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Tuesday, 1 November 1983
Page: 2112

Mr WEST (Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs)(4.55) —in reply -We have just heard from the honourable members for Denison (Mr Hodgman) and the right honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair) the greatest load of hyprocritical hogwash with which I have ever been insulted. Today I have put down a statement about the achievements of the Government in a sincere attempt to inform the House of our immigration intake policies, our legislation and our ethnic affairs policies. If members of the Opposition would only bother to look at the attachments I have tabled today they would see that we have sincerely attempted to provide information to honourable members about our immigration program for the next 12 months and the way in which it will operate, our problems with the fringe areas such as working holidays and what we are doing with regard to private overseas students. I have set down the whole range of new initiatives under our ethnic affairs policy, such as the migrant education program, our attempts to institute teacher permanency, the provision of more money to the States for interpreter translating services, the implementation of courses in industry, the provision of more funds for migrant resource centres and the implementation of another 60 grants-in-aid.

I can tell members of the Opposition this: The migrant communities of Australia will watch carefully how we implement our policies. They are not interested in the Opposition's hogwash about our attempting to whip up racial hatred between British subjects and non-English speaking people. I was misguided; I was under the impression that the Opposition would support me in my attempts to remove discrimination from all the legislation which applies to my portfolio in my attempts to implement mainstream policies to improve the services that are available to migrants and to inform the migrant communities of Australia about the policies and the programs that are available so that they do not miss out on their entitlements. That is exactly what we are trying to do and I make no apology for it.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Les Johnson) —Order! The two honourable gentlemen on my left who are interjecting have already addressed the House on this question. I ask them now to pay some courtesy to the succeeding speaker.

Mr WEST —Mr Deputy Speaker, I do not want to overreact to their nonsense. We have put down in the statement exactly what we are doing. The attachments spell out exactly where we stand with regard to the migration program and ethnic affairs program initiatives that we have taken. Frankly, I am appalled at the way in which the Opposition has carried on today. I am informed by senior officers in my Department that there is absolutely nothing wrong in a Minister's attempting to inform the people of Australia of our policies.

Mr Sinclair —'Labor's policies in action'. You are joking.

Mr WEST —In case the right honourable members does not know, we are a Labor Government. We are certainly not a Liberal-National Party coalition Government. The people of Australia are damn pleased that they have a Labor Government and that they are not governed by the mob opposite. It is perfectly obvious that members of the Opposition are attempting to revert to their old tricks. They will find out that we on this side of the House are a lot tougher and more determined than they are. They can go on with their nonsense until the cows come home. They will get nowhere.

Mr Sinclair —We will see what the Australian Electoral Officer says about it.

Mr WEST —Mr Deputy Speaker, I suggest that if we cannot control this mob of orang-utans you send them back to Taronga Park where they belong.

Mr Howard —You are not doing very well.

Mr WEST —I am doing a damn sight better than the honourable member is.

Mr Howard —You are not doing very well, chum.

Mr WEST —I am certainly doing a lot better than the honourable member is.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Les Johnson) —Order! The Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party is not doing very well in incessantly interjecting. I ask him to come to order.

Mr WEST —I put this in all sincerity before the House. I understand that what has happened is not a precedent.

Mr Carlton —You could be in great sincerity and still be wrong, you know.

Mr WEST —This is the position. I have been informed by senior members of my Department that there is no reason--

Mr MacKellar —You said that too.

Mr WEST —If the honourable member will only listen. I have been informed that there is no reason why a government should not inform the people of Australia of what it is doing. I make no apologies for informing them.

Mr Howard —What about the cover?

Mr WEST —As far as the cover is concerned, I did not authorise the distribution of the cover in this House.

Mr Howard —You didn't?

Mr WEST —No, I did not authorise the distribution of the cover in this House. I can only say that the Opposition is being very tough and hard on people who may have made a genuine mistake in relation to sending material that obviously should have been kept and handled through the Department. That is the position and I have nothing further to say on the matter. I move:

That the question be now put.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Hodgman's amendment) stand part of the question.