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Monday, 4 May 1987
Page: 2558

Mr McGAURAN(10.45) —Far too often members of the public have a perception of members of parliament sitting on these benches for far too long, having outlived their usefulness and collecting a huge superannuation cheque, whereas the actual figures shown that this place has a very high turnover of members and that very few ever reach the stage of acquiring a pension or a gold pass. Sadly, the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Brumby) falls into that all too often category. When the honourable member goes at the next election, as surely he must with a bare 2 per cent majority, I will feel-admittedly momentarily-a tinge of sadness. There are some qualities about the honourable member for Bendigo that are admirable, and his mother would tell us that no doubt. But he has some qualities that I find absolutely repulsive. The major one--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! I suggest that the honourable member for Gippsland withdraws that comment and that he does not cast imputations upon other members of this House.

Mr McGAURAN —Madam Speaker, I find a number of his attitudes offensive.

Madam SPEAKER —The honourable member will first withdraw.

Mr McGAURAN —Of course, Madam Speaker; I withdraw. Let us rejoin our examination of the contribution to this place by the honourable member for Bendigo. It is a chequered contribution at best and at times has bordered on the unsatisfactory. Tonight is another example of that, as the honourable member for Denison (Mr Hodgman) would know, he being a long serving member of this place and a good observer of those who will remain here and of those who will not. The honourable member for Bendigo falls into the category of those who will not.

Mr Hodgman —But you have a long career ahead of you.

Mr McGAURAN —It is very good of the honourable member for Denison to say so. The point I wish to make is that the honourable member for Bendigo has become distinguished in this place for uncritically parroting government policy and, in the process, betraying the true interest of his constituents. It does not matter whether the subject be interest rates, fuel prices, rural reconstruction, communications, or transportation, the honourable member for Bendigo, in a very slick fashion, very erudite fashion, has an answer for everything if it means defending the Government. Forget his constituents; they do not matter so much as his determination to defend the Government. I believe his contribution tonight was part of that unfair, unbalanced approach he brings to this House. But I am being distracted from my major concern this evening.

Like all other members here I have received yet another glossy publication emanating from the Government. This one deals with young people. It is called `Options'. It is a newsletter of the Office of Youth Affairs.

Mr Brumby —I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The honourable member for Gippsland, during his contribution, had his foot up on the couch. That situation is not covered in the Standing Orders, and I believe that he should be asked to take his foot off the couch.

Madam SPEAKER —There is no standing order relevant to that matter. I suppose people observe their own standards within the House.

Mr McGAURAN —If anybody needed convincing as to the depths to which the honourable member for Bendigo has sunk, that frivolous point of order is such evidence.

Madam SPEAKER —The Chair will decide whether a point of order is frivolous.

Mr McGAURAN —Like everybody else, I have received a glossy, expensive publication which seeks to highlight, supposedly, this Government's assistance to young people. The Government has been too clever by half because of the front page it has the headline `Young people give OK to youth policies'. The document states:

A national survey has confirmed that the thrust of the Commonwealth Government's youth strategy is right and is supported by young people.

It does not matter in what way we examine the results of the Australian Nationwide Opinion Polls, we will find that young people absolutely condemn the Government's failed Priority One campaign and all of the frustrations being experienced by Austudy. A mere 12 per cent of people between the ages of 15 and 24 cited the Priority One program when asked to nominate Federal Government programs or policies that have helped people. In fact around 41 per cent of that same age group did not even know that Priority One existed. Seventy per cent of those aged over 25 were not aware of Priority One. Moreover, over half thought that the Government was doing a poor or very poor job. This is a misrepresentation of the Government's own survey--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.