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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 3130

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - As I have already spoken to the Deputy Government Whip in regard to the time remaining in which to dispose of Government Business I shall make my comments very much to the point. After listening to speeches from members of the Opposition in this debate this afternoon I have reflected on the subjects which they chose to use by way of comparison. Some chose Canada as a country for comparison and others chose other countries just to bolster their stories. Honourable members opposite seem to choose these various countries at various times in making comparisons simply to try to make Australia look worse than other countries. I am sure that if our performances in all fields were to be compared with the various aspects of government in other countries, our country would line up quite well.

The honourable member for Perth (Mr Berinson) spoke this afternoon in the debate and said he supported the proposition. He showed more sense than did most honourable members opposite who spoke in this debate. The speech made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) was possibly one of his worst performances ever. The fact that this afternoon - only a short time ago - he came into the House and altered the terms of his amendment because certain things have been said which showed the original amendment to be unsatisfactory further underlines the fact that the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition on this subject is far from satisfactory. There are one or two points that I wish to make quickly.

Mr Foster - Mr Deputy Speaker, I do not know whether I am in order in taking a point of order at this time.

Mr Giles - You certainly are not.

Mr Foster - I am an honest man and if I am wrong I will damn well say so, which is more than the honourable member will do.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order!I suggest that the honourable member state his point of order.

Mr Foster - I will, if the honourable member will restrain himself for a moment. Much has been said in this House today about agreements between the Leader of the House and his opposite number on the Opposition side and the Party Whips. I had earlier perused the names on the list because I wanted to speak in this debate, but I was prevented from doing so.

Mr Giles - What is the point of order?

Mr Foster - I am coming to it if you would be patient.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I suggest that the honourable member for Sturt state his point of order. This point has been raised previously.

Mr Foster - What point was I going to raise? You do not even know that.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I take it that the point of order being raised by the honourable member is that some speakers who have taken part in the debate were not on the list of speakers. It has been pointed out from the Chair on previous occasions that the Chair exercises no control over agreements that are made between the Leader of the House and his counterpart on the Opposition side or between the Whips. Should any member rise to his feet that member must be given the call by the Chair.

Mr Foster - All right, I will have a go afterwards and see what happens.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - The honourable member for Sturt need not worry very much about his parliamentary pension because after the next election he will be on the waterfront whence he came. As I was saying before that rather trivial interruption by the honourable member for Sturt- (Quorum formed)

As I was saying before the mountain erupted, the Australian Labor Party's amendment suggests that every migrant who comes to Australia should be naturalised before he qualifies for an age pension and that after only 10 years in Australia he should be allowed to leave the country and take his pension with him. I suggest that by the imposition of a naturalisation requirement the Leader of the Opposition is putting a price on Australian nationality - $17 a week, the amount of the present age pension. I know families who have come to this country, the husband of which has decided to become naturalised, but for her own private reasons the wife has been reluctant to do so too quickly, and sometimes many years have passed before she has become naturalised. The Australian Labor Party is suggesting by its amendment that any person who does not choose to become a naturalised Australian should be ineligible for an age pension, a widow's pension or any other pension. As I said before this is discrimination in its worst form, that we in Australia would be sitting in judgment on the private motives of those who may or may not choose to become naturalised.

Earlier today the Leader of the Opposition made a great deal of fuss about our migration policies and the state of the economy in this country being such that we were no longer attracting migrants. J draw to the House's attention Labor Party policy on this question. The Leader of the Opposition has been reported as saying that under Labor 'fewer migrants will come to Australia'. The Leader of the Opposition, who would like to be the nation's Prime Minister, seems to pick up arguments and use them just to suit the discussion of the day. On many occasions in the last couple of years he has said that we must cut migration back. The Government has cut our migrant intake back from 180.000 to 140,000 a year. But now because it is opportune to do so he has cited what the Government has set out purposely to do as an example of why this country is no longer attracting migrants. This is a very unworthy and unfair approach by the Leader of the Opposition, and indeed he certainly sells his country short as does no other man that I have seen in this House. I could say much more, because I have many thousands of migrants, including naturalised migrants, in my electorate, but because it is intended to pass this Bill before dinner I will now allow the Minister to conclude the debate.

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