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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2614

Senator WOOD (Queensland) -Mr President,I should like to say a few words. I have noticed that the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) have been speaking about controls over the price 'of land but the tendency is to concentrate onareas fringing cities, towns and so on. The indication is that people who have rural lands to which cities and towns have extended must not make any worthwhile profit, out of their land. We know thatover a period of time appreciation takes place and it always has been the accepted thing that where people have held onto property over the years they are entitled to the return that comesfrom it. There is noarguing that such people often did not buy this land for another purpose. However, with the change of circumstances, I believe that these people have the right to get whatever comes outof it. I have been rather struck by the Way that the attack is always about rural lands. We never see the Prime Minister or his colleaguesmakingan attack about the great appreciation of land that is bought and sold in the main parts of our cities and towns.

SenatorWebster-Mr Whitlam sold his house.

Senator WOOD - We know that often people buy business properties in acity or a town. After a few years the properties; appreciate greatly. There is no indication that this type of profit on thesale of land comes within the ambit of the Government's proposal. The referendum seeks control of prices. I feel that the' Government has adead set on anything pertaining to the rural areas. There is no questionabout it, the Govern- ment is city oriented. We mustthink of things on a broader basis than that.I feel that attention should be drawn to the one sided attitude which the Prime Minister has been taking in regard to land sales in rural areas as against land sales in city areas.

Senator Websterreminded me of the sale of Mr Whitlam 's house. We know that he had a home at Cabramatta. I asked a question about this sale some months ago. According to real estate people in the suburb in which he lived, he asked apricewhichwas$14000 more than the home was worth. Iknow that the matter was taken up byoneof the newspapers. An article appeared inthat newspaper. Mrs Whitlam replied to it.Thetopreal estate man in that community said that, the price was $14,000 too high. It is rather hypocritical forMr.Whitlam to talk about the cost of homes and the price of land being too high and that the prices should come down. But did he ask for a low saleprice? He went for the big price. He thought that people would pay the top price because he is Prime Minister.

In response to the article which appeared in the 'Australian' Mrs Whitlam wrote a letterstating that the reasonsuch a big price was put on the home was that they thought that they would make the price so high that they would not be able to sell it. What sort of moonshine or fairy story is that? In these days of realistic thinking, I think that that story can be treated for what it is worth. There can be no question about it, the Prime Minister talks one way when he talks about other people 's property, but when it comes to his own property he gets lockjaw. I believe that when people such as the Prime Minister are pressing an idea they should at least show that they are sincere and that they are not just doing things to make a case which isnot sincere. The prices referendum will be held on Saturday. I think that the Prime- Minister's hypocrisy inrelation to this matter/should be widely known. I hope that when the people go to the polls they will treat that question with the due respect that it deserves and will not pass any more power to parliamentarians in Canberra.

We are getting near the endof a session which has been a very heavy one so far as work is concerned. One thing about which I am always; concerned is the status and conduct of parliamentarians. When all is said and done Parliament should be a placeofdignity and a place to which people can look with respect. I was greatly concerned two or three weeks ago when the Prime Minister acted in a disgraceful manner, He accused a parliamentarian of being drunk after a function at whichthe Prime Minister said, he had extended hospitality. The hospitality wasextended by this Parliament, not by Mr Whitlam. I know that the way in which he spoke caused resentment not just among people on this side of the chamber but among some of hissupporters. I know that quite a number of supporters of the Government take a very decentview and that quite a number do not like the Prime Minister speaking with a bitter tongue. Investigations that I have made of 3very respectable parliamentarians who werewith Dr Forbes show that Dr Forbes was sober. In those circumstances, I think it is a very serious matter for somebody to be libelled when he isnot guilty.

Senator Webster - I saw Dr Forbes at 8 p.m. that night, when the bells rang, and he was as sober as a judge.

Senator WOOD - There is another one who says that Dr Forbes was sober.

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