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Electorate Talk - Programme for Current Session

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7 ; \ 11 July 1974

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Yesterday the new Session of Parliament was opened. It became clear that it will be a difficult Session. It will be an extremely busy one and a great deal of legislation will be involved.

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The first move of the Government will be designed to achieve . passage of the six Bills over which the Double Dissolution was fought. :

Three of those Bills are involved with changing electoral boundaries and electoral representation. Two concern the Government’s Health programme and one concerns the Petroleum Minerals Authority Bill.

If these Bills are defeated in the Senate there will be a Joint Sitting of both Houses.

The Government and Opposition numbers in the Senate are equal. The two Independents who will have the balance of power in the Senate are Senator Steele Hall from South Australia and Senator Townley from Tasmania. The Government would have a majority in

a Joint Sitting.

From the rural point of view the most dangerous Bills are the Electoral Bills. If they become law the balance of political power will move further to the cities and country areas will be denied proper political representation.

The procedural matters surrounding the Double Dissolution Bills will be important and will take a lot of time.

Many Members are preoccupied with the problems of inflation and where that will lead us. The Government is pursuing its very severe credit squeeze> interest rates for all borrowers have just been lifted to record levels of 11-12% or more for large

borrowers. This will add $5-10 a week on the payments of many home buyers, rural overdrafts will cost more to service*

The costs of the average farmer have risen enormously in the last 12 months and we are faced with the prospect of cattle prices continuing at half last year's level and sheep prices at little better than half.

Australia faces enormous problems.

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There ought to be no time for narrow mindedness or pettiness in this new Parliament. The country needs firm and resolute leadership to emerge unscathed from the present inflation and industrial strife.

If the present Government can provide that leadership I will applaud it because it is Australia that matters not the 'fate of one political party or another. -