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Tuesday, 11 October 1983
Page: 1533


Mr HUMPHREYS —Can the Prime Minister indicate whether the Premier of Tasmania will sign the interim financial agreement with the Commonwealth, following cessation of works on the Gordon below Franklin Dam, before or after the Premier travels to Queensland to campaign for the National Party?


Mr HAWKE —I spoke to the Premier of Tasmania on the phone on Friday. He indicated that he had signed the agreement and sent it off to me with what he said were a couple of minor amendments. That letter, with his signature, arrived in my office yesterday. I am having it examined and I am informed that there are only a couple of minor amendments. He signed it on the basis that he believed it would expedite matters. We will examine those minor amendments, which he referred to. I am certain that the matter will be very quickly sorted out.

Mr Speaker, you will recall the answer I gave in this House last week in which I contrasted the very constructive approach of the Premier of Tasmania in this matter with the attitude of the Tasmanian representatives in this House. I drew to the attention of the House the comments that the Premier made in respect of the Tasmanian representatives, whose conduct he deplored. He pointed out that all they were doing was seeking to gain cheap publicity and that they were ignoring the real interests of the State they purported to represent.

The question refers to the activities of the Premier of Tasmania in relation to Queensland. That is a very interesting reference. It is somewhat strange that the Premier of Tasmania is going to Queensland to work on behalf of the Government of Queensland, because the actions of the Government of Queensland and the Premier of that State are in very marked contrast to his attitude and actions. Whereas, faced with a real problem in Tasmania, the Premier of Tasmania has attempted to work constructively with this Government, the action and attitude of the Premier of Queensland are in stark contrast. I ask the House to take note of three events.


Mr Anthony —You were supposed to be building the Burdekin Dam.


Mr HAWKE —I am glad that the right honourable member asked about the Burdekin Dam. I will give him the Burdekin Dam until it is coming out of his ears. The Leader of the National Party should not have tempted me on the Burdekin Dam, but with great reluctance I will take the bait. I contrast the attitude of the Premier of Tasmania with the attitude of the Premier of Queensland. I give three examples. In this House on 11 April we held the National Economic Summit Conference which involved representatives of business, large and small, representatives from all States and representatives from the major Australian organisations. Every one of them, in the spirit of trying to bring Australia together, indicated his support for the communique except for one man, the Premier of Queensland. We then set up the Economic Planning Advisory Council, again with representatives from all the great organisations of Australia. I offered the Premier of Queensland and the Government of Queensland the opportunity of being represented on the Economic Planning Advisory Council, and the Premier refused.

I now refer to the next example and hope members of the Opposition do not seek to get any joy or comfort out of it. Under the great program of this Government $300m was made available by way of a great community employment program directed to try to secure employment for the most disadvantaged amongst the unemployed. Every State in Australia has set up the machinery to co-operate with the Commonwealth Government so that we can get these projects going to create employment for the most disadvantaged amongst our unemployed. The sum of $41m is available for the State of Queensland to get projects going to provide work for the unemployed, and Queensland is the only State to this point which has not set up the co-operative machinery. That shows the concern which the Premier of Queensland has in this matter.

I am not surprised that Mr Gray, the Liberal Premier of Tasmania, is going to Queensland to campaign for the National Party because, after all, he knows the total chaos of the Liberal Party. The decision of the Liberal Premier of Tasmania to campaign against the Liberal Party in Queensland has caused the Leader of the Liberal Party in Queensland to designate the Liberal Premier of Tasmania as a traitor. That is the state of play at the moment in that once great Party, the Liberal Party. The Leader of the Liberal Party in Queensland referred to the Leader of the Liberal Party in Tasmania as a traitor. Mr White was not satisfied simply with describing the Leader of the Liberal Party in Tasmania as a traitor. Today he added somewhat to his observations on the subject. I am sure that members of the House-at least the great majority of them -would like to hear exactly what Mr White has had to say about Mr Gray. He said:

Mr Gray is disloyal to the Liberals and is out of step with Party officials in his own State.

That statement is very mild. He went on to say something more:

Liberal Premier Robin Gray is a bad apple from Tasmania . . .

Can honourable members think of anything worse? He is a bad apple from Tasmania! I assure members of the House that Mr White had not finished and went on to say:

and not welcome in Queensland where he has agreed to campaign in support of Joh Bjelke-Petersen's National Party for the State election on Saturday week.

I will not meet him when he comes. He can't expect any support from the Liberals in Queensland. He's not welcome.

He then went on to state:

It's about time Mr Gray got his priorities right. As far as we are concerned he is the bad apple from the bottom of the political barrel.

I can see that the Leader of the Opposition is fascinated by this exposition. I assure the Leader of the Opposition that Mr White went a bit further-I cherish this statement; it is very good-and said:

He is an unknown man from a forgotten State . . .

This was said by a Liberal-a Liberal Leader! Mr Speaker, you can see the state of total chaos of the Liberal Party in relation not only to Queensland but also generally. While I have been speaking with great warmth about Mr White and Mr Gray, it is no surprise, I suppose, that their relationship is in this state because the Leader of the Opposition in this House does not even know the name of the Liberal Party Leader in Queensland.

Honourable members-Oh!


Mr HAWKE —He does not. I want to enlighten honourable members and to show what a state of chaos he is in.


Mr Peacock —You used that line in Queensland.


Mr HAWKE —It was good there and it will be good here. The Leader of the Opposition in this place went to Queensland to campaign for the Liberal Party. It shows what a bad state the Liberal Party in Queensland is in when it has him going there. Nevertheless, he went there. He was walking around the Brisbane Mall and he said to one of the five or six people in attendance there: 'I want to introduce you to the Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr Gerry White'. I want to get the record straightened out. It is not Gerry White. It is Terry White and gerrymander! Is it any wonder that this conservative group is in such absolute disarray? It is no wonder that on 22 October the people of Queensland will turn to the only party which can give them stable government, the Australian Labor Party.