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. ADDRESS-IN-REPLY .

Speech by the 'fon.E.G. VJ’ nitlam, Q C , '"YIP, in the House of ' 1 ..uresenf.a.tives, 10 March 1977 . . .

The speech delivered by the Queen on behalf of the

Fraser Government was such an empty and contemptuous document - .

conemptuou ξ : f the Parliament, contemptuous of the people - that

it is easy to overlook its essential dishonesty. It is in fact

the latest ir. a series of dishonest and dishonoured statements about

the Government's policies. Four times in sixteen months we have had

solemn assure.· -ces about the Government' s economic policies and

legislative program. They have all proved worthless. In all of

them - in the election policy speech, in the Governor-General* s

speech a year ago, in the Treasurer's Budget speech seven months a;,

and now in the speech given to the Queen - we have had the same

empty phrases, the same litany of specious promises, the same Libera.’

mixture of sloth, complacency and deceit. The■Queen1s speech,

regrettably, is no exception. . .

It is doubtful now if even the Government believes its

own stale propaganda, its own lies and half truths. Each time there

have been premises of economic recovery - followed by ever-worsening

results. Each time promises to farmers, investors, wage-earners,

consumers, the disadvantaged - followed by dithering, dodging and

delay. Each time grandiloquent appeals to free enterprise, initiati

and self-reliance - followed by attacks on wage-earners and further

handouts for the strong and the wealthy. The only thing missing

from these torrents of promises an.; platitudes is the slightest

acknowledgement of responsibility or regret for the damage done the

Australian economy and the Australian people ^ the destruction of gm

and creative programs, the continuing stagnation and decline, the p >_i Q k c Ιί-~ ~ < cv tf-v /hi^_pj'2a. V'l~< · ir ^-t « falling living standard- and diminishing ορροΈ tilhi t i e s which this;

Afcro-yο·"θ 1 · · Ι , = , Wnere is there an'j word or admission that

under the Fraser Government Australia has the worst employment

since the Great Depression and the highest inflation since the .

record set by the Menzies Government in 1951? Where is there

any word or acknowledgement that our problems are getting worse,

that Australia is sliding into deeper recession while the rest

of the world recovers? Where i"a this speech or in any other

does the Government have the courage or decency to admit that its

policies have failed? That on every important economic indicator

the Government has been proved wrong? That hundreds of thousands

of Australians are suffering because of this Government's gross

incompetence and reactionary policies? . . . . .

When is the Government going to give us one simple,

honest# credible statement about the economy? In sixteen months

they have, wriggled and lied and twisted and distorted every figure

and broken every promise to the people and the Parliament. This is C -ηλ-t i . I? ·Î¯Î¯*«~ν-ΛA. i

the government of the big lie. Tell a lie often -enoughj^nd they

essst- believe it themselves. In their policy speech they said:

. We have a comprehensive strategy to restore

. . - prosperity ... Only under a Liberal National

* Country Party Government will there be jobs

for all who want.to work. .

Today we have the highest unemployment since the Great Depression -

30,000 higher than a year ago - and inflation is the worst since

its record levels in the fifties. In the Governor-General1s

speech they said: .

; My Government1 s immediate objective is to

^bring inflation under control so there again

/will be jobs for all who want, to work.

In their Budget speech they said:

Inflation - and therefore unemployment ... will

’ be steadily reduced by the budgetary policies

. . to which this government is adhering.

Now in the Queen's speech they tell us:

My Government gives first priority to restoring

the economy and will use all the resources at

' its disposal to achieve this goal.

The people are still waiting. They are . ‘ waiting for action, for : c

honesty, for sincerity, above all for results. All they have had

is waffle, false hopes, broken promises, bewildering switches of Ί; i

direction as the Government lurches from one failed measure to the next...: f

First an investment-led recovery, then a consumer-led recovery, then

an export-led recovery. One minute a staunch commitment to maintaining f ■i

the dollar, then the highest devaluation for 40 years. One minute j

a commitment to reducing interest rates; then interest rates rise £ ■ I

further. One minute a Government pledge to reduce the deficit; now I

a deficit that in the first eight months of the financial year is ;l

already $1000 million· greater than for the corresponding period of lasi-

financial year. One. minute a l?"*"/^ per cent devaluation; then 8

subsequent revaluations before Christmas. Ohe minute art announcement

of spending cuts/ then no announcement of what euts-/are being made.

