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Thursday, 27 February 1975
Page: 853

Mr McVEIGH (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) - The honourable member should read the Bill. He spoke to the Bill but from what he said it was apparent that he had not read it. I have read the Bill and am detailing the clauses. Because none of the detailed provisions relating to loans, grants, sales or leases or the construction activities of the Corporation has been set out in the Bill, it is difficult to comment on the specified areas in relation to which the Corporation may perform its functions. In his second reading speech the Minister referred to housing for students. But does the absence of this provision from the list specified in clause 6 make it impossible for regulations to be made for this vital, important and needy sector which falls within some other head of legislative power?

Government by regulation is bad, and this Bill is riddled with it. Of course regulations can be disallowed by the Parliament. They also are capable of challenge in the courts if they exceed constitutional power. It is the constitutional power itself and not the provision in sub-clause (3) of clause 6 to which a court will look in determining whether any regulations actually made are valid. If this legislation becomes law and the Corporation, under clause 49, is given power to acquire land for the purpose of the Corporation, it is to be hoped that the Corporation and the State authorities can co-ordinate development by ensuring that the Corporation is controlled by the land commission of the State so that the Corporation acquires land only in areas that the State land commission considers should be developed. The land should be acquired on just terms.

The Liberal and Country Parties stand for home ownership. We realise that certain people who have to migrate from area to area, and others because of financial problems, require rental housing. We are not blind to this need. On the other hand, the Australian Labor Party believes in home rental with some home ownership. The emphasis on home ownership or rental policy is therefore mainly the result of the social and political philosophy of the respective parties when they are in government. Unlike its Budget policy which changes on the hour every hour, the Government's rationale for housing has not changed over the years. I remind honourable members that the late Honourable J. J. Dedman, formerly Minister for Postwar Reconstruction in the Chifley Government, said that home ownership would turn the workers into little capitalists. On the other hand the Opposition believes that home ownership fulfils man's innermost desires and gives him a stake in the country and a sense of belonging.

There is no necessity for this new bureaucratic authority. Why does it have to be a statutory authority? If we must have thrust upon us this insatiable monster, which will devour the State housing commissions, would it not be better for it to be under the auspices of the Department? Is the Minister completely incapable of looking after it? Or are there still spoils for the victors? Perhaps Egerton is looking for another job on top of the long list he already has.

Mr Sullivan - Perhaps it is Norm Gallagher.

Mr McVEIGH - My honourable friend suggests that someone else might beat him to the job. I am glad that he shares my opinion that Egerton is a good bloke provided he is drinking grog at the trots on a Saturday night. What is wanted is an updating of the present StateFederal arrangements with more finance for the States and less control from the Federal sphere. That is the answer to the problem. There is a problem due primarily to lack of finance, high interest rates and increased costs since December 1972. 1 seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard a table detailing increases in building materials used in house building, and showing the percentage change in the 12 months December 1973 to December 1974.

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