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Thursday, 8 September 1983
Page: 569

Mr GAYLER —Is the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs aware that Commonwealth funds are being used by the Director of the Department of Aboriginal and Islanders Advancement in Queensland, Mr Killoran, to visit Aboriginal and islander communities in Queensland for purely political purposes in seeking endorsement for him as a candidate to run in forthcoming Queensland elections.

Mr HOLDING —I thank the honourable member for his question. Unfortunately we have been advised through organisations and Aboriginal leaders in Queensland that Mr Killoran has been visiting communities purporting to represent the outgoing Minister for Northern Development and Aboriginal and Island Affairs, Mr Val Bird , and that during the course of these visits--

Mr Sinclair —Tell us about your superannuation, Clyde.

Mr HOLDING —The right honourable member will have to use his gaol voice. I cannot quite hear what he is saying. We have been advised that during the course of these visits Mr Killoran has been canvassing votes amongst Aboriginal leaders and communities on the basis of inquiring whether they would support him if he were to stand for election as an endorsed candidate of the National Party. If Mr Killoran wants to stand for election to the Queensland Parliament, I would be the first to endorse his right to do so; but I would suggest that the appropriate course of action for him to follow is to stand down from his position and seek the endorsement of his party.

Opposition members interjecting-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I think that the members of the Opposition front bench could set a better example to the House. They have been repeatedly interjecting.

Mr HOLDING —I am not able to identify the funds that are being used for this visit as being Commonwealth funds, but I am able to say that the funds being applied by the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth on behalf of what is still the most dispossessed group of people in Australian society are subject to scandalous abuse if they are being used in the way suggested. I would invite the loudmouthed Deputy Leader of the National Party to condemn this scandalous abuse of funds. I invite him so to do, because I believe that this is a mater which ought to be repudiated by the Premier of Queensland. It is a matter which will be vigorously pursued on my behalf with Mr Bird in order that the strength of this allegation is established one way or another and to see that this kind of abuse of public moneys--

Mr McVeigh —I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Does the Minister know that the Premier of Queensland has no parliamentary superannuation fund membership?

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Darling Downs knows that that is not a point of order. The House can take action against honourable members raising such matters in a frivolous way.

Mr HOLDING —I simply say to the honourable member for Darling Downs that I would have thought that every member of this Parliament would stand prepared to disabuse themselves of this allegation. It brings no credit to Mr Killoran, to the Government of Queensland, or to the National Party-although I suspect that members of that party have long ago abandoned any pretence of credibility.