One minute an appeal for stringency and attacks on essential community

services; then a series of massive handouts to private companies

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I

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and foreign and multinational interests.

I

. This is the achievement of the born economic managers, ■ · . · Ί .

the natural rulers, the responsible economists of the Liberal . · i " f „

' J I

Party 1 No one believes a word they say. They cannot be trusted

on anything. Their statements not only defy logic but ignore

the facts. The latest figures showed the rise in the CPI during

1976 was 13.7 per cent - higher than the increase in 1975.

What does the Treasurer say? He Says inflation is declining.

He says the CPI doesn't matter anyway. After all, it only

records the prices of goods &hd services that every household

in the country has to buy. The Department of Employment and

Industrial Relations reveals that unemployment in January and

again in February is the highest since the depression. What

does the Minister say? He says unemployment is stable. Some

stability! He says that if we ignore the largest State in

Australia the figures will look a little batter. Forget about

New South Wales and everything in the garden is rosy * What does

the Minister Assisting the Treasurer say? He says unemployment

is a myth. That is his contribution to sanity and humanity in

tackling our economic problems - unemployment is a myth. .

Ignore it and it will go away. What does the Treasurer say?

He says that the record unemployment figures don't natter. After

all - I quote· his words - "unemployment data are never among the

leading indicators of economic recovery." Tell that to the

unemployed and their families. .

So now we find the CPI figures are not"relevant and

the unemployment figures are not relevant. Inflation continues

to rise and the Treasurer tells us it is falling. Unemployment is

at. .record levels and the Minister says it is stable. Every new

setback in the unemployment figures or the inflation figures is

in the CPI.

5 .

1 . , , .

School leavers are a blip. Hedibank is a blip

Th'e next two quarters vilreproduce a devaluation

blip. Soon we'll have a commodities blip. All these lies,

all this doubletalk and deception have destroyed confidence

in the Government and are destroying confidence in the economy.

How many thousands of school leavers must be trimmed

from the figures before they are. "relevant"? We know the .

Government has resorted to stringent, underhand methods to

get the figures down to "rockbotton". iie know the instruction

that went out to every employment office manager in New South

Wales: Intervene personally and get the figures down 1 The

only mythical figures are the ones produced by the Minister. They

understate the real level of unemployment and everybody knows it!

"Stability" Street, "Mythology" Robinson, "Rock-bottom" Lynch -they all know the figures are phony. ,

The Government’s fury and desperation with the economy

are vented on the Unemployed themselves - the victims of

its policies. They are the ones who must suffer for the Government's

blunders. Every day brings some new tactic of harassment or

humiliation. A whole vocabulary of Liberal invective and prejudice

is used to brand and stigmatise the unemployed - dole-bludgers,

drop-outs, idlers on Gold Coast holidays. We've heard it all.

Nov/ there is talk of identity cards for these new pariahs in the

Liberal lotus land. There are new work tests. Aborigines in

Queensland are to be struck off the lists of unemployed unless

they move from their missions and tribe], settlements. The Prime

Minister on Friday came up with a brand new idea for wiping.

80,000,unemployed people off the lists in one swoop. He was

proiind of it. It was one of his great brainwaves, a masterstroke!

6 .

No benefits for anyone who cannot find a job unless he is : ■

. ;

ar :

actually sacked by his previous employsssafe. In other v;ords, the

man who moves to a new city or town, the family that voluntarily :

travels interstate, the breadwinner who returns to work after ·

go disability or illness, the employee who resigns

because of poor wages or conditions or to seek new opportunities ■

the person who quits work to care for children or a relative. - : ■

no such person, whatever his or her needs, would receive any ■ ; · ' ·

help from the community if he could not get work. That is the ; · .

sort of callous, half-baked thinking we have come to expect from

the Prime Minister. Vi hat right has this pampered patrician, ; · .

cocooned in wealth and privilege,' drawing his fat superphospha·· r.

