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Thursday, 17 September 1987
Page: 297


Mr CAMPBELL(9.44) —Madam Deputy Speaker, I am a little sad that you saw fit to reprimand the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Spender) for his vocabulary because it is pretty mild compared with some of the things I would like to say about the honourable members opposite.


Mr McGauran —Well, you will be prevented.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order!


Mr CAMPBELL —I do not think the member for what's-its-name will be preventing me.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member will call members of this House by their correct titles, please.


Mr CAMPBELL —Well, whatever it is.


Mr Tim Fischer —North Sydney.


Mr CAMPBELL —No, no, the other one, McGauran.


Mr McGauran —Gippsland.


Mr CAMPBELL —Yes, Gippsland, that obscure Victorian electorate. Truly, Madam Deputy Speaker, never have the Opposition benches of this House been occupied by such a collection of working girls of both sexes-for political prostitutes is what they are, without a shadow of a doubt.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order!


Mr Tim Fischer —On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker--


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —I would accept the point of order.


Mr CAMPBELL —I am happy to withdraw.


Mr Tim Fischer —I find the remarks of the honourable member for Kalgoorlie offensive and I ask that they be withdrawn.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —We are veering away from parliamentary language and I do ask that those words be withdrawn.


Mr CAMPBELL —I am happy to withdraw them. As a matter of fact, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would be prepared to give you now a blanket withdrawal for everything I say that offends; it might save time.


Mr McGauran —Are they girls on your own side, the token women Ministers?


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order!


Mr CAMPBELL —I was talking about intellectual prostitutes and you know very well what I mean; you more than most, member for what's-its-name. I want to say a few things in rather a folksy sort of a way.


Mr McGauran —Well, hurry up and say it.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Gippsland will cease--


Mr CAMPBELL —I have a very old friend--


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! There may be only a couple of honourable members in this House but I would still expect the usual courtesies and Standing Orders to be adhered to. The honourable member for Gippsland will cease interjecting. I call the honourable member for Kalgoorlie.


Mr CAMPBELL —Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am inclined to agree with you; there probably are only a couple of honourable members in the House. I have a very old friend, Madam Deputy Speaker. He is a farmer I have known for 30 years or more. As a matter of fact, I taught him to play chess and he infuriated me by continually beating me. The other day he said to me, `You know, I've never voted Labor but I have to give it to you. Your Government is doing everything right. They're getting it right and I really cannot see what the Opposition has to complain about'. The truth is that the Opposition is one of the most mealy-mouthed collection of Hanrahans this Parliament has ever seen. `We'll all be rooned', they keep echoing. They keep trying to sell this country down-internally and on the external market. In Western Australia we have Mr Lightfoot, an honourable member of the upper House, who recently wrote to the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Mr Shultz, telling him that he wished the United States to continue its policies which hurt Australian farmers. He said that only by ruining Australian farmers could we get rid of this dreadful socialist Government. That was an act of treason. It was a statement of treason and it went unchallenged by honourable members opposite. That is to their eternal shame. I sat in this House tonight and listened to Mr Downer of the Downer dynasty.


Mr McGauran —The honourable member for Mayo, please.


Mr CAMPBELL —Yes, the honourable member for Mayo. He was making allusions to workers. When he was a child he had a doll's house worth more than the house that most workers in Australia live in. This silver spoon-fed gentleman was making some of the most outrageous aspersions and telling the most outrageous untruths. I want to deal with just a few of them. Before I do that I draw the attention of the honourable member for North Sydney-I did tell him to stay around because I wanted to say a few things about him-to the economy. He, in his well modulated tones, told us about this dreadful deficit. The truth of the matter is that the total Australian indebtedness today is something like $82.9 billion. But the current account debt or the running net debt by June will be down to about $9 1/2 billion. The total official sector debt-that is the debt owed by the Commonwealth and the Reserve Bank of Australia-is about $5.8 billion. That is a very small percentage of the total debt. Where is this massive current account debt? It is quite clear that most of it is in the private sector. It is there because many of the friends of the Liberal Party of Australia have borrowed very heavily overseas. One would assume that these friends of the Liberal party are not all stupid; they borrowed money overseas in the belief that they could make money and that they can pay it back. If they do not pay it back they will go broke and they will be sold up. But that in no way threatens the future of my children, Mr Deputy Speaker, or your children. They are the simple facts of life.

