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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr GILES (Angas) - I will not take more than a couple of minutes to point out one or two facts in case the Opposition is confused by its own political position. But before 1 deal with Chowilla, I point out to the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) that he should read something about constitutional government. He should realise that when a Party wins a number of seats and can govern, that is the constitutional position. It is no use getting blinded with science about the loss of percentages. The Labor Party's own former leader, Arthur Calwell, put the Labor Party, federally, in exactly this position. The Australian Labor Party wasted votes in areas like Port Melbourne and elsewhere, and well honourable members opposite know it, to the point at which if an election was held tomorrow in this nation, it would take the Australian Labor Party marginally more figures as a percentage to form the Government than it would us. This is the fault of the Party of honourable members opposite, as they well know.

Mr Speaker,I rose purely to make 1 or 2 remarks on the matter of the Chowilla Dam. Over and over again, the Opposition, seeking a new image, an intelligent image, has proved itself quite incapable of understanding quite simple mathematical facts. I know that some honourable members opposite have tried very hard and I know that others have kept very quiet. But the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) tonight has not. He has seen fit to show some courage for a change by tackling this matter of Dartmouth and Chowilla.

The first point that the Opposition misses is that it does not understand what yield is. The second point that honourable members opposite miss is that they will not comprehend the necessity for flow in a river or what happens downstream from a dam if, for a period, the river does not flow. The third thing that they do not understand is very simple. Chowilla Dam was to be constructed to produce 1.254 million acre feet to cut out the years of low yield. It would never quite do this on the old mathematics. According to the new mathematics - I would invite people who want to take an intelligent interest in the matter to have a good look at these figures - Dartmouth will cut out in years of poor yield, not at 1.254 million acre feet but at 1.5 million acre feet. Any member of Parliament, in any Party at all, who wants to look after the interests not only of his own State but also of the other States involved in the Agreement could not but come down on the side of the fact that the Dartmouth Dam must be built.

If it is built and if Chowilla Dam, with a stroke of the wand, could appear immediately afterwards, the increase in yield would be .23 million acre feet to .24 million acre feet to the total system. What dictates the How of water to South Australia is its entitlement. It is because of the action of the South Australian Labor Opposition and the action of the Independent member in the South Australia Parliament that South Australia's entitlement has fallen from 1.5 million acre feet - that is what it would have received had the legislation been passed and the Agreement ratified - to where it has been since 1915. I cannot imagine a more reprehensible, dishonest attempt at vote catching on cheap political grounds.

I think that the Premier of South Australia was quite right to go to the people in that State when he was defeated on the floor of the House and not by the people of South Australia. Now, it is well known that South Australia has twice as many city seats and 23% fewer country ones for the first time. It may well be - I do not know - that Mr Hall will not be able to take the reins of government again. But he will give South Australia a big shake-up in terms of past votes - a vote that will put the seat of Adelaide, federally, in dire jeopardy for the Australia Labor Party. It will be a vote which will have the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun) not puffing out his chest or looking quite so pleased as he does now because Mr Hall is right. This is the point that people who are prepared to think are slowly starting to comprehend. That is all that I wish to say.

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