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Thursday, 20 October 1983
Page: 2062

Mr KEOGH(8.58) —I doubt that honourable members of this House will be aware that on next Saturday a very important event will take place in Queensland . The Queensland State election will be held. It is a very important event, particularly from the point of view of my Party-the Australian Labor Party. There is very little doubt in the minds of any but the most biased of observers that the Australian Labor Party is about to come to power again in Queensland and, in fact, to complete the picture that has been put together in recent years throughout the length and breadth of all of the mainland States of Australia. Today, alone among the mainland States of Australia there remains only one anti- Labor and viciously anti-Labor government-the anti-Labor Government in Queensland that has been performing so disastrously in respect of the consensus effort that has been made by the rest of the mainland States with this Government towards restoring the economy of this country and bringing economic prosperity to the people of Australia again.

The election to which I have referred and which I have suggested is about to re -elect a Labor government in Queensland is a very important election. It is a very important election because the people of Queensland, I am sure, recognise that on this occasion the only party in Queensland-as has been shown in the past history of the State Parliament as far back as the memories I am sure of all electors who will currently be voting in the election next Saturday go-that can hope to form a government in its own right and that can hope to become a party in total control of the Queensland Parliament without dependence on any other party is the Australian Labor Party. That is well recognised. Since 1957 when the Labor Party was last in office-a long time ago-no party in Queensland has been able to form a government in its own right. There has been a series of coalition governments in Queensland over that long period. I stress that because in this critical election campaign it is very important that the people of Queensland, in making their judgment as to which Party they shall vote for on Saturday, are well aware that the alternative that existed in the past of a coalition of non-Labor parties or a Labor government no longer remains. It is important for them to appreciate that and to get that fixed very clearly in their minds when they vote next Saturday. The clear alternative for the 1.4 million electors of Queensland is to vote for the one party that can form a government which can give them the stability of government so vital to enable Queensland to participate in the prosperity now being brought about in this nation by the Hawke Labor Government or to vote for a period of instability under the warring parties, the Liberal Party and the National Party. They are the parties which for so long have held together in a coalition but which now have clearly illustrated to the people of Queensland by their very definite attitudes that it will be absolutely unacceptable to either of them to form a coalition after the election should they collectively have sufficient seats. To illustrate that point clearly to honourable members I have many quotations from various newspapers in Queensland. I cannot quote all of them but I will quote one or two of them. The Sunday Sun said:

For Queensland's 1.4 million voters it's a clear message the 26-year National- Liberal Party coalition separation is now terminal.

Today's Courier-Mail in its feature article:

This Bjelke-Petersen era is about over . . .

One way or another Queensland could be about to enter a new political era. The Labor Party is close to power in this State.

. . . .

The election seems certain to bring the Queensland Liberal Party down to a numerically small party . . .

That is the point I want to drive home in the few moments I have to address the House this evening. It is recognised that the Liberal Party will suffer the most at the hands of the electors next Saturday in Queensland. This has been confirmed in conversations I have had with a number of prominent Liberals. It has been confirmed in conversations I have had with Liberal members of parliament who are quite anxious and fearful that they will lose their seats.

Mr McGauran —Name them.

Mr KEOGH —The member for Greenslopes, soon to be an ex-Liberal member, sent to his constituents a letter telling them about the great things that the Liberal Party would do if the people of Queensland were foolish enough to elect it to government in Queensland. Of course, we know that that is impossible, but honourable members should listen to the cringing attitude typical of Liberal Party representatives in the Queensland Parliament. Mr Hewitt, in his letter to his constituents, wrote:

I wanted to explain to a representative cross-section of my electorate the circumstances that led to the breakdown of the Coalition Government.

Talking about the Liberal Party, he said:

If we have been remiss at all, it is our failure at identifying our separate and distinct achievements.

Of course, in presenting its policy and in its advertising the Liberal Party is now saying to the people of Queensland: 'Believe us. We have been there for 26 years and not once in that time have we been able to get the National Party to accept or to implement any of our policies. Not once in the long history of coalition have we been able to bring into legislative form any of our policies. But now we honestly promise people of Queensland that if they vote for enough of our candidates and elect us to government in Queensland we will do all of those things which we believe should have been done but which we have not been able to do because those nasty people in the National Party led by Joh Bjelke-Petersn have not allowed us to do them'. I am sure the Liberal Party realises that the people of Queensland cannot put any trust in that sort of party that has cowed down to the Nationals over a long period. It cannot expect the people to put it into government in Queensland.

The National Party recognises that it cannot win in its own right. The only member of the National Party who still tries to beat a tune about forming a government in his own right is the Premier of Queensland. He is not even supported by his own Administration. If one listens to him making these statements one is well aware from the uncertainty of his voice that he truly knows that his Party cannot win sufficient seats to form a government in Queensland. Let us look a little further at what Mr Hewitt says about the National Party in his letter to people in his electorate. He said:

The National Party has trenchantly refused to consider this.

That is, the benefits of Liberal Party policies. He says that by a strange turn of fate, at a meeting of the joint Government parties a split came about and a few people in the Liberal Party decided that they had no other direction but to break adrift from the National Party which had brought them to the stage at which they had virtually ceased to exist as a separate political party with any credibility. My final point is that the one thing the people in Queensland must consider above all else next Saturday is which party can give Queensland that stability of government that is so vital and necessary to provide the consensus needed to lead it, with this Government, towards economic recovery.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Les Johnson) -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.