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Speech to the Apex Convention



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SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, E.G. WHITLAM, Q.C., M.P. TO THE APEX CONVENTION, ALBURY

FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 1975 .

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - A NEW PARTNERSHIP'

The b a s i c c o n tr a c t betw een t h e Au s t r a l i a n Go v e r n ­

ment and t h e Au s t r a l i a n p e o p l e w a s . s p e l t out i n t h e p o l i c y

SPEECH WHICH I DELIVERED ON BEHALF OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR

Pa r t y for t h e e l e c t i o n s of 1972, I n t h a t s p e e c h I s a i d : -

. To PROMOTE EQUALITY; . To INVOLVE THE PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA IN

THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES OF OUR LAND;

. And to l i b e r a t e t h e t a l e n t s and u p l i f t t h e

HORIZONS OF THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE".

The i n t e r v e n i n g two y e a r s and four months has

BEEN A. PERIOD OF VERY GREAT TURBULENCE AND TURMOIL AT HOME

AND AROUND THE WORLD, GOVERNMENTS EVERYWHERE HAVE HAD TO

DEAL WITH PROBLEMS OF RAPID CHANGE NOT EXPERIENCED IN THE

LIFETIM E OF THE OLDEST OF US HERE, I n ALL THE MIXED ECONOMIES,

THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM IS UNDERGOING UNEXAMPLED STRESS. I n ALL

THE DEMOCRACIES, THE POLITICAL SYSTEMS ARE UNDER PROFOUND

CHALLENGE.. GOVERNMENTS, BUSINESS, ORGANISATIONS, GROUPS,

F A M ILIE S , INDIVIDUALS ARE BEING CALLED UPON TO ADJUST AND

ADAPT TO CHANGE AT A PACE AND TO A DEGREE SELDOM, IF EVER,

/ /

O u r p r o g r a m h a s t h r e e g r e a t a i m s . T h e y a r e :

ENCOUNTERED I N H I S T O R Y -

. . . 7 2

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I n t h e s e c ir c u m s t a n c e s i t m i g h t a p p e a r t h a t p r i n ­

CIPLES PROCLAIMED FOR THE PURPOSES OF AN ELECTION MORE THAN

TWO YEARS AGO WOULD HAVE L IT T LE RELEVANCE TODAY, THERE MAY

BE THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT THE SHEER NUMBER OF DECISIONS WHICH

HAVE HAD TO BE MADE/ THE SPEED WITH WHICH THEY HAVE'HAD TO-

BE MADE HAVE OBSCURED OR EVEN OVER-RIDDEN BASIC PRINCIPLES,

1 DO BELIEVE, HOWEVER, THAT IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE YEARS,

t h e Au s t r a l i a n Go v e rn m e n t w i l l b e seen t o h a v e promoted t h e

THREE BASIC PRINCIPLES I PUT FORWARD IN 1 9 7 2 , THE PRINCIPLES

WHICH ARE THE BASIS OF OUR CONTRACT WITH THE PEOPLE, WITH

FIDE LITY.A ND CONSISTENCY. „

At t h i s Apex Co n v e n t i o n , i t i s t h o r o u g h ly

APPROPRIATE THAT I SHOULD TRY TO PUT THE POLICIES AND PRO­

GRAMS of t h e Au s t r a l i a n Govern m en t i n t h e p e r s p e c t i v e s

THE SECOND AIM WHICH I ASSERTED IN 1972 — TO INVOLVE THE

p e o p l e of Au s t r a l i a i n t h e d e c i s i o n - m a k in g p r o c e s s e s of

OUR NATION. I t i s a p p r o p r i a t e THAT I SHOULD do so b e f o r e an

AUDIENCE OF APEXIANS — MEMBERS OF THE MOST CONCERNED, THE

MOST INVOLVED OF ALL OUR COMMUNITY SERVICE ORGANISATIONS.

