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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4620

Mr FRY (Fraser) -This is the sort of motion which one would have expected to be moved by the Australian Labor Party when it was in Opposition in respect of the present Opposition when it was in government. That would have been justified. Of course, it is quite ridiculous to move this sort of motion against the present Government. This is because the whole focus of the Government's policy has been towards young people. We have been looking ahead. We are not looking at the past and trying to maintain the status quo. The main element of our legislative program has been orientated towards the aspirations of young people. It is quite ridiculous to make this sort of charge against the Government. National issues have been mentioned by my colleague, the Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Bryant). The first thing the Government did when it came into office was to stop young people being conscripted to fight in an immoral war, a war in which they did not believe. We gave young people the right to vote at 18 years of age. We abolished tertiary fees in education. Conscription was abolished altogether on the first day the new Government took office. The abolition of tertiary fees enabled people from working class homes to attend our tertiary institutions for the first time. All these measures have been fundamental things which have had a profound influence on the future of all young people in the whole of Australia and in the whole of our society. This is no more so than in Canberra.

We did great things for young women by abolishing discrimination in the Australian Public Service. All these measures were directed towards young people. They responded by voting overwhelmingly for the Australian Labor Party both at the election in 1972 and in May of this year. I am sure that they will continue to do so. I believe that the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) is not interested in young people. He devoted most of his time to trying to score off the Government about the housing of an adult person and about her employment.

Mr Bryant - The level of pursuit of one person.

Mr FRY - That is right. He is not concerned about the thousands of young people in the Australian Capital Territory. He was endeavouring to smear the Government on information, the source of which he did not disclose and which I understand was stolen from a Public Service file. This is the basis of the information. He is smearing the Government. This has nothing whatever to do with young people.

The honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street) wanted to discuss these matters on the local domestic level. My colleague the Minister for the Capital Territory has outlined a shopping list of things that have been done for young people in the Australian Capital Territory. I want to expand on this list just a little and mention a few things which he did not mention in particular. I want to pay tribute to the Young Men's Christian Association and the Young Women's Christian Association in the Australian Capital Territory. We are very fortunate to have a man of the calibre of Mr Eric Boyson as director of the YMCA. This organisation has been in the forefront of providing amenities for young people in this Territory. Wherever a new town has been developed the YMCA has been one of the first organisations to establish itself. It has provided a tremendously wide range of amenities for young people. Recently a grant of $ 1.6m was approved for the YMCA to build a 200-bed hostel. Honourable members opposite apparently are not aware of these things. Are they aware of the

Canberra youth orchestra? Hundreds of young people are trained to an extremely high standard in music. The orchestra has just had a very successful and rather triumphant tour overseas. Apparently, Opposition members have not heard of the youth orchestra of the Australian Capital Territory.

Are honourable members aware of the Griffin Centre where over 100 cultural organisations meet regularly? The majority of those organisations are concerned with young people. There are hundreds of organisations for young people in the Australian Capital Territory. Nowhere in Australia are they better catered for than in the Australian Capital Territory. We have heard something about heated pools.

The previous Government did not believe in heated pools. It believed in establishing a succession of white elephants in the Australian Capital Territory. It constructed five or six swimming pools which could be used only for about 6 weeks of each year and which were very costly to the community. The main problem with these swimming pools in this sort of climate is that we were unable to teach young people how to swim. The success rate of our learn-to-swim activities was 20 per cent, that is, only 20 children out of every 100 children we tried to teach to swim were successful in learning. After much agitation by the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council- mainly from the Australian Labor Party members of it- the National Capital Development Commission incorporated in its budget for 1972 expenditure for one heated swimming pool. When the then Government considered the budget of the National Capital Development Commission it dropped only one item from that budget totalling S69m. Honourable members would not guess what it was. It was the item of expenditure for the heated pool for the people of the Australian Capital Territory. By doing so, that Government denied the people of the Australian Capital Territory the opportunity to teach their young children to be safe in the water and to be able to look after themselves. That is how interested that Government was in the Australian Capital Territory. We still have no heated swimming pools but several are in the planning stages. If the people can wait a little longer we will have heated pools in all areas of Canberra.

Mr Bryant - There is one at Phillip.

Mr FRY - We have heated one open swimming pool at Phillip as an interim measure. But permanent heated swimming pools will become the order of the day.

Let us look at the other general avenues of sport. Let me take football as my first example. In Canberra young people do not have to play Aussie Rules to be socially acceptable. They can play any type of football they like. They can play rugby league, rugby union, soccer or Aussie Rules. They can have the lot. In my electorate there are very strong organisations catering for all these sports, particularly in the junior league. There are several junior clubs which have hundreds of members. These are all being catered for through the facilities of the Department of the Capital Territory. In my job of representing the electorate of Fraser I have to make frequent representations to the Minister and the Department on behalf of organisations catering for young people. My representations have always received the most sympathetic and positive consideration. It has been a pleasure to make representations because I know that they will be listened to and that if it is possible to do something it will be done. There are many projects in the pipeline at the moment.

We have made special provision in the Australian Capital Territory for the education of young people. Nowhere else in Australia are so many 4-year-old children attending pre-school. Over 90 per cent of 4-year-olds in the Australian Capital Territory attend pre-school. We have done splendid things in regard to child care. Nowhere else in Australia are there available the child care facilities that we have in the Australian Capital Territory. The school without walls has been operating to cater for children who feel that they can learn in a different environment to that of the Government schools. This too has been a great success. There are many other fields. Orienteering has been a great success in Canberra and people are allowed to use the softwood forests in the Australian Capital Territory for this purpose. We have set up cycle tracks, we have got horse holding paddocks for use by young people who are interested in horse riding. The other area to which I should like to refer briefly is the very close involvement we have with planning. We have consulted young people right along the line in planning in the Australian Capital Territoryin Gungahlin, in Belconnen, and in the new youth involvement program.

I conclude by paying tribute to the very sympathetic and benevolent administration of the Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Bryant). It is because of this type of administration that we have attracted thousands of young people to this electorate from other Electorates, and this is the basic cause of any shortages from which we may suffer.

Motion (by Mr Daly) agreed to:

That the question be now put.

Original question resolved in the negative.

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