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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2335

Senator IAN MACDONALD (11.43 p.m.) —I wish to talk about the—

Senator Sherry —Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. Is Senator Ian Macdonald on the speakers list that has been circulated in accordance with tradition in this chamber?

  The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McGauran)—There is no point of order. He is on the list I have before me.

Senator IAN MACDONALD —I want to talk about the large amounts of money that are paid to state and local governments out of the appropriation. At this time of year that leads me to say a few brief words about local government elections in Queensland this Saturday. Yesterday, in matters of public interest, I raised the question of the lies yet again being told by the Labor Party in its advertising in the campaign for the Townsville City Council. I pointed out that these lies and things were typical of the Labor Party when it came to electioneering.

  Tonight the Labor Mayor of Townsville, Alderman Tony Mooney, is absolutely desperate to retain power. He knows, in the last couple of days before the campaign, that he is about to be beaten. He wants to retain power for as long as he can, because he has been promised in a factional deal up there that he can take the state seat of Geoff Smith. Geoff Smith will be shuffled aside and Tony Mooney, providing he can remain as mayor, will take over that state seat. But he is about to lose his position as mayor, and he knows it.

  Honourable senators do not have to take my word that he is about to lose his position as mayor. I want to read a few excerpts from a letter that appeared in the Townsville Daily Bulletin yesterday under the heading `Workers speak out'. The letter reads:

As Townsville rail workers, whose future employment is unsure, we were heartened to read of the liberal's plan to encourage the building of significant workshops in the Brook Hill area, which would replace both the north and south yards workshops.

The letter goes on to say:

Mayor Tony Mooney unfortunately agrees with his Brisbane-based mates, so he remains silent, while workers face a bleak future. . .

The end of the letter reads:

But all is not lost, as nothing has started yet, so all we need is a council of independents and Liberals who will fight for Townsville's rights and tell premier Goss that the `marshmallow Mooney' days are finished.

That letter is signed by railway workers in Townsville. They are the sort of people whom Senator Burns pretends to represent. So the railway workers of Townsville are telling the Labor Party that it is finished. In division 1 of the Townsville City Council a railway worker is running for the Liberal Party and another railway worker is running as an Independent. They know that the Labor Party has given them away.

  The Labor mayor is so desperate at the moment that he is running around to the media tonight saying, `I'm going to report Senator Macdonald for writing to his constituents in Townsville on his official letterhead'. That is what he is saying. Big deal! He is going to report me for writing to my constituents in Townsville. I wrote to my constituents in Townsville to tell them about the sports rorts affair—the Kelly whiteboard—the sandwich shop fiasco and how the Labor Party wants to abolish the Senate. I also told them that, while all this is happening down here, Townsville's unemployment queues continue to grow. Almost 9,000 people in Townsville are now unemployed.

  I told them how the Mabo legislation had created two classes of Australians, with different laws and entitlements for each class. I told them about recent industrial relations legislation which will cripple small business and lead to even greater unemployment. I said, regrettably, that those Labor Party politicians who are supposed to lead our city of Townsville are remarkably silent about these vital issues.

  I asked the question: where was the opposition from those Labor aldermen and members in Townsville when the Labor Party legislated to increase fuel taxes by up to 7c per litre? I told those people, in my capacity as shadow minister for local government, that the council uses a lot of fuel and that it will have to collect more revenue to pay the additional federal taxes on fuel. I told the Townsville people that they were going to get slugged twice—once when they went to the petrol bowser and again when they paid their rates, because rates would have to go up to pay the increased federal taxes on fuel.

  That is what was contained in the letter which the Mayor of Townsville is so desperate to report me for. Do honourable senators know to whom he is going to report me? He could not even get that right. He has told the press that he is going to report me to the President. I tremble, waiting for the President to get his letter. That is how desperate the Mayor of Townsville is.

  This letter is fairly similar to a letter that Ted Lindsay, the Labor member for Herbert, just happened to write a couple of weeks ago. I hope that the Mayor of Townsville, when he complains to the President about my letter, does not mention the letter that Senator Colston wrote about the local authority election down in the shire of Albert, because that might be a little suspect. But I do not want to raise that. That goes far beyond what I want to do. But I just hope the Labor mayor does not mention that when he writes to the President.

  I do not want to hold up the Senate too long, but I mention two other matters which are very good examples of the continuing way the Labor Party lies at election time. Here I have a brochure, put out by the Labor Party in division 2, which accuses the Liberal aldermen of doing certain things. First of all, it says that the Liberal aldermen did not vote for the lake stage 1. I can quote the minutes of the Labor council which show that the Liberal aldermen did vote for the lake stage 1.