It i s a p p r o p r i a t e t h a t I SHOULD do so in t h i s c i t y , WHERE

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN ONE OF THE HIGHEST TASKS THAT

C IV IL IS E D MAN CAN UNDERTAKE - T H E CREATION OF A GREAT CITY -

WILL BE CRUCIAL IN DETERMINING THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF A

I I · 7 3

NOB L E E X P E R I M E N T .

3

The program u n d e r t a k e n b y t h e Au s t r a l i a n Go v e r n ­

ment HAS MEANT A GREATER DEGREE OF INVOLVEMENT BY THE NATIONAL

GOVERNMENT IN MATTERS LIKE SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS,tWELFARE AND

C IT IE S THAN HAD HITHERTO BEEN ACCEPTED IN AUSTRALIA. THE

UNDERLYING PHILOSOPHY IS T H IS : IN MODERN COMMUNITIES, EVEN

THE WEALTHIEST FAMILY CANNOT PROVIDE ITS.MEMBERS WITH THE '

BEST EDUCATION, WITH THE BEST MEDICAL TREATMENT, THE BEST

ENVIRONMENT, UNAIDED BY THE COMMUNITY. INCREASINGLY, THE

BASIC SERVICES AND OPPORTUNITIES WHICH DETERMINE THE REAL

STANDARD OF L IF E OF A FAMILY OR AN INDIVIDUAL CAN ONLY BE

PROVIDED BY THE COMMUNITY AND ONLY TO THE EXTENT TO WHICH

THE COMMUNITY IS WILLING TO PROVIDE THEM. EITHER THE COMMUNITY

PROVIDES THEM OR THEY WILL NOT BE PROVIDED AT ALL. I n THE

Au s t r a l i a n c o n t e x t , t h i s means t h a t t h e c o m m u n i t y , through

THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT, MUST FINANCE THEM OR THEY WILL NOT

BE FINANCED AT ALL. ΪΗΕ AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED

THAT THESE SERVICES AND OPPORTUNITIES WILL BE PROVIDED AND

THAT THEY WILL BE FINANCED. AND A NATIONAL FINANCIAL

COMMITMENT MUST INEVITABLY MEAN A NATIONAL INVOLVEMENT.

Both b e f o r e and s i n c e we came t o o f f i c e , t h i s

APPROACH - THIS NATIONAL INVOLVEMENT - HAS BEEN C R ITIC ISED

ON A NUMBER OF GROUNDS. Γ ϋ LIKE TO DEAL WITH TWO OF THE

c r i t i c i s m s . One i s t h e charge of c e n t r a l i s m . The other i s

THE FEAR THAT A BLOATED BUREAUCRACY - BUREAUCRACIES ARE OF

COURSE ALWAYS BLOATED - THE FEAR THAT UNFEELING PUBLIC

SERVANTS IN CANBERRA - AND PUBLIC SERVANTS IN CANBERRA ARE

ALWAYS UNFEELING - WILL DESTROY COMMUNITY I N I T I A T I V E ,

. . . A l

•4

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, EITHER BY MAKING VOLUNTARY ORGANI­

SATIONS l i k e Ap ex r e d u n d a n t or b y t h r o t t l i n g t h e m w i t h red

TARE. ' ■ *

1 I MAINTAIN, ON THE CONTRARY, THESE TWO PROPOSITIONS

F i r s t , t h a t our n a t i o n a l c o m m u n it y programs w i l l

REPLACE THE EXISTING STATE CENTRALISM WITH GENUINE REGIONAL

INVOLVEMENT AND PARTICIPATION;

And Se c o n d l y , t h a t t h e programs p r o v i d e f o r , or

RATHER, POSITIVELY* REQUIRE A LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT AND

I N I T I A T I V E BY GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS IN THE COMMUNITY WHICH

MAKES THE WORK OF VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS LIKE APEX MORE

RELEVANT, MORE REWARDING, MORE EFFECTIVE, MORE EXCITING ,

THAN EVER BEFORE. - ' .

