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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3125


Senator COATES —My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Social Security, refers to my question and his answer yesterday about Mr Bruce Bond and his use of Australian Broadcasting Corporation and other stations to broadcast his opposition to the assets test. Has the Minister seen Mr Bond's reported response in today's Sydney Morning Herald, accusing the Minister of being the gutless junior Senator from Tasmania? Has Mr Bond any grounds for his agitation? Has he actually denied what he has been accused of? Is it not true that Mr Bond does run a service as an investment adviser and that he conducts meetings, sometimes with the assistance of the ABC, for which people attending pay fees and at which he gives what may be called investment advice, yet he purports to deny this accusation by saying that he has a strict rule about not giving private financial advice?


Senator GRIMES —Yes, my attention was drawn to the remarks by Mr Bond, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning. Being a sensitive soul, I was touched to the quick by them. I can understand his calling me the junior senator from Tasmania because of my youthful appearance.


Senator Ryan —You're spunky, too.


Senator GRIMES —Thank you, senator. That interjection is now recorded in Hansard . I do not quite understand the word 'gutless'. I have been on a diet for months trying to reduce that section of my anatomy. If he is referring to my courage or lack of it, all I can say is that I am sure the two other ex-Ministers for Social Security in this place can say that one thing that Ministers for Social Security in this country are not is gutless. They have to face all sorts of people in all sorts of circumstances.


Senator Chaney —You have the Order of the Sydney Town Hall.


Senator GRIMES —Senator Chaney and I have faced massess in the Sydney Town Hall and come out unscathed. However, as Senator Coates points out, when people use colorful language and unfortunate personal expressions such as this it usually means that they are trying to avoid the things that have been put to them. I said of Mr Bond: First of all, he appears on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as an investment counsellor; secondly, he is paid a considerable fee for doing so; thirdly, he uses his position on the ABC to oppose Government policy, and again I have no objection to him doing that provided that when he enters the political arena he does not get upset when one of the people in the political arena bites back at him, as happened yesterday; fourthly, I said that I believed that he was unnecessarily worrying the people who rang him by his remarks about the assets test and in urging them to ring their members of parliament. Since yesterday I have made a check on the sorts of things Mr Bond has been saying, and in fact any reasonable person could only say that he is deliberately feeding the anxiety of the people who ring him.

My only remark is this: Mr Bond is in fact an investment counsellor. He does in fact benefit considerably by the inequities which exist in the social security system and the taxation system. He takes advantage of his highly paid position on the ABC to put his political views over. If he insists on doing that and what I call abusing his position, he must expect a response from people in the same political arena. I have no intention of allowing Mr Bond's unkind words about me from stopping me pointing out what he is up to, and I will continue to do so in the future.