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Tuesday, 26 February 1980
Page: 367

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

Mr MARTIN - Mr Deputy Speaker.I still maintain that what I said earlier is true. This is a another snide move by the Government to belt the communist can. I am opposed to this. I am opposed to the postponement of the consideration of the important legislation which is listed on the Notice Paper- the Commonwealth Grants Commission Amendment Bill and the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Amendment Bill. They are important pieces of legislation. At 8 o'clock tonight the communist can will be belted once again for political machinery purposes. I oppose this motion.

Mr Donald Cameron (FADDEN, QUEENSLAND) - I raise a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. The matter to be dealt with at 8 o'clock will be raised by the honourable member for Prospect, who is a Labor member.

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

Sitting suspended from 6.1 to 8 p.m.

Mr MARTIN - Before the suspension of the sitting for dinner I stated that I opposed the motion which was moved by the Leader of the House, Mr Viner. He moved that Orders of the Day Nos 3 and 4 be postponed until a later hour this day. Orders of the Day Nos 3 and 4 were two Bills which were set down on the Business Paper to be discussed by this House. They were the Commonwealth Grants Commission Amendment Bill and the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Amendment Bill. What the Government is seeking to do- I oppose this- is to defer discussions on those Bills until some later time, if not this day then maybe tomorrow, depending upon how long it is prepared to allow this other debate, which it wants to bring on, to run. I severely criticise the Government for its timid attempt, if I can call it that, to play politics in a large way in an attempt to discredit the Australian Labor Party which is the Opposition in this House.

Let us look at what happened in this House today. A matter of public importance was brought on by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren). The subject of the urgency motion was to discuss a matter of great importance to the people of Australia; that is, the failure of the Government's policies to prevent a rise in interest rates and the damaging effect a rise will have on low and middle income earners repaying home loans and on an unstable housing industry. What more important subject could we have for discussion in this House than a matter which will affect the ordinary people of Australia who are facing that real possibility of an increase in their housing repayments? It is fairly clear cut that there will be an increase in housing loan interest. Today the Government refused to allow this motion to be discussed. Why did it do that? What does it fear in having a motion discussed which will highlight the failures of the Government in the realm of housing loan interest rates and the real possibility of the hardship that will be incurred?

I am speaking on principle on this issue. I am speaking as a person who values principle before politics- to be quite blunt about it- and I have suffered for it. I do not mind suffering for putting principle before politics because I refuse to play party politics per se. The principle of the issue that we are discussing here tonight is looking at the motive of the Government in pulling out notice No. 1 12 which is a motion moved by the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman). Quite frankly I agree with the terms of the motion. What is the motive of the Government in deciding to allow the motion to be discussed, which was moved by an Australian Labor Party member, and then joining with it a report of the Sub-committee of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence on Human Rights in the Soviet Union? What is the motive of the Government in suddenly bringing out of the hat notice No. 1 12 on the General Business Notice Paper? The honourable member for Prospect, who is one of my colleagues and a very good member of this Parliament- a man whom I intensely admire- gave notice of it only on 19 February 1980. What is the motive of the Government?

The Government controls the business of this House. The Opposition does not control the business of the House; the Government controls it. What is the motive of the Government in suddenly deciding that it will allow the motion moved by the honourable member for Prospect to be discussed? He gave notice of his intention only on 19 February 1980. Notice of the first Notice of Motion, which was moved by a Liberal Party member, was given on 28 February 1978. Has the Government suddenly become magnanimous and bighearted in wanting to help the Labor Party, the Opposition? That is certainly not so on its form that I have seen in the 10 years that I have been a member of this Parliament and certainly not on its form that I have seen even as late as today.

Mr Leo McLeay (GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They are phoneys.

Mr MARTIN - The honourable member for Grayndler said: 'They are phoneys'. They are phoneys. Let us look at this situation realistically. We had a shambles at Question Time today. The shambles was caused by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) saying that members of the Australian Labor Party were apologists for the Soviet Union. I did not take exception to that because there was such a shemozzle going on in this House today at Question Time that the time was not opportune. But I take exception now to the suggestion that the members of the Labor Party are apologists for the Soviet Union's invasion- I call it invasion- of Afghanistan. Nothing could be further from the truth than to say that members of the Australian Labor Party are apologists for the Soviet Union. We roundly condemned the Soviet Union last week. It was decided purely by numbers as to which motion went through in this House.

I doubt the sincerity of the Government in allowing this motion of the honourable member for Prospect to come up for discussion tonight except for one reason. The Government will attempt to belt the guts out of the Australian Labor Party and say once again, as the Prime Minister said today, that the Australian Labor Party is an apologist for the actions of the Soviet Union. The Government and the combaters on the other side will attempt- mark my wordsduring this debate tonight to create the impression in the minds of the people of Australia that the Australian Labor Party is just an offshoot of the Communist Party. We will have the honourable member for St George (Mr Neil) getting up in high dudgeon. He is the greatest combater that we have in this Parliament. He has not been into the House yet but if and when he does come in, if he is allowed to speak, mark my words, the tripe and cant will pour from his lips. I hesitate to say that we, as an Opposition, have fallen into a trap on this matter, but I have the feeling at the back of my mind that, to a certain extent, we will fall into the trap set by the Government even by granting leave for this matter to come on for debate tonight.

I have no truck with the Soviet Union and the way in which it treats its people in its own country or in the other countries which it has invaded such as Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the southern states of Africa and now Afghanistan. I have no truck with what it has done in Africa. Let us- I say this to people on my own side of the Parliament- not fall into the trap of allowing the Government to try to make political capital out of something which should be beyond politics. The way in which the Soviet

Government treats its own people should be beyond pure party politics. Why is the Government allowing it? Is the Government allowing it because it is in trouble? It is in trouble in this country as was shown in Western Australia last Saturday and as was shown in the seat of Castlereagh in New South Wales last Saturday. The Government is in trouble and it is trying to create a diversion. I well remember the great big red arrows on maps, particularly appearing in the Queensland Press in the 1960s and in recent times at the last election showing the path of the Corns coming down to invade Australia. Unfortunately gullible people believe that this is a fact. It is poppycock. It has been used by the Liberal Party from time immemorial. It got Menzies in and it kept Menzies in.

The Prime Minister realises that people are gullible. Unfortunately there are gullible people in this country otherwise we would not have a Liberal-National Country Party in government now. They must be gullible for putting those parties in Government. I counsel caution on allowing the Government an opportunity once again to pour the bucket on the Australian Labor Party. I take exception to what the Government is doing. Honourable members should mark my words when I say that the Government will allow this debate to proceed tonight for as long as it can make political capital out of it. It will then drop it like a hot cake. I oppose the motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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