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Wednesday, 4 December 1974
Page: 3153


Senator MISSEN (Victoria) - I did not intend to take part in this debate originally but I was induced by the very notable tribute Senator Button paid tonight to the new platform of the Liberal Party of Australia. However, before turning to that point, Senator Devitt was wrong in construing that anything said tonight was said in derogation of John Curtin. Everybody recognises his role as a Prime Minister. But his name is being given to a building which is to be, after all, a political building and it will be used for political purposes. Giving to that building the name of a former Prime Minister, whom I think we all respect, does not mean that we cannot criticise the way in which the money for it is being raised. We have rightly criticised these matters tonight.

I propose to remind the Senate of what Senator Button said. When I gave him a copy of the Federal platform of the Liberal Party I hoped it might be a case of casting upon the waters and bringing forth something of value. Undoubtedly that action has brought something forth tonight. We are extremely proud of the matters contained in that platform and we believe it will be the road towards victory and success for the Liberal Party in. the coming elections. We recognise that although Senator Button purports to criticise it he has recognised that in that platform we have nailed down the real issues which are before the Australian people.

Senator Buttonwas very careful tonight not to speak of the Labor Party's platform, this document which I have here, and I think that was very understandable. If he had referred to his Party's platform he would have had to be careful because he would rapidly have come across the socialisation planks of that platform which remain in it in pristine beauty. Obviously socialisation is the intention of his Party if it ever obtains full power in both Houses of Parliament. Perhaps he would not like to read out the clause in that policy about abolition of the Senate. After all, that still remains the policy and platform of the Labor Party although attempts have been made to remove it. The honourable senator also would not like to be reminded of the low interest nature of the Labor Party which must now be just an unhappy memory in the minds of members of the Labor Party. Instead, the honourable senator chose to highlight what we highlight in the Liberal Party platform and which is of concern when one considers money Bills and the raising of money by this Parliament- namely, that federalism is the basis of this community and should remain so; that there is safety in the multitude of counsellors; that in fact the liberties of our people are very much bound up in the fact that in this community we have not one government dictating the community's needs but a number of governments. This requires that governments work together, that they give and take, and therefore we have some safety in the system.

It is not good enough for Mr Uren to fly over the Dandenongs and pronounce to the people of Melbourne what he is going to do with the Dandenongs. It is not good enough for the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones) to tell the people of Australia that he knows what should be done with the roads in Melbourne and Sydney or to produce a model train which must be accepted by all the States in the country. No. We in this country know that that sort of" nonsense can be disregarded because there are States still with substantial power, and when the Liberal Party comes back to office then that power will be greater. We recognise that when money is raised by this Parliament there is a sense among the Labor Party members that they are raising their own money, but of course we know that it is the people's money. It is no good telling the people of Australia: 'You people in the State governments cannot deal with this particular money. You have not had the money to do it. You have not done it as well as we would like you to do it. We have kept you poor. We have kept down the amounts you pay because we have said that this year you have got to cut back on the amounts. You have got to cut back on your expenditure because we require that in the interests of keeping down inflation. But we are not prepared to cut down. We are going to have a 32 per cent increase in the moneys we are going to spend and we are insisting on one principle for us and another principle for you '.

It follows from that argument, of course, that what the Government does when it raises money in this way and doles it out in small lumps to the States is that it says: 'This is our money. We are entitled to tell you in detail how you are going to spend it', forgetting all the time that what it is in fact saying is: 'Although this is the people's money we are taking unto ourselves a right which we do not possess, namely, a right to dictate as though it were our money and we were entitled to do that'.

Senator Buttontonight drew attention; he thought it was unfavourable attention; to the prominence which the Liberal Party places on federalism and the need to change that federalism so that the States have the reality of financial power. Nothing in this Bill and nothing in the financial Bills which the Government puts forward indicates any acceptance of that principle, and it will obviously not be before another government is elected that that principle will be accepted. I want to thank Senator Button for drawing attention to the new initiatives that the Liberal Party and its colleague, the Country Party, have expressed in relation to policy in the documents that emanated from our parties. I say this, that we will expand those documents. They will lead to policies which will lead to a LiberalCountry Party government in this country and in that way financial measures will do fair justice to the States in the future and will not be a matter of dole and charity. On those points I wished to enter this debate, Mr Deputy President.







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