■ ' i -

bounty at the taxpayers' expense, to lecture to the unemployed ■

that life isn't meant to be easy? i f /Q β C s f - i ΛΛ 0~M- i .

Τ ' f-bv> r>.X-p

C.£.vv^£y -/lAb?.. '■•rt ui ^

People are sick of the Government's attempts to blame

Labor ftilT the mess they are making of the economy and the nation.

We have had one Liberal Budget, one mini-Budget, and the biggest

devaluation for 4 0 years. With that devaluation, whatever its o

effects may be, the Liberals assumed total responsibility for the g

state of· the economy. They ruled off the book. They will stand

or fall on the results of their own actions and decisions. : There

can be no blaming Labor now. The lies and evasions v o n 11 work m

any longer. The Treasurer on 17 February quoted from a long ■

document prepared by the Treasury called "What's V7rong with the

Opposition's Economic Policy". It was a false, tedious, tortuous

attempt to blame Labor for the deepen j.ing Liberal recession. The -Treasurer ought to spend his time mere usefully. . . It's time :

he stopped looking for scapegoats and getting Treasury officers

to do his political work. The Prime Minister; prates and moreι ϊ s<=* =

about politicising the Public Service while the Treasurer gets . i ■ '

his department to spend dozens of man-kours drumming up blatant ' 1 ' ■

Government propaganda. The same hypocrisy and double standards

are apparent in everything. The louder and more righteous the

Government's fulminations the more blatant its deceit. The Prime

Minister brought in a bill last year which politicises the public

service from the very top by making the chairman of the Public

Service Board a key political figure. The Prime Minister used to

rant about jobs for the boys; his.Government has already appointed

four ex-Liberal or Country Party members to be judges or ambassadors

or public officials. We know the Treasurer met his: friend Gyngell

in Sydney and fixed his appointment to the Broadcasting Tribunal.

The Prime Minister used to moralise about overseas trips; in just

over a year he has visited nine countries himself and usually with

disastrous results for Australia's reputation. . · · ■ ■

. On the economy the Government has steadily painted itself

into a corner. It has closed off every rational and decent option

and is left now with no course but attacking wages, demolishing

government programs, reducing living standards and cutting back on

essential community services. It poured scorn on overseas borrowing

attempts by a Labor Government but unblushingly borrowed almost

$1000 million from overseas itself. Had it taken the Treasury advice

and borrowed further - the proper, rational and.accepted course - ' k a \rt . " .

it would^avoided its catastrophic devaluation. Not only did the

Government borrow when it criticised us for doing so; not only did it

refuse to borrow when it should have done; but when it did borrow

from overseas it did so at needless cost and with needless payouts

in commission. In March 1976 the Government elected to make a public

issue on the Swiss franc market. It paid commission of 3.75 per cent

to the cartel Of three big Swiss banks and ignored the lower commission

. 7 a

payable for a private placement. In other words, the Government

paid a commission of about 5500,000 mere than necessary.

Faced vzith a rising deficit the Government has resorted to secret,

drastic cuts in expenditure which it. hasn't the courage to specify

publicly. Yet while it demands ever-crowing sacrifices from the

people it cheerfully forgoes hundreds of millions of dollars in

revenue through handouts and incentives to mining companies,

businesses and multinationals. In Perth on 2 February the Prime

Minister gave details of the lost revenues estimates for 1977-78 .

The 40 per cent investment allowance is estimated to cost no less

than $550 million. Incentives for the mining industry will cost

$40 million; easing of distribution requirements for private companies

$25 million; new arrangements for Commonwealth estate duty, $10

million; the new system of income equalisation deposits $4 million­

trading stock valuations and investment> $400 million. Mo wonder

the Government is desperately looking for more cuts in public

expenditure to pay for its largesse to wealthy friends.

