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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2628

Senator KEEFFE (QUEENSLAND) - Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that the former National Party Speaker in the Queensland Parliament, Mr W. Lonergan, in a statement yesterday repudiated the Premier of Queensland and his policies and stated that he now intended to support Liberal candidates only? As this attitude was no doubt brought about by the refusal of Mr Bjelke-Petersen to co-operate with the Australian Government, can the Minister inform the Parliament how many millions of dollars of Australian Government funds have been refused by the Premier of Queensland on behalf of the Queensland Government? Can he also inform the Parliament of the total amount, in millions of dollars, of funds received from the Australian Government which remains unspent?

Senator MURPHY -I am not aware of the circumstances to which the honourable senator refers, but the first part of the attitude taken by the gentleman concerned- to repudiate the policies of Mr Bjelke-Petersen- seems to me to be very sensible. It is a pity he did not go further in the second part of his attitude and see that the real answer was to support the policies of the Australian Labor Party. The non-co-operation of the Bjelke-Petersen Government with the Australian Government is very clear. I shall give an instance of it which struck home to me. I mentioned to the Senate a week or so ago that I attended the departure of the police contingent to Cyprus. I think the presence of Australian police in Cyprus is approved by all political parties here and by the Australian people generally. It is done in co-operation between the Australian Government and the State governments under the aegis of the United Nations and in the cause of humanity.

It is regrettable that the Queensland Government sees fit not even to co-operate with that project. All other governments are represented and we are able to get along well with them and do something which is worth while and in the interests of Australia. The Bjelke-Petersen Government refuses to co-operate. It is sad we should be brought to this stage. I shall endeavour to get a list of the moneys concerned and ascertain the ways in which the Queensland people have been adversely affected by this kind of obstruction by the Bjelke-Petersen Government.

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