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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr MARTIN (Banks) - Mr Chairman,I rise as an active credit unionist to express my disgust at the stages through which this Bill has gone before being returned to this Committee. Let us trace the history of the Bill and the clause that is now under consideration. The Bill was introduced into the Parliament and, at the second reading stage and during the Committee stages, the Opposition moved certain amendments including amendments to the clause which is now under discussion. The amendments were defeated by the Government by sheer weight of numbers.

No consideration at all was given by the Government to the honest and sincere suggestions which were put forward by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) and other speakers on this side. No real consideration was given by the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) who represents in this chamber the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) and the Government to the sincere and practical suggestions which were put forward by representatives of the credit union movement. The Government could have accepted in part at least those amendments that were suggested before the Homes Savings Grant Bill was transmitted to the other place.

Let us look at the situation when the Bill reached the other place. A situation exists there in which 4 senators representing another Party than those represented in this Committee occupy a position of power because of the numbers of the various parties there. These members are in a position of power because they happen to hold the balance of power in the other place. During the second reading debate on this Bill there, the spokesman for that Party - which is the Australian Democratic Labor Party - had this to say in relation to the clause under consideration. I quote the words of Senator Little:

But the part of the legislation in which I feet the Government has failed to do what it set out to do is in relation to the eligibility of credit unions for people who wish to save the amount of money prescribed to be necessary to qualify them for a homes savings grant.

I propose to show the sheer hypocrisy of the arguments advanced by the members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party.

Senator Littlecontinued:

I believe that the Government has set out to do something very worthwhile. The credit unions are entitled to this because . they have operated in this field and in the more minor fields of housing which are as necessary as the building of the house itself, that is, the equipping and furnishing of the house.

I invite honourable members to listen to this pious hypocrisy. Senator Little continues:

Heavens above, nobody would expect anybody to live in just a house. The equipment that is inside the house is surely just as necessary to make a home as is the building itself.

He said further:

My criticism is that the legislation does not do what it set out to do, that is, to make credit unions attractive for young people to continue saving with for the purpose of getting a homes savings grant because it is obvious that only 1 - perhaps none - of the credit unions can meet the requirements of the legislation.

Senator Littlesuggested ; I will generalise on his remarks and will not quote them directly ; the 3 improvements which had been suggested by the credit union movement. But his party did not move an amendment in the other place along the lines of those suggested improvements.

What happened was that the credit union movement - and rightly so - made representations to all parties. It made representations to the Australian Labor Party - the Opposition here and in the other place - to the

Government and to the Australian Democratic Labor Parry which is represented only in the other place. The Australian Labor Party took note of its representations and moved an amendment in the other place to comply with what the desires of the credit union movement were. The amendment fitted in with the expressed views of Senator Little in his speech during the second reading debate.

I come now to what happened after that amendment was moved. I quote from page 1215 of Hansard of 7th May 1970. Senator Little said:

I am vers' much aware that whatever remarks I make at this stage must be associated with an amendment that was most surprisingly moved after 1 spoke on the Rill itself . . .

He continued:

We initiated all of the ideas that are now contained in the amendment that is before the Senate as to the necessity for compromise particularly on the question of the stringent conditions applied to the credit unions.

The Australian Democratic Labor Party did not initiate those ideas. The ideas were initiated by the credit union movement itself in representations to the 3 parties concerned. Senator Little continued, after indicating why members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party would not support the amendment, by saying this about Senator Poke who moved the amendment on behalf of the Opposition in the Senate:

He has stolen my ideas.

What greater rank hypocrisy could you get Mr Chairman? It is just like the little boy who took his bat home-

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