La t e r , I s h a l l r ef e r to some s p e c i f i c programs

IN WELFARE, HEALTH, EDUCATION AND AREA IMPROVEMENT WHERE

WE SEEK AND NEED PARTICIPATION BY AND COOPERATION WITH

COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS, PROGRAMS IN WHICH APEX IS ALREADY

INVOLVED. I SHOULD SAY, HOWEVER, THAT OUR WISH FOR COMMUNITY

INVOLVEMENT IS BEING PUT-INTO EFFECT OVER A VERY WIDE RANGE

OF POLICY MAKING AND DECISION TAKING.

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The numerous Ro y a l Co m m i s s i o n s , c o m m i t t e e s of i n q u i r y

AND TASK FORCES WE HAVE ESTABLISHED ARE NOT ONLY DESIGNED TO

PROVIDE THE BEST ADVICE FROM THE BEST QUALIFIED MEN. AND WOMEN,

They h ave a l s o d e m o n s t r a t e d our i n t e n t i o n to h a v e l f u l l p u b l i c

INQUIRY AND FREE PUBLIC DEBATE BEFORE FAR-REACHING DECISIONS '

ARE TAKEN, THERE IS NO BETTER ILLUSTRATION THAN THE ROYAL .

Co m m i s s i o n on Au s t r a l i a n Gover n m en t a d m i n i s t r a t i o n i t s e l f ,

Here we a r e t r y i n g to get to t h e v e r y h e a r t of t h e m a t t e r -

THE FUNDAMENTAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND

THE GENERAL COMMUNITY.

Sh o r t l y a f t e r i t s e s t a b l i s h m e n t , t h e Co m m i s s i o n

INVITED INTERESTED ORGANISATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS TO MAKE

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO IT ON MATTERS RELATING TO THE TERMS

OF REFERENCE, THE COMMISSION WROTE TO MORE THAN 150 GOVERN­

MENT AGENCIES AND 500 ORGANISATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS THROUGH­

OUT A u s t r a l i a , b u s i n e s s g r o u p s , c h u r c h e s , v o l u n t a r y s e r v i c e

ORGANISATIONS, EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATIONS, AND PRO­

FESSIONAL AND WELFARE BODIES, TO INFORM THEM OF THE TERMS OF

REFERENCE AND SEEKING THEIR COMMENTS. .

Wi t h t h e a i d of t h e Au s t r a l i a n Co u n c i l o f .So c i a l

Se r v i c e , h e l p and encouragem ent was g i v e n to l e s s a r t i c u l a t e

AND LESS WELL-ORGANISED CITIZENS TO PREPARE SUBMISSIONS. ΪΗΕ

Ro y a l Co m m i s s i o n ' s Ad v i s e r on Co m m u n it y Re l a t i o n s and h i s

STAFF ASSISTED AND SOLICITED MANY SUCH SUBMISSIONS TO

GENERATE AS WIDE A HEARING OF PUBLIC VIEWS AS POSSIBLE.

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At each p l a c e where a f o r m a l h e a r i n g was h e l d , p u b l i c m e e t ­

in g s WERE ARRANGED FOR INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS TO

PUT FORWARD EITHER ORAL OR WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS. SlX HUNDRED

PEOPLE TOOK PART IN THESE MEETINGS.

Th i s has b e e n an e x a m p l e of c o m m u n it y p a r t i c i p a t i o n

IN A MATTER OF FUNDAMENTAL IMPORTANCE AT A LEVEL QUITE NEW .

τ ο Au s t r a l i a .

We h a v e a d o p t e d t h e same a p p r o a c h w i t h t h e work ­

in g GROUP ON RURAL POLICY WHICH PRODUCED THE GREEN PAPER ON

RURAL POLICY, WITH THE INDUSTRIES ASSISTANCE COMMISSION, AND

w it h En v ir o n m e n t a l * I m p a c t St a t e m e n t s . We h a v e t a k e n t h e

VIEW THAT PUBLIC PARTICIPATION BY THE GOVERNED IS A FUNDA” .

