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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 2076

Mr GOODLUCK —My question is directed to the Prime Minister, and 400,000 Tasmanians will be listening to it. I preface my question by reminding the Prime Minister that Tasmania is a State of Australia and that the mutiny by 17 bully, thug stewards on board the Abel Tasman, now tied up in Keil, West Germany, since 22 April 1985, is not only a national disgrace but a blot on our nation.

Opposition members-Hear, hear!

Mr GOODLUCK —Yes, I think we should say: 'Hear, hear!' It is terrible. Did the Prime Minister, the Minister for Transport or the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations offer any assistance to try to overcome this despicable dispute? If not, why not? Why has this Government refused to offer assistance, not to the Tasmanian Government but to the Tasmanian people, in providing alternative arrangements through the Australian National Line-the ANL belonged to us-at a fair and decent cost until the Abel Tasman comes on run?

Mr HAWKE —I know it is going to be a great disappointment to every member of this House, but I have to let the honourable member for Franklin down. We all enjoy seeing him in this confected state of indignation which comes so easily to him, but I regret to inform him-I am sure that every other member in the House will be pleased to know this-that the dispute has been resolved.

It has been resolved in very large part because, as distinct from this confected fulmination for which the honourable member has become so famous, other people get on with their business and do not try to grandstand and get points. They get down to the solid, realistic business of settling disputes, and that is what we have done. We have settled it.

Opposition members interjecting-

Mr HAWKE —I know members of the Opposition are so upset that it is settled and that they have nothing else to carry on about. But we have settled it. We have not talked and grandstanded, we have settled it. I had conversations with the Premier of Tasmania last Saturday week on the phone. He expressed his unqualified gratitude to me for my very positive response and attitude. For Robin, he was extremely fulsome in his praise. He understood, as distinct from the honourable member, that we were not about grandstanding, we were about getting things done.

Let me say this: Having resolved it, I give no plaudits. In fact I condemn the action of the people who were involved. It reflected no credit on them at all. It was because we took that attitude and because we knew that the interests of the people of Tasmania were involved that we got about the business of fixing it up. Fortunately for the people of Tasmania they have a government here which, when it comes to issues of this kind, has the experience, the commitment to the interest of the people to get things done.

I conclude by saying again that I express my regret that the honourable member now has to deflate himself on this one.

Mr Goodluck —No, I did not. What about the second part of the question?

Mr HAWKE —Oh, no, of course, he will get himself wound up about something else.

Mr Goodluck —You won't deflate me; don't worry about that.

Mr HAWKE —He has been done on this like the proverbial dinner. But we have no doubt that in the days ahead he will find something on which he will be able to sit down, wind himself up and turn on his act. Everyone in the House will be grateful to the honourable member because in this very difficult life of politics, in which there are so many serious things to deal with, we can always be diverted by the honourable member's confected indignation. We love him for it.