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Tuesday, 3 December 1985
Page: 2758


Senator WALTERS(11.32) —Let us get this quite clear: The Opposition is not disputing at all the success of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories' present role in doing that which is in the national interest and involving itself in those things which are not taken up by private enterprise. We have certainly acknowledged the success of CSL in this regard. What we object to is CSL entering the area of private enterprise in an unfair way. There is no way that the Laboratories could compete fairly with private enterprise in this field; it has so many advantages. I am surprised that the Australian Democrats are not more interested in protecting private enterprise, but they do this sort of thing on so many occasions that I suppose it should no longer surprise me. The Democrats must understand that no more than a break-even situation is necessary for CSL. It does not have to make a profit as such; it has only to break even. It does not have to worry about loans and borrowing money; it will be supported by the Commonwealth Government. It will never have to worry about going broke because the Commonwealth would not allow it to go broke. It has so many advantages over private enterprise. I understand the Government's position because this is its philosophy, but I do not understand the Democrats, although I do not think the Democrats have any particular philosophy and it is therefore very difficult for us to understand what is behind their support for CSL entering the private enterprise field in such an unfair fashion. To liken this move, as Senator Macklin did, to privatisation can only underline the fact that the Democrats have no idea what privatisation is all about. The Government has never suggested that it should sell CSL. It is hanging on to CSL and, as I indicated earlier, I can understand its philosophy-it is one of socialisation, and that is very clear-but I fail to understand the Democrats' approach in this area.

The Minister for Community Services, Senator Grimes, as is his usual wont, misquoted Senator Peter Rae when he interjected last night. For his benefit I would like to read from Hansard. He did not say, as Senator Grimes said in his speech today, that CSL does not pay rates or rent; what he did say was:

It does not pay proper rates or proper rent.

There is a very large difference, but we in this place have learnt never to take any real notice of what Senator Grimes says that people have said because we know that he misquotes whenever he can possibly do so. Again for Senator Grimes's benefit, I point out that when thinking of the socialisation required by his Party one has only to look at the history of the Australian Labor Party. He will recall, I am sure, that the Australian Labor Party has already attempted to socialise the banks. This is the history of the Australian Labor Party. There is no getting away from the fact that honourable senators opposite are the socialists and for the Democrats to suggest that this is a privatisation measure is quite extraordinary.