MENTAL CHARACTERISTIC OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT. I N I T IA L L Y

AND INEVITABLY, PUBLIC PARTICIPATION WILL MEAN THAT THE

BEST ORGANISED AND THE MOST ARTICULATE. THE MOST ACTIVE WILL

TEND TO HAVE THE FIRST AND GREATEST SAY. WE DO WISH HOWEVER,

TO PROVIDE THE MACHINERY AND TO DEVELOP A LEVEL OF PUBLIC

AWARENESS WHICH WILL ENABLE THE WHOLE PUBLIC TO BE INVOLVED

AND INCLUDED IN A GENUINE, MEANINGFUL WAY.

Th e s e a r e e x a m p l e s of p u b l i c p a r t i c i p a t i o n and

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN DISCUSSING AND FORMING POLICY. WE

WANT HOWEVER, PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

IN IMPLEMENTING POLICY. W e WANT COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION

THROUGH COMMUNITY ACTION. LET ME GIVE EXAMPLES OF HOW. WE

ARE TR-YING TO ACHIEVE THIS IN THE FIELDS OF SOCIAL WELFARE,

CHILD CARE AND EDUCATION, HEALTH AND THE ENHANCEMENT OF THE

PLACES WE LIVE IN.

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The Au s t r a l i a n As s i s t a n c e Plan

The Au s t r a l i a n As s i s t a n c e Pla n i s a p i o n e e r i n g

EXPERIMENT IN COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE

IS TO SEEK OUT AND MEET AREAS OF SOCIAL NEED HITHERTO EITHER

IGNORED OR UNIDENTIFIED BY THE-EXISTING WELFARE. AGENCIES -

NATIONAL, STATE, LOCAL OR VOLUNTARY. ITS ESSENTIAL CHARACTER­

IS T IC IS THAT ITS WORK IS BASED ON REGIONS, ON REGIONAL

COMMUNITIES AND THAT ITS WORK AND PLANNING IS TO BE DONE

BY GENUINELY INDEPENDENT, GENUINELY COMMUNITY BASED GROUPS

OF CONCERNED CITIZENS WHO KNOW THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF THE

COMMUNITY OF WHICH THEY ARE A PART,

The £a s i c p l a n n i n g u n i t , i s c a l l e d t h e Re g i o n a l

Co u n c i l for So c i a l De v e l o p m e n t , Such c o u n c i l s h ave a l r e a d y

BEEN SET UP IN THIRTY-’S IX REGIONS THROUGHOUT' AUSTRALIA. THE

COUNCILS ACT AS A COMMUNITY FORUM FOR DISCUSSION AND A

COMMUNITY INSTRUMENT FOR ACTION IN IMPROVING EXISTING WELFARE

SERVICES AND PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANT IN THE LONG RUN, EXPERI­

MENTING IN NEW FORMS OF WELFARE. As ITS CONTRIBUTION, THE

n a t i o n a l Go v e r n m e n t : .

. Ma k e s s p e c i f i c g r ants to t h e r e g i o n a l c o u n c i l s

to cover a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ;

. Pr o v i d e s a ' c a p i t a t i o n g r a n t ' of $2 for each

PERSON IN THE REGION FOR SMALL SCALE, SHORT­

TERM SOCIAL WELFARE PROJECTS; '

, And makes a ' c o m m u n it y d e v e l o p m e n t ' gr an t to

PAY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OFFICERS TO STIMU-

' · LATE COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT,

. . ,/8

An " i n i t i a t i n g " g r a n t i s a v a i l a b l e to a s s i s t t h e f o r m a t i o n

of a Co u n c i l w i t h d i v e r s e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n from c o m m u n i t y

ORGANISATION. ■ f '

The Ch i l d r e n ' s Co m m i s s i o n

You WILL BE AWARE THAT THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT HAS DECIDED TO ESTABLISH A CHILDREN'S COMMISSION. I n THE

OPERATION OF THIS BODY, WE ARE COMMITTED TO THE PRINCIPLE

OF INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY AS CLOSELY AS POSSIBLE IN THE

PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF PROGRAMS SPONSORED BY THE

Co m m i s s i o n .