. . . This Government must never be allowed to get away with its

record of falsehood and broken promises, its slippery and devious

dealings. It promised to restore the economy after the international

recession; it., has made the economy worse. It promised to reduce

inflation; inflation is worse and getting worse as a result of the

Government's decisions. It promised to preserve Medibank; it

destroyed the very basis of Medibank. It promised to support wage

indexation? it has undertaken a systematic attack on real wages.

It promised to retain tax deduc-ions for home buyers; it is

curtailing those deductions and depriving half a million home

buyers of tax deductions worth ·

$40 million a\year. It promised to maintain federal funds for

it has cut them. It promised last June that

it would not oppose the flow-on of Medibank charges to the

national wage; it is now opposing a flow-on. It promised

to abolish the means test; it has done nothing. Nothing has

been done about the spetiial child care rebate promised in the

policy speech for single parent families or families where one

parent is an invalid. Nothing has been done to establish a

rural bank. The policy speech promised "a bare level of security

below which no one can involuntarily fall"; nothing has been

done. The policy speech promised: "We will be generous to those

who cannot get a job": instead the junior unemployment rate has

been frozen at $36 and school leavers are kept waiting up to

3 months for unemployment benefits. Nothing has been heard

of the promised legislation on sex or race discrimination.

Nothing has been heard of the, promises in the Governor-General's

speech of legislation on pollution control and an effective

appeals system to protect applicants for unemployment benefits

from official abuses. ·

The Government is doing nothing about uniform company

law or the urgent need for the legislation to restore public

confidence in the securities industry. Yet Senate committees

have investigated the need for this legislation for the last 7 , z *'

years. How many more company crashes and scandals are needed before

this Government exerts itself? How many more Minsecs, Parkes

Developments, Gollin Holdings, Cambridge Credits,, or Patrick

Partners? How many hundreds of millions of dollars of the public's

money must be wasted or embezzled before the Government does

something to protect investors and shareholders? The. report

of Mr Masterman, QC, tabled in the New- South Wales Parliament,

shows that Patrick Partners' accountants were aware of a

discrepancy in the company's liquid capital position nearly a

year before the firm collapsed. Nothing was done to correct the

situation. Nothing v/as reported to the Stock Exchange. Neither

the Stock Exchange nor the Corporate Affairs Commission - let alone

any process of self-regulation - could avert the disaster. All

were inadequate as monitors or scrutineers of the firm’s operations.

The case provides unanswerable proof of the need for a federal

regulatory body with adequate powers - in other words, for a

national initiative, an initiative by.the federal government.

The Fraser Government not only ignores the problem but covers up

the activities of a Government member who v/as a partner in the firm.

Is the Prime Minister prepared to condone the conduct of his

colleague from Macarthur? How long will he turn a blind eye to

the criticism of the member for Macarthur by the official government

investigator? On 18 March the member for Macarthur stated in a

personal explanation: · - .

I am not and have never been an owner

or part owner of that business (Patrick " .

Partners). I was ... a staff partner ‘

employed on a salary and having a ■

., fractional profit share. , . .

Mr Masterman's report drew no such fine and comforting distinctions.

The report was perfectly blunt about the involvement of the

member for Macarthur in the activities of the firm:

' " On the evidence before me I am satisfied

that Mr Baume continued to be a Partner of

Patrick Partners subsequent to February 1975

and indeed continued to be a Partner up

■ ·. t t o the date the Partnership closed its doors.

· ' As he explained in evidence he was constrained

by debts which he owed the Partnership to . continue in law to remain a member of the

, Partnership even though his intention was

not to return to it. In my view his signature .

. on the various documents connected with the.

. renewal of his Dealer's Licence in June 1975

. constitute clear admission that he remained

. a Partner. Further support for the conclusion

I have reached can also be drawn from his

. . involvement in the discussions which took

. place on Sunday the 27th of July...