  This pamphlet also says that the Liberal aldermen did not vote for rate capping for our senior citizens. The minutes of the council meeting in Townsville show that the Liberal aldermen did in fact vote for that. Two things alleged; two lies. This is the sort of material that the local government candidates are putting out, the same sorts of lies that the mob opposite told in the federal election.

  This pamphlet goes on to say that the Liberal aldermen said when the residents of West End wanted shoulder sealing within two years that they would have to wait 20 years. Here again we have the minutes of the city council meeting which show that the Liberals actually voted for that shoulder sealing campaign. Everything the Labor Party has said in this pamphlet, and in most of its material, has been unmitigated, deliberate and deceitful lies.

  I raise another matter. I started on the point that the Labor mayor was going to report me for writing to my constituents on my official letterhead. A couple of days ago the Labor Premier of Queensland came to Townsville. He got a pretty good reception. He was attending a $60 a head lunch for the Labor true believers, at a fairly substantial cost, at a very good restaurant in Townsville. As he and the Labor mayor, Alderman Tony Mooney, went to the lunch—great Labor men; $60 a head for their lunch—they were met by hundreds of railwaymen who do not have a job. They were standing there in the hot sun, hungry, because Goss and Mooney had put them out of work, while they flitted inside for a $60 a head luncheon. The railwaymen, without a job and without anything to eat, stood outside and made their problems known. This is the great party of the workers, the great party of the Labor men: $60 a head luncheons while the railwaymen without work stand outside.

  That is fair enough. I suppose out of the $60 there was a bit for campaign funds. The invitation says that bookings should be made to a Carol Douglas on phone 254 166. I rang that number and guess whose number it is? It is the office of Ken Davies, the state Labor member for Townsville. He is organising a campaign function for Premier Goss and Mayor Mooney. One sends the $60 along, made out to the Townsville MEC. I do not know what MEC stands for—it could stand for anything—but I would have a bet that it might just stand for mayoral electoral campaign. Do those opposite think that is what it might stand for? So that is where the $60 goes.

  That is fair enough. I suppose we all have to do that. But let us see how this thing was posted out. How did this invitation get to the good people of Townsville? Here I have a copy of the envelope. What is on the back of the envelope? `Legislative Assembly Queensland'. Would people think that perhaps that fundraising invitation had been sent out in envelopes provided for the members of the Queensland Legislative Assembly?

  So, here again we see the Labor Party at its best. We all experienced the campaign of outright lies and deceit in the federal election. In this chamber yesterday I pointed out that the Labor team in the Townsville City Council is doing exactly the same thing. Today I do some more of that. It is a pity that the Senate is not sitting tomorrow or later on today because we could do that yet again; it comes up all the time. Every day my office phone runs hot with people saying how disgraceful it is that the Labor Party should embark upon this sort of campaign, that it accuses me of using my letterhead, like Ted Lindsay and Margaret Reynolds, to write to constituents. It says that is terrible, when here it goes sending out campaign appeals and invitations in a letter from the Legislative Assembly from Mr Ken Davies.

  There are lots of other things I could say, but I know my colleague Senator Tambling has some things to say before we finish this debate on the appropriations, so I will finish there. I do hope that the people of Townsville will understand the dirty tricks campaign and, as those railway workers have urged them to do, I am quite confident that on Saturday the people of my city will get rid of yet another Labor government.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McGauran) —I call Senator Tambling.

Senator Sherry —I raise a point of order, Mr Acting Deputy President. In accordance with the traditions of the Senate, is Senator Tambling on the list before you?

Senator Panizza —On the point of order, Mr Acting Deputy President: I understand that the standing orders of the Senate provide that in the appropriations you take speakers as they rise, whether they are on a list or not. If you look at the list in front of you, you will probably find that Senator Tambling's name is on there.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I just put Senator Tambling on the list as a late arrival. I did check with the clerk, and I am to call senators as they rise. I call Senator McKiernan.

Senator Kemp —I rise on a point of order. Mr Acting Deputy President, I think that you have already called my colleague Senator Tambling and therefore he has the call and should be allowed to finish his speech.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I know that I did call Senator Tambling first, but I am obliged to choose from both sides. I will call Senator Tambling next. I call Senator McKiernan.

Senator Ian Macdonald —On the point of order. Could I just refresh your memory, Mr Acting Deputy President? You had called Senator Tambling and he rose to speak. I think he had actually said a couple of words and then Senator Sherry took the point of order, so Senator Tambling was actually in continuation of his speech.

Senator Tambling —Further to that point of order, I was standing in my place and did receive your call. Senator Sherry took a point of order and asked your guidance on the procedure of the Senate itself. I feel you had already given me the call.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Yes, I had. I call Senator Tambling.