The Ch i l d r e n ' s Co m m is s io n w i l l p r o v i d e h e l p for

A WIDE RANGE OF IMAGINATIVE AND FLEXIBLE PROGRAMS DEVOTED

TO LOOKING AFTER CHILDREN BEFORE THEY REACH SCHOOL AGE AND

CARING FOR OLDER CHILDREN OUTSIDE SCHOOL HOURS.

The d e c i s i o n to s e t up a Ch i l d r e n ' s Co m m is s io n

WAS ITSELF A RESPONSE TO COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIONS FOR

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN PROVIDING CARE FOR CHILDREN. IT

RECOGNISES THAT THE CARE PROVIDED SHOULD NOT BE RIGID OR

HIGHLY INSTITUTIONALISED, BUT THAT CHOICES FOR PARENTS AND

THEIR CHILDREN SHOULD BE MAXIMISED:

. . ./9

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The p o l i c y of t h e Ch i l d r e n ' s Co m m i s s i o n when i t

i s e s t a b l i s h e d , and of the I n t e r i m Co m m i t t e e w h ic h i s now

c a r r y i n g out i t s w o r k , i s one of m a i n t a i n i n g t h e c l o s e s t

POSSIBLE CONTACT WITH THE COMMUNITY. . . . . .

The i n t e r i m Co m m i t t e e a n d i t s v a r i o u s St a t e

COMMITTEES HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED A NUMBER OF REQUESTS FOR

ASSISTANCE FROM COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS AND W I L L BE ENCOURAGING

MORE IN THE COMING F I N A N C I A L YEAR.

Pa r t of t h e f i n a n c e t o be a l l o c a t e d b y t h e

Ch i l d r e n ' s Co m m i s s i o n w i l l go to t h e St a t e s for s p e c i f i c

PURPOSE GRANTS, AND PART OF THE FINANCE W I L L GO DIRECT TO

COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS. BUT THE COMMISSION W I L L EXPECT

THAT PROGRAMS TO BE SUPPORTED W IL L BE THOSE WHICH THE

COMMUNITY HAS SHOWN I T WANTS, NOT JUST THOSE WHICH I T HAS

BEEN TOLD I T WANTS, AND THAT ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE RUNNING

OF THE PROGRAMS W I L L ALLOW FOR A GENUINE COMMUNITY INVOLVE­

MENT .

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Schools Co m m i s s i o n

The Au s t r a l i a n Go vern m en t has made a v a i l a b l e

7.2 m i l l i o n d o l l a r s for t h e 1973-75 t r i e n n i u n ) to su p p o r t

INNOVATORY PROJECTS AND FIELD~BASED EXPERIMENTS ASSOCIATED

WITH PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION. ΪΗΕ INNOVATIONS

Program was e s t a b l i s h e d to a c c e p t p r o p o s a ls from s c h o o l s ,

TEACHERS, PARETNS, OR COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS.

The I n n o v a t io n s Program r e p r e s e n t s a major

EFFORT TO BRING ABOUT IMPROVEMENTS IN OUR EDUCATIONAL

SYSTEM THROUGH ’THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF COMMUNITY I N I T IA T IV E

AND THE DEVOLUTION OF RESPONSIBILITY FROM THE CENTRE TO

THE REGION. , .

The GENERAL AIMS OF THE PROGRAM ARE:

. To IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF SCHOOLING IN AUSTRALIA;

. TO ENCOURAGE DIVERSITY; .

. To STIMULATE INNOVATION IN SCHOOLS; '

. TO ENHANCE THE CAPACITIES OF ALL THOSE .

COMMITTED TO EDUCATION TO GENERATE

. THEIR OWN IMPROVEMENTS· IN SCHOOLS.

