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Tuesday, 30 April 1968

Mr CALDER (Northern Territory) - Mr Deputy Speaker-

Mr Jeff Bate - I have not finished my remarks, Sir.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member has resumed his seat and I gave the call to the honourable member for the Northern Territory.

Dr Patterson - I rise on a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. The honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) was on his feet.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! He was not. I have called the honourable member for the Northern Territory and he has the floor.

Mr Daly - I rise on a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. At the time I rose, the honourable member for Macarthur said he had not finished his speech, and he has just confirmed that he had not finished.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! There is no substance in the point of order.

Mr Daly - As a man of courtesy, I did not wish to interrupt the honourable member. Consequently, I was slow to rise.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. There is no substance in the point of order. I again call the honourable member for the Northern Territory. The honourable member for Macarthur will resume his seat.

Mr Jeff Bate - I will not resume my seat.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. For the final time, I warn him.

Dr Patterson - 1 would like to move that the honourable member for Macarthur be given an extension of time.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The motion would be out of order. I have warned the honourable member for Macarthur and he has now resumed his seat. I call the honourable member for the Northern Territory.

Mr Jeff Bate - I give notice that I will continue my remarks at the Committee stage.


Mr CALDER - I would like to thank the honourable member for Macarthur for his encouraging remarks to me on behalf of the Government and for the support he gave to me with regard to this Bill. The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) seemed to be speaking more in favour of his private member's Bill for the replacement of elected members on the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory than in support of this Bill. He must remember that this principle of full voting rights was on my platform when I was elected, and still is on it. In regard to his remarks about the Aboriginals, I suggest that he visit the places where they are and have a closer look at the position instead of relying on opinions that obviously he has read in papers written by people who do not know what they are talking about.

I thank the honourable member for his recognition of my speech on the AddressinReply to the Governor-General's Speech. I thought my contribution was quite good and I am very pleased to see that the honourable member also thinks so. I agree that the remarks that he read from my speech were very relevant. I had not intended to mention my predecessor as member for the Northern Territory, but the honourable member for Dawson has forced me to do so. I am forced to say that during the 17 years for which a member of the Australian Labor Party represented the Northern Territory nothing was done.

Dr Patterson - Which government was in office for 17 years?

Mr CALDER - I admit that Labor was representing the Territory for that period. I support the Bill and congratulate the Government on taking this forward step. I will be charitable in admitting that this representation has been fought for by the Nelsons - Harold and Jock, whom I know personally - and others, including me. I have been fighting for it continuously. It was part of my platform, as was the demand for full voting rights. I have been assisted by all sections of the community of the Northern Territory. Let me give an example of the assistance I have received. On 27th May last year, referendum day, we organised a protest march in Alice Springs from what is now the Civic Centre to what would have been the polling booth had we the right to vote. All sections of the community attended this march - Liberal thinkers, church men and Aboriginals. I mink even the Labor representative for Alice Springs was there. Indeed there were 200 or 300 people present and the event was covered by television. Hundreds of placards were on show and a pipe band led us down the street. We were protesting about having no vote in Parliament and no vote at referendums. Now we have a vote here, and I hope that shortly we shall have the right to vote at referendums.

In my maiden speech I demanded full voting rights for the member for the Northern Territory. I demanded also Senate representation. On that very day the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) gave notice of a private member's bill to remove the restriction on voting rights in the Northern Territory. This was a cheap, political gimmick to embarrass the Government and me. It was sheer hypocrisy and was quite typical of the Leader of the Opposition. Now that the Government has recognised the worth and potential wealth of the Northern Territory, it has granted full voting rights to the representative for the area.

Mr Armstrong - It has recognised the worth of its member too.

Mr CALDER - Yes, and of its member. On behalf of all genuine citizens of the Northern Territory I thank the Government. These people are overjoyed and have congratulated me on the efforts that have been made on their behalf. Mind you, there were quite a few people whom one would have expected to offer congratulations but who did not. Only one member of the Northern Territory Legislative Council did. That is why I said 'genuine citizens of the Northern Territory'. Anyhow, full voting rights having been achieved, what has the Leader of the Opposition done? He has used a similar political gimmick to the one be employed previously. Out of sheer pique, hypocritically he has given notice of another private member's bill, having been forestalled with his previous one. What does he now seek? He now wants the Northern Territory to have representation in the Senate. In my maiden speech I made a plea for it, but now the Leader of the Opposition says that the Territory must have Senate representation and he has given notice of a Bill to provide for such representation. Does he see this as a round about way of increasing numbers in the Senate? Is he* genuine? Is he sincere?

Mr Nixon - Ask Jim Cairns.

