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Thursday, 21 March 1985
Page: 649


Mr YOUNG (Leader of the House)(11.00) — It is interesting to note that the House is hearing from the other side a recycling of arguments that have been put to this Parliament for the last 12 years. Nothing changes. Having heard the honourable member for O'Connor speak on this issue I would inform him that of over 600 members the only person in the House of Commons who opposed the introduction of the tabling of details of members' pecuniary interests was Enoch Powell. So there has to be something similar running through their veins here. One had the feeling that at Thredbo the honourable member for O'Connor (Mr Tuckey) must have been drinking petrol, judging by the way he spoke about this issue.

The honourable member for Boothby (Mr Steele Hall), the right honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair) and the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Donald Cameron) took the opportunity to bring me under some personal attack to try to camouflage this issue. Can one imagine, with all the tactics the Opposition can adopt, three worse people being put up? Should the right honourable member for New England point the finger at anybody in Australia about somebody being a crook? For God's sake, $500,000 went missing out of the family funds and no one knew where it went.


Mr Sinclair —On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask that the Minister withdraw that imputation. It is neither correct, nor is it the sort of remark that should be made.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the House will withdraw.


Mr YOUNG —I withdraw. The fact is that the right honourable member for New England has been highlighted over a number of years for his activities and yet he stands before this House and says 'This is terrible', that I am personally involved and that this is crook because I am putting it forward. He is a great man of the people and will stand up for their rights. It is the same thing Opposition members have been saying for 12 years in trying to prevent proper practice in this House. The honourable member for Boothby says that this matter should be put off for another three years because it has not been looked at. I remind the honourable member for Boothby that the right honourable member for New England and several of his colleagues-the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Rocher), the former member for Braddon (Mr Groom), and others-were for the last two years on the committee that brought down this recommendation. We made several changes in the motion based on the propositions put to the Committee by Opposition members. It is not as if this motion comes before this House not having been considered.


Mr Rocher —On a point of order, I remind the Minister that, although some of us sat on that committee, we submitted a dissenting report. He should mention that to complete the story.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! No point of order is involved.


Mr YOUNG —In the final analysis when they were asked to vote on it, they said that they did not want it because that is the traditional conservative party attitude on this issue. I am saying that the motion encompasses some changes as a result of suggestions put forward to the Committee by Opposition members. We did not just come in here and say 'This is the way it will be' when we put the motion down on 9 October 1984. It does encompass some of the views which honourable members opposite put forward on behalf of their parties. They know the intent of the Parliament. The resolution was carried in 1983. It took almost two years for the Standing Orders Committee to look at it. The great argument from the other side seems to be that if we are not going to do something in the Senate, we should not do it in the House of Representatives. I ask honourable members opposite to understand and accept that the House of Representatives has the government of Australia. The Senate may want to sit around, as it seems to do. The Senate has had this issue before it for a couple of years, and it has not even been put on the agenda. The House of Representatives has the government of Australia.

The honourable member for Moreton says that someone will have to worry about his eight-year old son getting a $100 bike. As the honourable member received three hundred thousand bucks out of the parliamentary superannuation fund, I would not have thought that he would have been so lousy. I would have thought he would have bought his son a decent bike, registered it and shown himself for what he is; namely, a kind hearted, generous person who got three hundred thousand bucks out of the superannuation scheme. We just hope that the honourable member invests it wisely and shows us that he has the potential to sit on the front bench. For God's sake, these are some of the arguments the Opposition uses against what we are trying to do!

What the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) says is right. We laid down the guidelines in the resolution of 9 October. We have now extended the time for compliance. It may well be that the Committee of Members' Interests will come to the Government and say that there are certain proposals it wants to put before Parliament in relation to the operation of this resolution. The Government will look at those proposals and the Parliament can debate the matter again. But there can be no diverting from the Government's intention that this practice will be carried out for members of the House of Representatives. We have been saying that since 1973.

The right honourable member for New England said that this procedure is practised within the present Ministry, as it was with previous Government's Ministry. The only difference is that we have said that all members of parliament should comply, and not just Ministers. That is the way it will be.


Mr Sinclair —Where is your's, Mick? Why did the Prime Minister not table yours?


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Child) — Order! The Leader of the National Party will cease interjecting.


Mr YOUNG —It is quite okay, Madam Deputy Speaker, because my pecuniary interests were given to the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) in exactly the same way as were other Ministers'.


Mr Sinclair —You did not table them.


Mr YOUNG —They were not tabled because I did not happen to be in the Ministry when the declarations were tabled. All honourable members opposite have to fathom out is that no more declarations have since been tabled.


Mr Sinclair —Are you not going to table the Customs form this time?


Mr YOUNG —I can tell the right honourable member for New England that if he wants to swap his declaration with mine, his will make a lot more interesting reading than will mine. If the right honourable member wants to swap comic books--


Mr Cadman —Madam Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. I invite the Minister to table the form now.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —There is no point of order; that is quite frivolous.


Mr YOUNG —My declaration will be tabled in compliance with the rules applying to all other Ministers. It will be done in exactly the same way and at exactly the same time. I can assure the honourable member that it will not prove all that interesting.


Mr Hodgman —As an expert on forms, will you help the new members in filling in their forms?


Mr YOUNG —Yes, I certainly will. I say to the honourable member that my advice on forms would be better than his advice on horses. If new members want a little more advice I can advise them not to use the same vaseline that the honourable member uses. The Government will continue in the way in which it intended it should continue when it gave notice of this matter in 1983. Over the last two years the Standing Orders Committee has done an enormous amount of work on this matter. If the Committee comes back to Parliament with further suggestions they will be looked at. I move:

That the question be now put.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Steele Hall's amendment) stand part of the question.