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Co m m u n it y He a l t h Program

T h e c o m m u n it y h e a l t h program i s a i m e d a t the

PROVISION OF SERVICES IN THE COMMUNITY WHERE PEOPLE LIVE

OR WORK AS DISTINCT FROM THOSE AVAILABLE IN HOSPITALS AND

SIMILAR IN S T IT U T IO N S , COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICES HELP

PERSONS TO MEET THEIR HEALTH AND WELFARE NEEDS AT CONVENIENT

LOCATIONS AND TO RETURN HOME AFTER ATTENDANCES, Ϊ Η IS ,

LESSENS DEPENDENCE ON INSTITUTIONS AND FREQUENTLY PRESENTS

AN ALTERNATIVE TO GOING INTO HOSPITAL. ■

Pe o p l e i n v o l v e d i n d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g on t h e i r l o c a l

HEALTH SERVICE WILL BE GIVEN OPPORTUNITIES TO INFLUENCE THE

ACCEPTABILITY AND A V A IL A B IL IT Y OF SERVICES, I t WILL ALSO

PROVIDE A MEANS OF EDUCATING THE COMMUNITY AND CHANGING

CONVENTIONAL EXPECTATIONS. PEOPLE PARTICIPATING IN THE

MANAGEMENT OF THEIR OWN HEALTH SERVICES WILL HAVE A BETTER

UNDERSTANDING OF THE LIMITATIONS OF MEDICINE, THE COSTS AND

EFFECTIVENESS OF PARTICULAR SERVICES, AND THE IN D IV ID U A L 'S

RESPONSIBILITY FOR PERSONAL AND FAMILY HEALTH. ·

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Area I mpr ovem en t Programs x

The Area I mpr ovem en t Program i s1 i n t e n d e d to

SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN NOMINATED

REGIONS THROUGH PROJECTS DETERMINED BY THE PEOPLE OF

THE REGION. A FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPT IN THE A I P IS THE

ENCOURAGEMENT OF COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN MAKING

DECISIONS THAT AFFECT THEIR REGION .AND THEIR WAY OF

L I F E .

The A I P has b e e n an e x e r c i s e i n co- o p e r a t i v e

FEDERALISM WITH STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS BEING

INVOLVED CLOSELY IN ALL ASPECTS OF THE PROGRAM. THE

Au s t r a l i a n Govern men t i s p r o v i d i n g $14.1 m i l l i o n i n

1974-75 for Area I mprovem ent Pr o g r a m s .

. . . 7 1 3

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Re g i o n a l Em plo ym en t De v e l o p m e n t Scheme

I GIVE A FINAL EXAMPLE OF A COMMUNITY INVOLVE­

MENT IN NATIONAL PROGRAMS - ONE IN WHICH APEX'HAS GIVEN

NOTABLE COOPERATION. UNDER THE REGIONAL. EMPLOYMENT

De v e l o p m e n t Sc h e m e , Ap e x Clu b s t h r o u g h o u t Au s t r a l i a h av e

SPONSORED A NUMBER OF PROJECTS WHICH HAVE A DOUBLE VALUE.

They p r o v i d e s o c i a l l y m e a n i n g f u l work for the i m m e d i a t e

v i c t i m s OF our p r e s e n t e c o n o m ic d i f f i c u l t i e s and th e y

l e a v e b e h i n d s o m e t h i n g of e n d u r in g worth to t h e c o m m u n i t y .

The Au s t r a l i a n Go v e r n m e n t welcomes any a p p l i c a t i o n from

Ap e x Clu b s for a p p r o v a l for p r o j e c t s w h ic h would h a v e a

l a s t i n g b e n e f i t for th e c o m m u n it y w h i l e a t t h e same t i m e

J .

G I V I N G MEN AND WOMEN P R E S ENT L Y UNEMPLOYED S A T I S F Y I N G ,

WORTHWHI LE WORK.

