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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 1116

Mr IAN CAMERON(4.10) —In speaking in the Address-in-Reply debate in response to the Governor-General's speech in the Thirty-fourth Parliament of Australia, I wish to congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on your re-election to the chair. I am proud to represent the people of the very much enlarged electorate of Maranoa. It was interesting to hear the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Humphreys) talking about electoral redistribution. It is a fact that my electorate has been increased by 112,000 square kilometres. One vote one value so called was introduced by the Labor Party, but instead of having fewer people to represent and being able to do the job properly, one finds one's electorate greatly increased in size. That particularly applies to rural electorates. The National Party stands for a 20 per cent electoral leeway and I think it only fair and proper that that should happen.

I welcome into the electorate of Maranoa the new areas of Tambo, Emerald, Blackwater, Springsure, Duaringa, Goombungee and a huge open cut mining area, as well as the beef cattle, grain farming and small business areas in that part of Queensland which have been added. It is also interesting to note, when considering fair redistributions, that the electorate of Maranoa is 10,000 times bigger than the electorate of my colleague, the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Donald Cameron). That gives some idea of the enormous areas which members who represent country Australia have to cover to give people some sort of representation.

Mr O'Neil —It is not as big as Grey.

Mr IAN CAMERON —No, I realise that. I also welcome the new members to the House and congratulate them on their maiden speeches. I thank my family and campaign committee for the sterling work they have done to re-elect me to this place as member for Maranoa.

We have heard a lot about the ever-increasing amount of government expenditure. I believe that Australia should be having an expenditure summit rather than a tax summit. I have been talking to the parties on this matter, but the socialists on the Government benches look to more and more government expenditure. We Australians are now approximately 45 per cent socialised. It results in a lack of competition and an inability to earn more export income. Therefore, it is difficult to balance our trade or to increase our standard of living. Under Labor Australians are experiencing a decreasing standard of living.

I point to the great debacle in the dairy industry. That industry wishes to export, as does the sugar industry. Those industries are capable of earning export income for Australia. However, Labor is not interested in the sugar and dairy industries but wishes those industries to starve. Inevitably taxes will increase. There is no doubt that the tax summit will be a total farce. Taxes will go up; it is just a matter of rearranging them. I am totally opposed to capital gains, wealth tax, death and gift duties. Indirect taxes of that type are regressive and will not stimulate the economy.

The supertaxing of petroleum is one of the great problems of economic management. This is being highlighted by the ever-increasing costs of petrol. It is high time the Government did something about these increases. If there is to be a tax summit, let there be some input from people in the bush. The biggest complaint that rural members receive relates to the rapidly increasing price of fuel. I see that the Bob Hope of the bush has just arrived. I do not know what he is telling the farmers of Australia about his Government's cost increases. The Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) at the opening of the Labor Party campaign on 3 March 1983 promised the Australian people to reduce fuel prices by 3c a litre. But since then fuel prices have risen by nearly 8c a litre. What does the honourable member for Grey (Mr O'Neil) say about that? What excuse does he give for his Prime Minister? What a disgusting performance.

Australians are now seeing oil prices being tied to the oil parity pricing policy. I have always been opposed to such a course. I believe that we should have our own price for oil. It is difficult for people who buy their fuel at the bowsers to understand why fuel prices are rising so rapidly. The main reason is that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries price that we use to fix our parity pricing is based on United States dollars. The price at present is $US28 a barrel. Because the Labor Government has floated our Australian dollar against the United States dollar, we see its value plunging out of sight. In the last adjustment the price of fuel increased by 10 per cent. Now adjustments are to be made every two months instead of every six months because inflation is going up so rapidly.

Mr O'Neil —No, that is not true.

Mr IAN CAMERON —The price of the dollar is falling so rapidly that these adjustments have to be made every two months instead of every six months. That is why oil prices are going up. I am requesting this Government, if it intends to have this summit, to look closely at the pricing arrangements for our crude oil. It is having a marked effect on rural Australians. It is all very well for those members in this place who represent city areas as most of their transportation systems are heavily subsidised. The buses here in Canberra alone cost taxpayers in this country $50m a year. The Federal railways cost them $50m to $100m a year. All the transportation systems in Sydney and Melbourne are heavily subsidised. However, there is no subsidisation out in the bush. People have to pay these incredibly increasing prices to go from point A to point B.

The oil pricing arrangement is most involved. Unfortunately, the Government has cut short this debate. The Government Whip is not allowing us to finish this debate in proper time. It is a disgusting state of affairs. Honourable members will go to Government House shortly, but I believe that we should have been allowed to finish this debate in a proper manner and speak for the full 20 minutes normally allowed. As there are other members who wish to take part in this debate, particularly on the Opposition benches, I bring my remarks to an end.