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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1658


Mr LAMB(10.33) —I rise to talk about several newspaper reports that have been carried today on the various claims by the Opposition's Waste Watch Committee, which celebrated the first anniversary of the nefarious and dubious research that it has carried out. The Waste Watch Committee sank to its lowest ebb, to the depths of cheap publicity, when it created a `Top Banana' prize for what it claimed was the worst wasteful project. When we look at the newspaper articles, we find that that prize was awarded to the Wild Women Surfboards group which was doing nothing more than developing a surfboard that would eliminate lower back injuries that can be suffered from using conventional boards. Not only does this project create employment, but the Government grant, as well as being used for work on that surfboard, was being used to design wetsuits and to implement training programs for women, the disabled and children to overcome the fear of the surf.

When the facts come out-we are talking about only $11,000 and it is a worthy project-the Committee will have earned itself very much a prize, the prize of the raspberry. It is an appropriate award for a group of philistines and narrow-minded people. This so-called Waste Watch Committee is nothing more than a hate committee, pledged not to expose waste but to promote bigotry, hatred and prejudice amongst our community in order to cover up and hide the Opposition's shortcomings. The Committee preys on ignorance. In every case only a title is given-no information, no details and no admission that its so-called expose represents less than one per cent of all the Government grants made. It is the cheapest trick in the book, when people are expected to show restraint, tighten their belts and make a contribution to Australia's economic recovery, for this Committee to go out and say: `It is not your fault; it is these odd-balls that the Government supports'. In short, the Committee is looking for scapegoats. Its attacks on trade unions, lesbians, male homosexuals, artists and other minority groups are nothing more than a modern day presentation of the tactics used by the nazis during the 1930s Depression and leading up to the Second World War.

Ordinary people may not be able to relate easily to these minority groups; a few may even detest them. But these people will reject the Opposition's call to deny these people their citizenship rights of participation in government programs. This unpardonable sin lies heavily on the shoulders of the Opposition. Soon the list will expand to include other groups which the extreme right wing people who make up this Committee do not like or agree with. Their prejudice, hatred and political bigotry are such that, if they do not agree with any group or any individual, those people are not worthy of a recognised place in society and not worthy of applying for government grants. This list has already grown to include the long term unemployed, because the Opposition has attacked the community employment program as wasteful, and yet that very program is designed, and operates successfully, to put long term unemployed people off the dole and back into jobs. It has also funded many community based projects in my own electorate.

No recognition is given by this Committee that we live in a pluralist society. Let us remember that a democratic society can work only if tolerance, understanding and the acceptance of alternatives are able to flourish. There is no recognition that all these people and groups that members of the Committee call wierdos are citizens with rights, pay their taxes, hold down jobs and are members of families. No, they are picked out as scapegoats in a pathetic attempt to convince people that if only these grants were stopped their own economic hardships would vanish. It is time that members of this Committee turned the microscope on themselves to show the people how much time and effort they have wasted-time which would have been better spent on developing policies and serving the people of their own electorates. For instance, if the Committee members looked closely at themselves they would find that Senator Michael Baume himself--


Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.


Mr LAMB —Had a Commonwealth car waiting for him for one and a half hours while he was at the dentist.


Madam SPEAKER —Order! Sit down.