When Patrick Partners sought a practising commission in June 1975

when the firm's financial position was already grave and known

to be grave, the member for Macarthur signed the documents for

renewal of his dealer's licence. The firm was broke; he signed

the documents. The Prime Minister may shield his colleague but

the public is waiting for protection. People must know when it

is safe to invest or confidence in the system breaks down.

Senator Rae, a Liberal member of this Parliament and chairman of

the Senate Committee on Securities and Exchange, wrote in the

Australia last Thursday: · ·

, Well may we ask: "How much longer before

we see some action?" ... The achievement of

the basic recommendation of the Senate Select

Committee on Security and Exchange, namely,

the establishment of an Australian securities commission, appears no closer. The market

. flounders on. Many are the reasons for its

. problems but not the least is the failure of

.. governments to ensure that its credibility is

· restored by acceptable action to provide a

system in which peoo.: . · may have faith.

■ ' · i . 7 ' ’

It is yet another aspect of the

national credibility crisis. Is

it any wonder the whole community

' · lacks confidence when so many areas

defy any sanguine expectation?

. " N

The Government must ensure that the people in a

privileged position to marshal the Australian capital

market rat±e45=be- honest and efficient. It is every bit as

important to prevent abuses and waste in this area as

it is in the public sector. Yet what do w@ find? The

Prime Minister covers up for a colleague who misleads the.

• — ' s

investing public. The only stockbroker in the

Parliament cannot be trusted. If the Government wants to

smear the Labor'Party and prate about virtue and _

propriety let it look to its own connections. Let it

remember the Treasurer's dealings with Mr Licardy, a solicitor

struck off the role for repeated disgraceful and dishonourable

conduct during the very time that the present Treasurer

and his staff were dealing with him^ and banned from even i · * · ‘

being employed in any solicitor's office. Let it remember

the activities of the honourable member for Curtin,

who was found to have a prima facie case to answer on

a charge of bribery. Let the Prime Minister disown the

activities of the member for Macarthur as he disowmed .those

of his former ministerial colleague. Le t him remember the

meetings between the Attorney-General and the Deputy ·

Prime Minister with Mr V i iley Fancher, a representative,.

indeed the emissary of the Queensland Premier, a man whom

the Treasurer and the Deputy Prime Minister recommended as· a

likely source of information for Liberal Party purposes, a man

who has since been declared a bankrupt. it comes down to

-this: the Treasurer and the Athorn ey-General in this .

Government are associated witi : licitor^ who aLe struck off, ^ financier^ who broke andigr.. . ;.er# who ge·-bankrupt.

K-5 fi\ Ή * / Π C a

11a

And what of the Prime Minister's own connections?

A report by Mr J . Spender, Q.C., to the New South Wales .

Parliament was made public on Tuesdayi It revealed that .

two directors of Gollin Holdings Ltd, channelled $647,000

of company funds into their own hands. One of the gentlemen

named in Mr Keith Gale, the former managing director of the

firm. It is the same Mr Gale who provided the Prims Minister

. with a full-tim.e adviser on industrial relations when the

Prime Minister was the Opposition spokesman όη industrial

matters. This· was a service provided free of charge - at

no cost to the Prime Minister,, presumably at the cost of

" Co/

: Mr Gale or his company. Gollin and ε ψ have since gone to

the wall, just as this Government and this Prime Minister are

. going to the wall. Mr Spender is preparing a further

report for the N.S.W. Corporate Affairs Commission on

the grave breaches by Mr Gale of his duties to the Gollin

companies. This is the man to whom the Prime Minister is

personally and politically indebted. After the gale we need

■ a wind of. change. '

. . i 2 l

The dubious connections of the Government are not ■

confined.to its operatives and hatchet-men outside the Liberal ; · ‘ · ■ ■

Party. Let us remember Mr Vincent Teresa, the American mafiosa, / x '

whom the Commonwealth Police met on his arrival at Sydney

airport "and escorted through customs there. His visit was

sponsored by Mr McCrudden, a solicitor who was a Liberal

candidate at the NSW elections last May. There are some

very stange Sydney solicitors who are prepared to do the

Liberal party's dirty work. Some years ago one stooge ·

launched a private prosecution against a Labor speaker;

he was later struck off the rolls. ' . . .