Mr CALDER - Ask the honourable member for Yarra by all means, and many others who sit behind the Leader of the Opposition. I certainly doubt his sincerity. In spite of stated Labor policy at both State and Federal levels, for abolition of upper houses, the Leader of the Opposition has given notice of a Bill to increase the size of the Senate. Why did he take this action? He did it to embarrass the Government and the member for the Northern Territory. Is he giving his money another run? He is seeking to have an each-way bet. This action is typical of the Leader of the Opposition; it is yet another example of sheer hypocritical insincerity.

We should concentrate on the development of the north, not on playing politics at its expense. Much has been done by the Government in the Northern Territory. For example Darwin has been given some fine new city buildings, schools and roads. Indeed the whole city is much improved on what it was when I first saw it more than 20 years ago. Beef roads have opened up a new era in primary production. Cattle come from over by the Ord into Katherine on the beef roads and up to the Darwin meat works. Beef production in the area has been transformed. There is confidence in the air. Why has this happened? It has happened because the Government has pursued its beef road policy. Agriculture in the Territory is about to boom following the introduction of new grasses and seeds and other measures sponsored by the Government. Mining has been greatly assisted by the road and rail facilities and by loading facilities in the Port of Darwin. In regard to Aboriginal affairs we are fortunate to have an Aboriginal council and a new Minister with a different outlook. All these things have been done by the Government for the Northern Territory. This is my answer to the honourable member for Dawson, who has stated that nothing has been done.

We must make better, use of the tremendous potential of this part of Australia. Its wealth must be harnessed and used to good effect to help Australia take her rightful place as a leader in the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas. Let us put the productive capacity of the north to the best possible use so that we. may assist our neighbours. I shall run through a few of the many things that are needed urgently. The honourable member for Dawson mentioned a number of the things that I said needed to be done during my speech on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I still say they should be done, although I realise that many of them are being considered by the Government. For instance, it is essential to expand the Port' of Darwin to handle the increasing flow of imports and exports. After all, the north is growing and it will give Australia a better chance to become a leader in this region. Today I asked a question in this House about making the Port Augusta to Alice Springs railway serviceable in any weather. The Darwin to Alice Springs road can cause quite some bother. The Port Augusta to Alice Springs road needs sealing. Furthermore, there is scope for improvement in tertiary education in the Northern Territory. I am certain that the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) will give this matter very serious consideration. In fact, I think when he was in the Northern Territory that he mentioned to me that he would look at the possibility of establishing a technical school in this area. Also, work is required to be carried out on the Katherine school and the Katherine hospital. The Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) was in the Northern Territory recently. One very fine wing has been built on the Katherine hospital, but the rest of the hospital requires attention. Honourable members opposite cannot say (hat nothing has been done. The Northern Territory is developing very fast and a strong programme is needed to keep pace with this development.

The honourable member for Dawson spent most of his time dealing with the Legislative Council. As I have always said, I am in favour of reform of the Legislative Council. Previously I have said that the nominated members of the Council should be replaced by elected members. These members have said this themselves. The honourable member for Dawson and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) have not come up with anything new. They are jumping on the band wagon by merely repeating what people in the Northern Territory have been saying for a long time. The only difference is that the honourable member for Dawson and the Leader of the Opposition are saying these things down here, but I live in the Northern Territory and I have been saying these things in the Northern Territory. Why does not the honourable member for Dawson say something about his own electorate? He would probably do better if he did so. The members of the Legislative Council are entitled to a reasonable return for their efforts. There needs to be some redistribution. This will come in time.

I shall now deal with some of the more urgent matters. Mataranka requires a water supply, electricity and normal facilities. As the town grows all of these facilities will be provided. Tennant Creek requires an adequate water supply. This will be provided. At the Kelly Well project south of Tennant Creek they have tapped quite a sufficient supply of water which is now being pumped into the town, but the project needs another pump. These things will be provided in good time. Schools must be built to keep pace with the population. Beef and mining roads should continue to be constructed, and pastoral roads, which in the past have been graded flat and have finished up as creeks, should be graded with a camber so that the water runs off them. This is the type of project that must be carried out in the Northern Territory. The tourist industry must be developed. I turn now to the question of land reform.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. J. Aston)Order!I suggest that the honourable member come back to the contents of the Bill. It is a very narrow Bill, and although the statements of the honourable member may be most interesting he is getting wide of the Bill.

Mr CALDER - Mr Speaker, I was referring to these matters in order to show that this type of development in the Northern Territory is a great deal more important than the matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition, namely, the need for senators in the Northern Territory. That is why I have referred to these matters. There are a few more-

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