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Thursday, 13 May 1993
Page: 604

Senator IAN MACDONALD (6.17 p.m.) —We are more or less debating Mr Goss's words, `We might as well abolish the Senate because it no longer represents the States'. I can only agree with the Liberal Party deputy leader in the Queensland Parliament, Mr Santo Santoro, when he described Mr Goss as a constitutional vandal. I suppose that is why the Labor Government today embarked upon a most despicable racist attack upon Mr Santoro because of the role he has played in drawing Mr Goss's comments to the attention of the public.

  The Labor Party has a great record in Queensland of undermining upper houses. It was of course the Labor Government in Queensland which abolished the upper house there back in 1922. I would have liked to have had time to go through the history of that. It is quite elucidating, very educational and gives an idea of the Labor Party agenda on these sorts of things.

  Mr Keating is on record as referring to the Senate as unrepresentative swill, so that is obviously what he thinks about us. It is not the first time that Mr Goss has attacked the upper house. He is well quoted last year as saying that the proposal by the Liberal Party to look at some brakes on the government was just gimmickry. Of course Mr Keating's hero, Jack Lang, wanted to abolish the upper house in New South Wales but failed to do so because some of his suicide squad ratted on the deal and decided not to abolish the upper house.

  Then we have Senator Evans and Senator Schacht, both of whom are on record as wanting to get rid of the Senate. I think the extreme positions being taken by Labor Party people in Queensland to a great extent results from Senator Kernot's anti-Queensland and anti-Senate actions in the last few months, which I find quite amazing, of wanting to abolish the States and, of course, with that the States house. She has some other funny proposal about regional governments which will mean the death-knell of local government in Australia if—

Senator Kernot —It enhances the role of local government.

Senator IAN MACDONALD —Then it would not be local government; it would be big government—big regional government, which is hardly local government. That is a matter I want to pursue later, but of course time does not permit that just now.

  I wanted to ask Senator Reynolds to take part in this debate because I know what her views are. She was reported last night on television as opposing Mr Goss on this issue. I understand that Senator Reynolds is a strong supporter of the role of the Senate, and I am sure for that reason she will be voting with us when this motion is put to a vote.

  There are a number of my colleagues who still want to speak in the remaining nine minutes, so regrettably I will have to sit down. If Senator Reynolds wants to come into the chamber and speak in support of this motion, as I am sure, from her stated position yesterday, she would, I know that my colleagues would allow her sufficient time to do so.