* T h e w h o l e t h r u s t o f a l l t h e s e p r o g r a m s -

AND I COULD MENT I ON MANY MORE - I S T H A T A GREAT NUMBER CF

c o n c e r n e d A u s t r a l i a n m e n a n d w o m e n a r e a l r e a d y i n v o l v e d ■

I N c o m m u n i t y d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g a n d c o m m u n i t y a c t i o n i n

c o o p e r a t i o n w i t h G o v e r n m e n t , i n a w a y t h a t w a s n e v e r

THOUGHT P O S S I B L E A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. I t I S I MP ORT ANT

T H A T WE AS A GOVERNMENT SHOULD P R OV I D E MORE AND MORE

O P P O R T U N I T I E S FOR A L L A U S T R A L I A N S , P A R T I C U L A R L Y THE

D I S A D V A N T A G E D AND THE H A N D I C A P P E D I N OUR M I D S T .

...AM

But i t i s e q u a l l y i m p o r t a n t i n t e r m s of

THE STRENGTH AND VIGOUR OF THE WHOLE COMMUNITY THAT

THOSE OF US WHO ARE NOT UNDERPRIVILEGED/ NOT HANDICAPPED,

THOSE OF US WHO BY VIRTUE OF WEALTH OR HEALTH -OR GOOD

FORTUNE CAN SERVE, SHOULD HAVE ENHANCED OPPORTUNITIES

TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY, So WE ARE TRYING IN TRUTH

BOTH TO ENHANCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE DISADVANTAGED AND

IN A DIFFERENT BUT RELATED SENSE THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR

THE ADVANTAGED - OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY.

I SHOULD HOWEVER, ADD A WARNING. ALL THESE

PROGRAMS I HAVE MENTIONED ARE NOVEL FOR AUSTRALIA AND

EXPERIMENTAL IN AUSTRALIA, BECAUSE THEY ARE NEW,

BECAUSE THEY ARE T E N TA TIV E, THEY LACK THE P O L I T I C A L

CLOUT THAT COMES FROM YEARS AND YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AND

e x p e r t i s e . Be c a u s e t h e y s e e k o u t new a n d n e g l e c t e d .

AREAS' OF NEED, THEY MAY BE REGARDED AS P O L I T IC A L L Y

PERIPHERAL. ΪΗΕΥ HAVE NOT HAD THE TIME TO BECOME

SACRED COWS. BECAUSE THEY ARE DESIGNED TO SERVE THE

NEEDS OF THE WEAKEST, OF THE LEAST ARTICULATE MEMBERS

OF THE COMMUNITY, THEY MAY BE REGARDED AS P O L I T I C A L L Y

DISPENSABLE.

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Two OF THE PROGRAMS I HAVE MENTIONED -the Au s t r a l i a n As s i s t a n c e Plan and Re g i o n a l Em plo ym en t

De v e l o p m e n t Scheme - are a l r e a d y under c h a l l e n g e from

some of the St a t e governments in the Hig h Court -

NOT, OF COURSE, ON AMY GROUNDS·OF THEIR SOCIAL VALUE

BUT ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL ARGUMENT THAT THEY SHOULD

BE PROVIDED, IF AT ALL, BY OR THOUGH THE STATE GOVERN­

MENTS..

And IF THAT CHALLENGE SHOULD SUCCEED, NO LESS THAN

57 NATIONAL WELFARE PROGRAMS, SOME OF THEM IN IT IA T E D BY

THE PREVIOUS.GOVERNMENT, COULD BE IMPERILLED. FOR

EXAMPLE, PROGRAMS FOR AGED AND HOMELESS AND HANDICAPPED :

AND ABORIGINAL PEOPLE, ISOLATED CHILDREN, HEALTH CENTRES,

LEGAL AID OFFICES, NURSING HOMES AND HOME NURSING,

MEALS ON WHEELS, FLYING DOCTORS AND BLOOD TRANSFUSION. .

The common d i s t i n g u i s h i n g factor i n a l l t h e s e programs

IS THAT THEY ARE DESIGNED TO MEET SPECIAL NEEDS OF THE '

WEAK AND INARTICULATE SECTIONS OF THE COMMUNITY - THE . .

