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Thursday, 15 May 1980
Page: 2287

Senator MULVIHILL (New South Wales) -by leave- I will confine my remarks to the middle paragraph on page 2 of" the printed statement to which Senator Jessop, the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Science and the Environment, has already referred. There is a rather bland acceptance of the fact that a State has the power of veto. I think that the root cause of this matter can be likened to the Security Council of the United Nations which is regarded as a pathetic instrument in its efforts for world peace. One power can usually apply a veto on one of the member nations. Senator Jessop referred to the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. Senator Clem Ridley, who is no longer a member of this chamber, expressed the view to me a couple of years ago that he hoped that in the next five years a different attitude would be adopted on this matter. I share the concern of all honourable senators that this little compartmentalisation gives the current River Murray Commission false hopes.

As we all profess to be Australians, it is depressing to me to note the distrust in this area. It is as though one State or its minions are swindling water rights off another State. We know that that is not a fact, but I believe that there should be a more decisive attitude. It seems a regrettable characteristic of Australians that a lot of Australia's great national feats seem to be spawned out of World War I and World War II. The further we get away from a national emergency the more these insular attitudes appear. I appeal to the Minister for National Development and Energy (Senator Carrick) to suggest to all the States- perhaps in an indirect way at a Premiers Conference- that if they want governments to be more helpful in some ways they have to subordinate their State sovereignty to get the concept of a real commission such as the Committee report visualises.

Senator CARRICK(New South WalesMinister for National Development and Energy)- by leave- It is the hope of the Government that the agreement may be finalised in the Budget session. We will work towards that.

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