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Thursday, 25 November 1993
Page: 3625

Senator BOSWELL (Leader of the National Party of Australia) —by leave—I listened very closely to Senator Crowley's explanation of why the disallowance motion should be brought on now and not on 8 December, as was the sitting date prescribed by the notice of motion. Her explanation seemed to me to be that the community was confused and that the answer to that confusion would be to race this disallowance motion through in the midst of that confusion, not giving the people some explanation of what is in these accreditation principles. She is saying, `People can remain confused, but we are going to get this off the agenda because it is hurting us'. That is the real reason the government is trying to get this up and off the political agenda.

  The thousands of parents and grandparents who are generally concerned about their grandchildren's childhood and their children's childhood remain confused, and the government just wants to block it—not give them any chance of an explanation, but just get it through, make it law and force these accreditation principles onto the community.

  Ros Kelly and Senator Crowley have become the Calamity Jane sisters of the government, and they are causing the government terrible embarrassment. They are carrying on like the wreckers that they are. They have no political balance in this whatsoever.

  I can read black and white, and it is very clear to me when something says `unsatisfactory'. It says that it is unsatisfactory for staff to provide stereotype toys such as trains, tip-trucks and bulldozers for boys, and dolls and tea sets for girls. One does not have to be a Rhodes scholar or even have a secondary education to understand that to do those things is unsatisfactory and, therefore, if they are done, there will not be accreditation.

  I turn to Christmas carols. Senator Herron is a professional, a doctor, and he has got a very high reputation in Queensland as a surgeon. He is a man of immense integrity and he has a large family. He says that these principles and these guidelines remove the right to play Christmas carols continually, or whatever it is, in child-care centres, and his integrity can never be impugned.

Senator Crowley —You will note he has not said that.

Senator BOSWELL —Senator Crowley will know that; she is a fellow doctor. She knows the reputation of this man and she cannot ever undermine that reputation. It is okay for Senator Crowley to have a go at the National Party. We do not mind. We are the defenders—with the Liberal Party—of the families of this nation. It is the Labor Party that wants to bring in some social engineering structure. And, if people are confused, it is the Labor Party's fault that they are confused. I am not confused because I can read. I can read black and white. The guidelines say that it is unsatisfactory to give little boys' types of toys to little boys and little girls' types of toys to little girls.

  The Labor Party has got to the very heart of this nation and it is no wonder there is an eruption. The childhood of our children is sacrosanct. All parents, be they Liberal, Labor, National or Democrat, would agree with that. It goes right over the whole political spectrum. They do not want their children to be socially stereotyped. Senator Crowley has not come up with an excuse. She just wants to get this off the agenda so that she can save the government some embarrassment. It is about time that she let the people out there circulate these things and understand them. They will not be confused; they will be outraged.