The honourable member also alluded with derision to the J-curve. A lot of the current account deficit also came about because companies in Australia, once more seeing a future for manufacturing, had to go off-shore to borrow money to get back into manufacturing. Why did they do that? They had to do that because the previous Government had killed manufacturing in this country. It had killed manufacturing in this country because that was the only way in which it could control inflation. Everyone knows that it did not control inflation; inflation galloped away. It tried to control inflation by keeping down wages and creating massive unemployment. That was the legacy that this country inherited from the previous Government.

I say to honourable members opposite that there is nothing more conducive to poverty than not having a job, and nothing that will remedy poverty quicker or better than giving people a job. That is the proud record of this Government. The companies that had to buy equipment overseas found that because this Government had taken the responsible step of floating the dollar, their expenditure overseas was higher. There is no doubt that that expenditure is now starting to pay off and will pay off in the future. This Government had to take the hard decision. This Government did bite the bullet, and the rewards will flow to the people of Australia.

I want to say something else about the honourable member for North Sydney. He said, `We will never put the security of this country at risk'. Let us look at the proud history of the Liberal Party. What happened in the last war? It gave up and let the Labor Party run the country during the war. The Labor Party Government was the Government that took this country nobly through the Second World War. The history of the Labor Party is a proud history. But it is futile and puerile to say, `We must not put security at risk'. If we are honest allies of our American friends, if we value their friendship-if we value them as friends, as allies-we must be honest with them. To do less would be to sell them short. It is the responsibility of politicians in this country to let the Americans know how the Australian public is starting to feel. I tell honourable members that many farmers in Australia who have never voted for us are now saying: `Look, we're not getting a fair shake from the Americans. We want the Government to do something about it'.

It is the same sort of nonsense we heard from that forgettable fellow from the National Party of Australia-I used to call him `sunshine'-who made a statement when we proposed to recognise China. He was never going to sell his principles for trade. He was not going to get involved in that sordid business. He was not going to recognise China. Of course, we did recognise China and massive wheat sales flowed from that recognition, which benefited Australian wheat farmers. Within a very short time, of course, the same people who were not going to sell themselves for trade were so besotted with China that China could do no wrong. Some of them even saw China as the font of all democratic process. Such is the perfidy and hypocrisy of honourable members opposite! It is no wonder that so many of them are lawyers.

There are some factors in the Budget which I find to be most unpleasant. I find it unsatisfactory that the Government has raised the price of petrol for some people in remote areas by 4c a litre. Most of those people live in the country. In fact, most of them live in my electorate. I feel quite angry about it. But the truth is that this matter has not been raised once by honourable members opposite. The reason that it has not been raised is that they sold out the country long ago.


Mr Tim Fischer —You didn't listen to my speech. I raised it.


Mr CAMPBELL —I do apologise; the honourable member must realise how easy he is to overlook. The truth is that the greatest threat facing this country is the growing dichotomy between city and country people. It is the single greatest threat facing this country. In truth, no political party today really recognises this problem. The reason is simple: in Australia everyone lives in the cities; everyone lives around the coast. But if this problem is not faced and we do not start to bring Australia back together again, we will be a divided nation. As a divided nation we will not survive. If one was fair and reasonable-I have a note here which accuses me of bias, so I will try to overcome my bias-one would say that most of the blame for this process must reside with the Menzies Government. This neglect of country issues has come about because Australia has become increasingly centralised. The reason that it is increasingly centralised is because of what happened during those Menzies years. We had a stroke of genius from Black Jack McEwen in the form of the Australian-Japan trade agreement. I am sorry to say that that document was opposed, very foolishly, by the Labor Party at that time. But that document, brilliant as it was, was doomed to failure because the other necessary requirements were not put in place. I believe that what McEwen had in mind, and what he never had the ability or the courage to enforce, was a rational industry sector. That is something that this Government has tackled.

I ask honourable members opposite to think what would be the future of this country today if McEwen, at the time of taking this very great step, had also decided that there would be a rationalisation of Australian industry, so that Australian industry would be based on downstream processing of our raw material and on capitalising on our undoubted intellectual ability-that is, by making the stuff that we invented here in Australia. It is in these areas that we could have competed with the world. We could never compete with the world in the making of mundane stuff-knives, forks, spoons, cups and motor cars-because the rest of the world makes this stuff. The only way in which one can be competitive, of course, is to pay low wages. The lower the wages, the more competitive one is. I do not want my kids to work for Korean wages. I do not particularly want anyone's kids to work for Korean wages; although I must say that it might give some honourable members opposite a bit of compassion and put the matter into perspective.

