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Tuesday, 26 August 1980
Page: 757

Mr HODGMAN (Denison) - Two weeks ago, rather like Cinderella and the ugly sisters, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) and his entire shadow Cabinet visited Tasmania. Unfortunately for us all they chose to spend most of their time in the capital city of Tasmania, Hobart, in the Federal electorate of Denison. Rather like the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Leader of the Opposition, after barely two hours of discussion with the Premier of Tasmania and his colleagues, emerged waving a magic wand and revealed to the world a half-baked, ill-considered and constitutionally impossible election gimmick confidence trick promise of subsidised air fares. It is one of the most incredible things that I have seen in politics, State or Federal. I cannot understand how a man who claims to have academic qualifications at tertiary level could believe that he could sell to the people of Tasmania a confidence trick election gimmick which was disposed of and destroyed within a matter of hours not by the politicians but by the people who really count. Let me quote the words of probably the leading Tasmanian pensioner, Mr Arthur Dart. He described the proposal of the Leader of the Opposition as 'pie in the sky and administratively impossible'. I would have preferred the Labor Party to come to my State with genuine promises and to put facts before the people of Tasmanian, instead of treating them as a bunch of natives who would bow down and receive recognition for beads, mirrors and glittery things.

Mr Young - What does Arthur Dart think of petrol prices in Tasmania?

Mr HODGMAN - I am very glad that the honourable member for Port Adelaide is in the chamber because he made an absolute laughing stock of himself when he appeared on an Australian Broadcasting Commission program conducted by Sue Becker. The honourable member told the people of Tasmania that Tasmania had the second highest- unemployment figures in Australia. He should have checked on that. I have a tape recording of the remarks of the honourable member for Port Adelaide and I have another tape recording of remarks of the Leader of the Opposition. The week before figures had come out showing that Tasmania had the second lowest unemployment figure in Australia. The Leader of the Opposition to be- the contender for the crown, the pretender for the throne - has been mentioned tonight. When we were listening tonight to the Leader of the Opposition saying all the wonderful things about the great industrial advocate who is to take his place in the Federal Parliament we thought he was talking about the honourable member for Port Adelaide, but he was not; he was talking about Bob Hawke. There are a few people on this side of the House who are loyal to the honourable member for Port Adelaide and who said: 'What about Mick?' But the Leader of the Opposition was praising the Leader of the Opposition to be, Mr Bob Hawke, the new honourable member for Wills.

The short point is that as the Federal member for Denison now and for some considerable time to be, I want to invite the Leader of the Opposition to my electorate as often as he likes because I reckon it is worth 500 votes for me in Denison every time he puts his foot on Tasmanian soil. He made a complete and utter fool of himself. He was the man who stood up in front of the journalists club luncheon and announced that the Labor Party candidate for Denison was a Mr Lance Free. He was the man who said that Mr Neil Batt - not Mr Neal Blewett - was going to bring in the Medibank legislation. Bill Hayden is being laughed about in Tasmania.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar)Order!The honourable member for Denison will take note of the requirement to use the title of the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr HODGMAN - The Leader of the Opposition seems to think that Tasmania is some form of disease, unlike his predecessor, Mr Whitlam, who said that the best thing that could be done for Tasmania was to cut the cord and let it float away. As far as we are concerned the honourable member for Oxley is a distinct electoral advantage and we welcome him back. In conclusion I say that the runs are on the board. The fact is that this year Tasmania will receive from the Commonwealth Government, including funds under the freight equalisation scheme, $71 1 m, an increase on last year's funding of 12.2 per cent, which is in marked contrast to the performance in the Whitlam years of 1972 to 1975. I invite the honourable member for Port Adelaide to come back, but next time he goes onto Sue Becker's program he should get his facts right. Tasmania has the second lowest unemployment figures in Australia, not the second highest.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar)Order!The honourable member's time has expired.

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