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Thursday, 19 August 1993
Page: 410

Senator TAMBLING (10.18 p.m.) —Mr Acting Deputy President, can I bring you back to the motion before the chair, which reads:

  That the Senate—


  (i) the total lack of consideration and understanding of the rural sector demonstrated in the 1993-94 Budget, and

(ii) that the increases in taxes and charges will have devastating effects on the people in rural and regional Australia; and

(b)condemns the Keating Labor Government for their continuing and callous disregard for this vital sector of the Australian economy.

In 30 minutes of debate Senator Burns did not address the issues of that motion. Instead, he implied and he insinuated that the people of rural and regional Australia were not highly educated—that they were uneducated.

  I draw Senator Burns's attention to a statement made by one of his Labor mates in the House of Representatives earlier today. He referred to another person in that chamber being unduly affected by unintended consequences. That is not much different from the attitude and the style shown by Senator Burns. He came in here tonight and spoke for 30 minutes, and for about 27 of those 30 minutes he read from various reports that he has been a party to. All he could do was read the scripted words of some researcher.

  Why did Senator Burns not address the response to the report of the Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs? It is because the government has not yet made a response. There has been no response to that report. The honourable senator has not addressed the issues of any government response; they were issues and initiatives put forward. Why did he not get to the responses? Why did he not detail those issues in the budget that had resulted from those reports? He could not because they are not there. They are totally missing from that particular area.

  Senator Burns admits to his biases towards the waterfront. They are with the trade unions, but they are not with the people of rural and regional Australia. I certainly am proud to say that I have a bias for those people who contribute to the export earning capacity of Australia.

Senator Patterson —They produce the wealth of Australia and they take risks.

Senator TAMBLING —They do produce the wealth. They do employ and provide jobs for the trade unionists on Senator Burns's wharf and in other areas. This government has had to expand RAS because of the deteriorating economic circumstances and provide additional counselling services. Why do they have to be provided? It is only because of the economic vandalism of this Labor government and the results this has produced throughout rural and regional Australia. Care and compassion is not evident anywhere in what the Labor Party is doing.

  Let me refer to the three very important industries that underpin rural and remote Australia. The first is the essential farming of Australia. Whether it be the wool, wheat, beef, fishing or pearling industries of Australia, every one of those is going to be faced with unintended—Senator Burns would argue—consequences from this budget. They will send their costs skyrocketing; they will affect all of those industries, all of those businesses.

  What about the mining industry which underpins rural and remote Australia and the people who are employed in mines throughout Australia? Nothing the Labor Party is doing will assist those people. What about tourism, one of the exciting and very vital industries in Australia today? Tourism underpins remote and rural Australia, and yet this 1993 federal Labor Party budget will send costs skyrocketing. This budget will affect the industry of tourism so drastically that we will need more counselling services. We are going to need more underpinning of rural adjustment-type schemes; we are going to need more of this social nipple, special engineering that we have to have.

  Senator Brownhill's motion refers very properly to the effects on people in rural and remote parts of Australia. Senator Burns does not refer to the people; he refers to the `human beings' throughout rural and remote Australia. What about the elderly who live in rural and remote Australia? What about the costs of services to the elderly such as Meals on Wheels and other essential services, for example the cost of their electricity, rates and transportation? The costs to the elderly are going to skyrocket.

  What about women in rural and remote Australia? What about the women who underpin so much of what happens throughout Australia? We hear about a new child-care allowance; but it is to replace the dependent spouse rebate which is linked to the zone rebate and provides additional services. The families who are now going to lose the dependent spouse rebate are going to lose the consequential deductions that they get from their zone rebates. Women are going to be worse off because this Labor government is just fiddling the books and sticking in different, new schemes that it thinks are good. They are just words to tout in an attempt to get to different interest groups. What about the children of rural and remote Australia? What about their education, child care, and the cost of transport in getting them to and from school throughout rural and remote Australia?

  We also have to look very carefully at what this budget is doing to the disadvantaged throughout the rural and remote parts of Australia: the disabled people, the people with mental illness—more of them, unfortunately, because of the economic vandalism of the Labor government. What about the Aborigines of Australia? The consequences of this budget will force up the costs in every Aboriginal community.

  These consequences will force up the costs in the nursing homes, in all of the mental hospitals, for all the services. The government has been saying that its dream is to have more disabled people working in open employment. Where is the opportunity for any of those people to participate in open employment when the government itself admits that it is doing nothing for unemployment; that it is doing nothing to create jobs? There will be no additional opportunities for disabled people to participate and the government's response therefore will be that the consequential flows to those parts of the budget are going to be very hard.

  This budget is a disgrace. Senator Burns's contribution tonight was to sit back and read scripts that other researchers have written for other reports suggesting government action which his own party did not even pick up. Why did he not come in here and list all of those recommendations and then list alongside them which ones had been picked up?

  There has not even been a government response to the report in question. Just because he had his name on the front of the report as the chairman, Senator Burns thinks it should go down in history as the Burns report. We ought to burn the damn thing because it did not have any effect on this year's budget. Senator Burns has to answer to all of those people throughout rural and remote Australia who he thinks are uneducated. Those people have been on the land for all of this century. They have contributed to the—

Senator Burns —They weren't 40 years ago.

Senator TAMBLING —They were not what 40 years ago?

Senator Burns —Very well educated; the average person on the land.

Senator TAMBLING —That is not what Senator Burns said in his speech. He accused them of being uneducated. Senator Burns is the uneducated person in this debate. He does not understand the contribution to the economy by the rural sector, the mining sector and the tourism sector and the very great contributions of all of the people in those particular areas. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

  Leave granted; debate adjourned.