will tell them that the first reason is that I do not trust him and the second reason is that 1 do not want the welfare of Queensland Aboriginals to be made a political football as Senator Bonner himself has said it ought not to be. 1 will hold Senator Rae to the responsibility of telling those he informs that those are the 2 major reasons why I will not support his amendment.

I have little more to say. I would like to indicate to the Minister that I will certainly support him. I will support the Minister in those areas where he can endeavour, by new forms of legislation, to give personal responsiblity to Aboriginals who have not previously experienced it. He will have my support in any moves he makes in that regard. Let me say to the Opposition that it will have my opposition when it tries to stick to the methods of the past and refuses to venture into an area which gives dignity to the Aboriginal people and ends discrimination against them, as has been acknowledged in some areas of administration by the Queensland State Government. I therefore support the Bill and oppose the amendment so futilely moved by Senator Rae.

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