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Wednesday, 23 August 1972
Page: 366

Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) - I do not think the remarks made by Senator Webster should go unchallenged. Last night an honourable senator saw fit to mention in this place what he thought were unsafe practices by a vehicle manufacturer in the interests of making profits. There has been no attempt to deny the accusations made last night. If the accusations were truthful - I think we have good evidence to show that they were truthful - they reveal an alarming situation in Australia. Because this situation has been brought to the notice of the public Senator Webster chooses to defend the car manufacturers. I do not know what interest Senator Webster has in car manufacturers, but in order to condemn someone who acted in the best interests of the safety of the Australian motoring community and without disproving anything that was said last night the honourable senator has sought to ridicule Senator Primmer who made these statements by mentioning that he owns an imported car which is not one of the cars referred to last night. In view of the knowledge that Senator Primmer has of these cars, could he be blamed for buying a different make of car?

My only worry now is that I am one member of the Australian Labor Party who does not have an imported car. Within the last 3 months I have bought a new Holden Premier. Within a fortnight of buying the car the bolt holding the clutch pedal to the supporting arm had fallen out I came out one morning and found that the clutch in the car could not be operated. I secured the clutch pedal with a i-inch bolt so that I could travel to the city to have the matter rectified. The vehicle was repaired. It cannot be said that this fault was not due to incompetence on the part of the manufacturer. The car went quite well until it rained, and then I found that it was a fine weather car and that one would get wetter inside the cabin than outside. I took the car back and the windscreen had to be resealed. These are faults that do occur in cars.

If I mentioned these matters in the Senate it is no answer for someone to say that I have since bought a Mercedes, if on the next occasion I choose to buy that make of car. I do not think people should have to put up with the defects that we experi ence in cars. The matter that was raised last night did not involve the possibility of there being no clutch and of the driver getting wet; it was a question of potential danger caused through sloppy manufacture. The evidence that we heard last night indicated that there had been sloppy manufacture. It does not do credit to any honourable senator for him- to attempt to ridicule another honourable senator, who is trying to preserve life, by mentioning that he uses a car which is superior. I think Senator Webster should be condemned for his attack on Senator Primmer tonight. Senator Primmer was acting in the best interests of road safety and.. human life when he made his remarks last night.

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