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Thursday, 19 September 1985
Page: 755


Senator ROBERTSON —Has the Minister for Community Services seen the report in yesterday's Courier-Mail that the Queensland Welfare Minister, in a radio interview, described single parents as `deviants'? Can he comment on this perception by the Queensland Minister and say whether he shares his view?


Senator GRIMES —I did see the report of Mr Muntz's remark in which he described single parents in the community as deviants. I do not share his views. I think it is unfortunate that someone who is the Minister for Welfare Services in Queensland should make such remarks because I believe that, even in a government like the Queensland Government, one would hope that the Minister for Welfare Services would be a little more tolerant and show a little more compassion for these unfortunate victims of our inequitable society.


Senator Chipp —You wouldn't expect that from a moron, would you?


Senator GRIMES —I do not know whether one can even call him that.


The PRESIDENT —Order! I ask Senator Chipp to withdraw that remark under standing order 418, bearing in mind that the person referred to is a member of another parliament.


Senator Chipp —On a point of order, Mr President; This man, under parliamentary privilege, has denigrated a great number of decent citizens in the community who have no defence against such an attack.


The PRESIDENT —Order! Standing order 418 is quite clear and I ask Senator Chipp to withdraw his interjection.


Senator Chipp —In deference to your ruling, Mr President, I withdraw.


Senator GRIMES —One reason we need not take Mr Muntz's remarks very seriously, and I think Senator Chipp should know this, is that `deviant' is one of his favourite words. Almost everyone south of the Queensland border, but particularly politicians, is a deviant. At various times he has said that members of the Queensland Liberal Party are deviants. He has certainly said that the unemployed are deviants. He has a real obsession about those people who he thinks are deviant. He treats them in a way to back up those words. For instance, in Queensland Mr Muntz has introduced an assets test on those who are to receive emergency relief or assistance with aids for the disabled, which means that anyone who has more than $5,000 in assets misses out. Of course, at the same time he complains about our very generous assets test on pensions.

As Senator Colston mentioned in a question to me recently, Mr Muntz has failed to provide the sort of assistance for the unemployed in Queensland which is provided in other States, in the belief, I think, that people in this unfortunate situation should not receive government assistance. However, of course, he and his colleagues are quite happy to provide government assistance for the sons of Premiers who need water for their farms. They have no problem with the Minister for Local Government, Main Roads and Racing providing a Totalizator Administration Board licence for members of his family.

It is a strange attitude by Mr Muntz-an attitude which comes out in his description of people as deviants. This morning I heard him admitting that certainly he did call them deviants but that he did not mean to. He got upset about the Press describing it as that. If we were all in our political utopia, we would all be reported on what we meant to say and not what we did say. Unfortunately, Mr Muntz uses terms like this frequently. He obviously has no compassion for the disadvantaged in the community. He has no compassion not only for single parents but also for the unemployed, of which Queensland has a higher percentage than any other State. I am afraid that Mr Muntz is just another clone of the Queensland National Party in that Party of clones. I am afraid that, until the Government in Queensland changes, people such as single parents will cop the sort of abuse they have copped from this gentleman recently.