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Tuesday, 26 August 1980
Page: 760

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar (WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND) - The honourable member for Parramatta is not free to allude to other matters before the House but I had not disqualified the matter on the basis that it may have been introductory in nature.

Mr John Brown (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - This matter does not appear in the Budget; that is the problem and the reason I raise the matter. The Budget makes no provision for it whatsoever. So, the dole payment still exists at $36 a week and even those honourable members opposite with the most limited mathematical ability could work that out to be something over $5 a day. I ask honourable members how much one can do on $5 a day. Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise this matter because those people under 1 8 years do not have a vote as you would know. In fact, before 1972 young people in Australia were sometimes surprised to find that 20-year-olds did not have a vote. I would be very cynical if I suggested that there has been no increase in the amount because they do not have a vote so I will drop that subject.

Let us get back to what I think is very important. In my electorate of Parramatta there are an estimated 200 under 18-year-olds living on the street. When I say 'living on the street', I mean just that. They are literally living in derelict houses, old abandoned cars, on park benches, under bushes, on the verandahs of churches and in all sorts of unlikely places. That is where they are living out their existence, their miserable lives, because they are kids with all sorts of social problems. They are from broken homes or orphans, or kids who graduated from institutions when they were 16-years-old. There are kids who have been kicked out of home because of a break-up with the parents, and who are totally lacking any sort of family support and love. There are kids who are cast on the street. They are cast on the street because, for many reasons, they cannot get employment. They are victims of modernity; probably victims of increasing technology. But, to a great extent they are victims of this Government's economic policies.

The fact that they are getting $36 a week in a country as rich as ours is something which I find grotesque. It is almost hideous that a country as rich as Australia could allow these children - they are really children - without any family support at all to live a miserable existence on $5 a day. There are certain charitable groups within my electorate doing their best for these people. In the Parramatta Psychiatric Centre the Methodist Church has set up what is known as the Hope Hostel, which is ostensibly to house the old lags and the alcoholics that we find in every city area. It is quite hideous that kids of 1 6, 17 and 1 8 years are sharing an auditorium with old drunks. It could hardly be called anything other than an auditorium, because it is a large room with a great mass of beds.

I do not know what the Government will do about this. Obviously they are in need of enormous support, and in the Budget I could not find any job promotion scheme that might provide these kids with some hope for the future. So, we have this whole mass of human flotsam parading the streets of Parramatta through the day, hanging around the shopping centres, pinball parlours and billiard rooms, waiting to find somewhere to lay down their heads at night. They do not have a family to go home to; they have no support from parents and no love in their lives at all. All they can do is go to the Community Youth Support Scheme office for a couple of hours each day, and put their hands out each week to get their $36.

I am appalled to be a resident of Australia, but I am more appalled to be a member of a parliament that allows this sort of thing to go on. How long will this Government take to come to the conclusion that every kid under 1 8 years who is getting $36 a week does not have a family to live with; how long will it take the Government to realise that Australia's corporate image is lowered because of the miserable dole that these people are handed. I implore the Government in the name of everything that is human to revise this situation. It has revised several things in the Budget already; it should revise this matter and increase the level of this dole payment.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar)Order!The honourable member's time has expired. It being 1 1 p.m. the debate is interrupted. The House stands adjourned until 2. 1 5 p.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 1 1 p.m. PAPERS

The following papers were deemed to have been presented on 26 August, pursuant to statute:

Audit Act- Regulations- Statutory Rules 1980, Nos. 234, 235.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act- Ordinance- 1980 - No. 3- Education.

Customs Act and Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulation- Statutory Rules 1980, No. 236.

Customs Tariff Act - Orders -

Declared Preference Country- No. 1 (1980). Developing Country -

No. 2 (1980)

No. 3 (1980)

Defence Amendment Act - Interim Determinations - Statutory Rules 1980, Nos. 238, 239.

Public Service Act - Appointment - Department - Employment and Youth Affairs- G. E. Rose.

Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Regulations- 1980 - No. 12- (Fire Brigade (Administration) Ordinance).

Telecommunications Act - Australian Telecommunications Commission- BylawsTelecommunications (Charging Zones and Charging

Districts)- Amendment No. 1 (1980)

Telecommunications (Community Calls) - Amendment No. I

Wheat Marketing Act- Regulations - Statutory Rules 1980, No. 237.

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