OLD THE S IC K , MIGRANTS, ABORIGINES, THE VERY YOUNG. IF

THESE GROUPS WERE POLITICALLY POWERFUL, IF THEY COULD

MOUNT EFFECTIVE PO LITIC AL PRESSURE, THE GOVERNMENTS

WHICH DARED TO PLACE THESE PROGRAMS IN JEOPARDY WOULD

BE DESTROYED. BUT AS IT I S , THE THING PASSES OFF WITH

SCARCE A MURMUR. '

. . . 7 1 6

16

Ag a i n , b e c a u s e t h e s e programs -- the ones I

HAVE MENTIONED TODAY AS WELL AS THE ONES THREATENED

by t h e Hig h Court c h a l l e n g e - can h e l p only the w e a k ,

t

THE UNDERPRIVILEGED, THE INARTICULATE, THEY WOULD BE

THE FIRST TO GO, THE FIRST TO BE KNOCKED OFF IN ANY

FULL SCALE ONSLAUGHT AGAINST PUBLIC SPENDING AND PUBLIC

I N I T IA T IV E . T he TRAGEDY IS THAT WHATEVER VALUE THESE

PROGRAMS MIGHT HAVE FOR THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF

OUR FELLOW CITIZEN S, WHATEVER THE COST IN HUMAN HAPPINESS

AND HUMAN HOPE THEIR ABOLITION MIGHT MEAN, IT WOULD BE

QUITE FEASIBLE POLITICALLY TO DUMP THEM ALL AT ALMOST "

NO POLITICAL COST. *

T h e o n l y p r o t e c t i o n i s t h e c o n s c i e n c e a n d

THE CONCERN OF THE I N T E R E S T E D AND A R T I C U L A T E GROUPS I N

THE COMMU N I T Y , OF WHI CH I F I R M L Y B E L I E V E A P E X I S I N THE

FRONT RANK. I t IS BECAUSE APEX HAS BEEN INVOLVED AND

WILL BE FURTHER INVOLVED IN THESE SORTS OF COMMUNITY

PROJECTS, IT IS BECAUSE APEXIANS KNOW THEIR VALUE, KNOW

WHAT THEY MEAN TO THOUSANDS OF OUR FELLOW-CITIZENS, THAT

I BELIEVE I CAN COUNT UPON APEX TO PROTECT THEM AS WELL

AS TO PROMOTE THEM. A VOICE MUST BE RAISED ON BEHALF

OF THE VOICELESS IN OUR COMMUNITY - AND I LOOK TO APEX

TO GIVE IT .

. . . / I 7

I SAID BEFORE THAT WE, L I K E ALL COMPARABLE

COMMUNITIES, ARE GOING THROUGH A PERIOD OF EXTRAORDINARY

ECONOMIC D I F F I C U L T I E S , S I G N I F I C A N T L Y , APEX WAS .FORMED

IN A TIME OF EVEN GREATER HARDSHIP AND D I F F I C U L T Y . I t

WAS A RESPONSE BY A HANDFUL OF CONCERNED AUSTRALIANS AT

THE TIME OF THE DEPRESSION, THOUGH THERE IS A S I M I L A R I T Y

IN THE UNIVERSALITY OF PRESENT WORLD ECONOMIC PROBLEMS,

THERE IS" ONE VERY GREAT SALUTARY DIFFERENCE, ΪΗΕ GREAT

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEN AND NOW IS THE DEGREE OF SOCIAL

CONCERN, THE EXTENT TO WHICH THOSE IN TROUBLE ARE

SUPPORTED BY THE COMMUNITY, BY A CONCERNED COMMUNITY,

BY THE CONSCIENCE OF THE COMMUNITY, Ϊ Ε Τ THAT CONCERN

AND THAT CONSCIENCE CAN ALL TOO E A S IL Y GO TO SLEEP.

I LOOK NOT LEAST TO APEX TO KEEP THAT CONSCIENCE AWAKE,

TO KEEP THAT CONCERN A L I V E ,

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