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Wednesday, 16 March 1977
Page: 303

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) - I was surprised to see the honourable member for St George (Mr Neil) and the honourable member for Barton (Mr Bradfield) nodding their heads in agreement with the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) when he spoke about freeways because I understand that the roads which Mr Wran has decided not to proceed with are those roads which go through their electorates. The traffic will disturb their electors and therefore I was most surprised to see them nodding in agreement with the honourable member for Mackellar.

It is of great surprise to me that the honourable member for Mackellar should now become very disturbed about the movement of people around the city of Sydney. It is of surprise to me that the honourable member, whom I understand to be a prominent citizen in the Sydney area with a long ancestry in that area, did not make his views known to the 2 previous Liberal Premiers because these plans were proposed, I understand, as far back as 1954. He made no comment to the previous Premiers. I am sure that he did not give them advice to accept the proposal of the Labor Government to upgrade the public transport system in New South Wales. It is because the public transport system was allowed to run down that the alternative of private freeways for private cars was put rather than apply funds to public transport. If Mr Wran sees his priorities as upgrading the public transport system he will have not only my support and the support of this Parliament, but certainly the support of the people who are very poorly served by public transport in the rather sprawling city of Sydney. That is a matter that the Parliament could debate for some time. I repeat that I am surprised at the indignant attitude taken by the honourable member for Mackellar to the policy of the Wran Government in this respect.

What I really rose to speak about was an article which appeared in the Melbourne Herald some 2 weeks ago. It did a lot to denigrate the people who live in the city in which I live- the city of Broadmeadows in Melbourne. It was very poor reporting by that newspaper. It was not up to its usual standard. It seems to me that when the Melbourne Herald or any other newspaper in Victoria needs to find some news to fill up a space, it has no alternative but go to Broadmeadows, one of the largest housing commission areas in Victoria and indeed almost one of the largest housing commission areas in the Commonwealth. People in that area have a particular socio-economic problem. I think it does no credit to a newspaper of the standing of the Melbourne Herald for one of its reporters to go there to find some young person on the street, to beguile that person with the fact that he is a newspaper reporter, to extract from that person all sorts of information and to print it in that newspaper. It is believed by those who read the newspaper as being indicative of the people who live in that area generally. I would simply like to place on record and to state publicly that having lived in the area of Broadmeadows for 20 years, the people who live there are no better, no worse, no different from the people who live in any other part of the State; indeed, in any other part of the Commonwealth. The matter was followed up on a television current affairs program where again selected people were chosen to be interviewed. The scenes televised were obviously and clearly staged. If the media of this country are going to make that sort of an attack on people who are unable to defend themselves against media which give that sort of an impression, it does not speak well for the media. On another occasion there was a comment in a newspaper about people planting trees. Broadmeadows is a frontier town. It is a rapidly developing area.

Mr Jacobi - It is well represented.

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) -Yes, it is well represented. Again the Melbourne Herald carried a story one night about the planting of trees. It did not mention the city of Broadmeadows but it carried 2 photographs- one of the city of Canberra which showed the beautiful trees that have been planted in this city and one of the city of Broadmeadows where houses are being built by the Housing Commission and where there are no trees. There never were trees in Broadmeadows until the area was settled. The photograph was used as an example of the city of Broadmeadows. It did not represent the city of Broadmeadows. There are almost as many trees in that city as there are in the city of Canberra. It is a city that almost equals Canberra in its beauty.

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