According to revelations in two Sydney newspapers in the

past week, there is within the.Liberal Party a dangerous

group of fanatics taking control of the party organisation

in New South Wales. The Australian newspaper, no friend of

the Labor Party, reported last Saturday: -.·. . .

They are well organised and know what they

are doing. Like the communists, their organising ability gives them a power.out

. of all proportion to their numbers.

The extent of their power was demonstrated at a meeting cf the

Liberal Party State Council in Sydney last month, where,

according to the Australian, the group effectively controlled

the meeting and "delivered a stinging vote of no confidence in

the State executive and the most senior officials of the .

Party". Who is behind this group which has achieved such power

in the ruling councils of the Government? According to

the Australian, ''there are Hints of Arab money, of an. influence

from Queensland, of links v . ’ith Eric Sutler's League o z Rights

and a sinister connection with a strange organisation called

the Sinless Perfection". These are the faceless men of Lhe T.ihor^l Parfu ·

In plain terms v:a have a dishonest and discredited

government, a government of lies and broken promises, a

government that is driving Australia into deeper recession and

. decline,.a government that is wilfully neglecting the urgent needs

Of the Australian people, a government renouncing all responsibility • * s . » .

. for national welfare and national progress. Medibank remains

the supreme example of the Government's true nature - broken

. promises, incompetent management, an abdication of responsibility,

all disguised by specious propaganda. The Prime Minister is

. constantly telling us that the dismantling of Medibank enables

everyone to know the real cost of health care and health insurance.

Of course people should know the real costs of health care, but \(ou/ue cvv<_. Ήν-ο —

wliaL r cally—m a t first, to aiscover the minimum inescapable

costs of such care and of insuring against them, and secondly,

to devise the fairest -way of paying those costs once they are

determined. If the costs of-any essential community service are

high, a Government's obligation is to see that they

are reduced to a minimum and that everyone shares in paying

them. The Government's obligation is to the people, the consumers,

the sick - not to tha insurance companies or the doctors or the

private health funds. If people have to contribute by. law to any

. form of insurance or community service governments must see

that the money is raised equitably and spent efficiently. That

was the .fundamental principle of Medibank; whether or not we ’ · '

pay a levy is of secondary importance; And it· is this fundamental

principle that the Fraser Government has destroyed - the principle

of efficiency, of equity, of costs fairly shared. Everyone knows

that the private funds are •.•fastef ul, extravagant and unnecessary;

it is the funds, not Medibank, that are the true source of waste

and duplication. The Minmo report showed that 16 per cent of the

funds*, receipts are consumed in administrative expenses. A

Government that deliberately restores these overlapping, wasteful

private bureaucracies is putting private interests and private

greed before the needs of the people. , . ·

The Queen's speech - this threadbare, empty and dishonest

document - is th<§ final indictment of the Fraser Government, the

last gasp of a discredited and bankrupt administration. In all

of it there was not one novel, constructive or creative idea,

not one initiative.for the welfare of the people, not one serious

proposal for economic recovery, not one example of imagination or

vision or endeavour. It offered fidthing. Its real meaning

is this: The economy will get worse. As our economic crisis

and our national crisis deepen there will be more attacks on

living standards, more unemployment, more pressure on the wages

of ordinary breadwinners and families." Every government program

for the people's welfare and security, every StatS and federal

and local initiative for better cities, health.care, transport

and community advancement will be starved and strangled. All

that this speech offers is the slow and steady destruction of the

best and most creative policies of the Labor Government and the

abandoment of any care or responsibility by a Liberal Government.

After· more than a year in office the Fraser Government has

failed. This speech - bereft of substance and fundamentally

bereft of hope ~ will provide its epitaph. .

a u a n u a t u - i u i w i i l i S n i M O D O O r t T U m tlftS w h i c h t h i S >