The honourable member for North Sydney asked, `Why is it that when the Liberal Party talks about cutting expenditure it is not acceptable, but when the Labor Party does, it is acceptable?'. He asked that question in a rhetorical fashion. I can tell him why that is so. It is because the economy is a very complicated body. The Liberal Party cuts like butchers. It does not care who it hurts, and it hurts little people. I think that history has shown that the Labor Party has cut with the precision of a surgeon. There you have it, Mr Deputy Speaker: when the Liberal Party talks about cutting expenditure, it talks about grinding down the poor and making it even harder for the poor to live. It has no compassion. It is comprised mainly of silver spoon-fed silvertails who do not know the real world.

I pay tribute to my colleague the honourable member for Lindsay (Mr Free), who spoke about the magnificent job this Government has done in increasing funds allocated in the area of family need. I think it is a record of which we can be proud. I do not think we have gone far enough. It is an area which we must continue to look at. But it is the most ambitious, biggest step ever taken by any government that I can think of. It is something of which I, as a member of this Government, am particularly proud. This flies, of course, in the face of what honourable members opposite would have done. As I said, when they grind, it is the faces of the poor that they grind.

I want to talk a little about the future direction of Australia. As the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and the Treasurer (Mr Keating) said, we are by no means out of the woods. All we have done is to show the way, deliver what we promised and set Australia on a course that can achieve for us the greatness of which we are all capable. We find ourselves beset by the perfidy of the Opposition. The Australia Card comes to mind. A little lady rang my office the other day. She said she was very worried about the Australia Card and that she knew what we were up to because a member of parliament had told her. She said she knew that when she had her photograph taken for the Australia Card, the camera would zap on to her forehead a laser number. I said, `Look, whoever told you this nonsense?'. She said, `I can't tell you, but I can tell you that he was a member of parliament and, of course, he wouldn't lie'. I do not think I would have to think too hard to guess who that turkey was.

That is the sort of misinformation we are getting. The truth is that the Australia Card will put on record no information that the Government does not already have. It will put on record information that is very mundane. People say, `But won't the hackers get into it? Won't they have access to this information?'. What does it really matter? The truth is that it will be more secure than any other information that is held, but all that will be available is very basic information. My driving licence contains more information than that and my passport certainly does. Every credit card that I have in my pocket contains more information about me. It is information over which I have no control but which is readily sold as a commercial commodity. I continually get targeted mail from people who have access to that information. The Australia Card legislation will make sure that it is much more risky and much harder to do this and that one takes a much greater chance by doing this. It will probably enhance people's civil liberties rather than take them away.

I do not doubt that the emotional campaign of lies and distortion waged by the Opposition will be effective. It is my experience that an emotional argument will beat the hell out of a logical argument any day. I think many honourable members opposite know that-they have been practising all their lives. It may also be true that this groundswell of emotional nonsense will sweep me out of office. I might lose my seat. So be it. If that is the case, I accept it. I recognise that Hitler was swept into power by just the same phenomenon.


Mr McGauran —For heaven's sake, what a trite observation.


Mr CAMPBELL —The honourable member needs to have a regard for history, because if he does not have a regard for history he will never learn from it. But, of course, in his position he really does not have to bother about learning as it will all be provided for him in the future as it has been in the past.


Mr McGauran —Do you think so?


Mr CAMPBELL —Without a shadow of a doubt. I want to talk about the future of Australian development. There are things that Australia must do if it is to achieve greatness. We have talked about privatisation. I have no brief for the Commonwealth Bank. It is one of those greedy, self-seeking, short term thinking sorts of organisations, like every other bank in Australia. It is certainly no better and no worse, and I have no regard for it. The only question I ask is whether it is an economically sound decision to sell it or to keep it, and that will be based entirely on its annual return against its asset backing, or what we can get for it if we sell it. I believe that Telecom Australia, Australia Post and the Overseas Telecommunications Commission must be protected at all costs.

There are other things that must be done. Australia has 80 per cent of the world's neodymium. This rare earth metal will be one of the metals of the future. It is the metal of super magnets-a material that will revolutionise the automotive industry and make electric motor cars possible. It will have enormous application. Australia has 80 per cent of this material, but we cannot refine it and we cannot smelt it. The only people who can do that at the moment are the French, although the Japanese are on the trail. I do not believe that Australians are not capable of refining and smelting this material so that we can add downstream processing, and so that we can get added value from it and have the great jobs in Australia that this would create. But this will not be done by the private sector because it does not have the wit, the will or the wisdom. It must be undertaken by government finance. If we sell some of these institutions and get some money for them, it should be invested in areas such as this so that Australia can have a secure future that will provide jobs for our kids.