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Tuesday, 26 May 1987
Page: 3370

Mr GOODLUCK(10.55) —Tonight I interrupted a government member, the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Hand), who was speaking on the mini-Budget. I probably should not have interrupted him. All I did was agree with a couple of the sentiments that he was making. He then verbally attacked me. I interpreted that attack as an inference that we, on this side of the House, do not care for the poor, the needy and the elderly. I take offence at that. Earlier today I interrupted another member and perhaps I should not have done so. If I get a whiff or a smell that I have been misinterpreted I fight back and, incidentally, I do not give a hoot who it is.

I spoke to another member about the duty free goods that one can buy. He said to me: `You are all for the rich, you are all for the ones who are wealthy. You are not for the pensioners as you purport'. I take offence at that also. We on this side of the House have to be very careful not to be tarred by honourable members on the opposite side of the House who are saying all the time that we care only for the rich and that we purport to represent only the rich. I won my seat as member for the electorate of Franklin in 1975 with a swing of 15.2 per cent-the biggest swing from Labor to Liberal in Australia. I did not do it because of my good looks or my intelligence as the Minister for Science (Mr Barry Jones), who is seated at the table, would say. I did it by sheer hard work and by saying, dedicatedly, that I care for the poor, the needy and the elderly, and I have stuck to that all the way through. So I do not want the honourable member over there--

Mr Hollis —Not me!

Mr GOODLUCK —Not the honourable member for Throsby, the honourable member for Melbourne who represents the left wing-to look at me and say: `Fancy you interrupting me and agreeing with a sentiment of mine because how the dickens could you care for the ones you say you represent-the poor, the needy and the elderly?'. I take offence at that and I take offence at what another government member said, incidentally, that we are only for the rich. A lot of pensioners have saved money all their lives to travel from Australia and if they want to buy a few duty free goods that is their good luck as far as I am concerned. At least I am not a damned hypocrite who says one thing and then does another. At least all my life I have practised what I preached and I will not move away from that. So if any honourable member on the opposite side of the House interrupts me when I agree with his or her sentiments as if to say: `A Liberal member-what would you know about the poor, the needy and the elderly?'--

Madam SPEAKER —I suggest to the honourable member that he speak into the microphone.

Mr GOODLUCK —Madam Speaker, I am sorry about that. Let me turn now to petrol. Tonight I was going to say that I am absolutely disgusted with the oil companies. I have said this on many occasions. The oil companies have said: `We will disregard Tasmania'. We in Tasmania know that, for various reasons, we are paying the highest possible price for petrol and my colleague, the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Andrew), would agree with that. We are paying a high price and we know that. But I have watched with great interest what has been happening in Melbourne and in Sydney where the largest market for petrol is. There are three million people, a lot of motorists, in Sydney and Melbourne. I have watched what the oil companies have been doing. They cannot get away from the fact that it is their fault.

Petrol was selling in Melbourne at 48c a litre and a couple of weeks later it was selling at 58c. I have watched the same sort of thing happening in Sydney. The petrol companies can talk about the market, they can talk about everything else in the world such as politics, et cetera, but they cannot get away from the fact that they are hoodwinking the motorists of Sydney and Melbourne if they are charging a low price one week and then changing that price the following week by going to the Prices Surveillance Authority and asking for an increase in prices. The Minister for Science is nodding his head in agreement. He understands exactly what I am saying. It is useless for the Australian Labor Party's price watch committee to talk about prices when its own instrument, the Prices Surveillance Authority, is just not doing its job. It hurts me to think that people in Tasmania are paying 34c a litre for liquefied petroleum gas when it can be purchased in Melbourne for 17c a litre. There is something wrong with the system. The maximum wholesale price for petrol is charged all the time in Hobart. In Melbourne and Sydney the price has moved from side to side to suit the whim--

Mr Barry Jones —What about State charges?

Mr GOODLUCK —I have taken into con- sideration State charges. Queensland, for example, does not have a State charge at all. I know what the State charge is in Tasmania. We could argue that there was a shortfall in funds for Tasmania but the pure and simple fact is that if people in Tasmania see the price moving so markedly in Melbourne and in Sydney from a high price to a low price there is something wrong.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 11 p.m.