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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3216

Mr GOODLUCK(8.51) —I have many grievances. I find it very hard to air them all in this place but I wish to talk about a couple tonight. Firstly, I refer to the sheer hypocrisy of the Australian Labor Party in relation to the assets test. I know that members of the Labor Party are fairly clever and fairly good at being reported in the media and at working the media to their advantage. They are very sophisticated and they seem to be able to do so quite easily. I am not in the habit of knocking people, as honourable members know, or of making character assassinations; I just give people one straight jab. Last week Senator Coates attended a seminar on social security in Huonville in my electorate.

Mr Cohen —It is his electorate too.

Mr GOODLUCK —Yes, it is part of his electorate but one would not know it. Huonville is the heart of the apple industry. After the seminar Senator Coates released a Press statement. He said that Mr Fraser was responsible for the introduction of the assets test. When I read it I could not believe it, firstly, because of its sheer hypocrisy, and, secondly, I could not believe that a senator would use an apolitical organisation such as the Department of Social Security to put out a Press release. I tried to have a Press release put in the Mercury but it was not published for some unknown reason. Today I picked up the Mercury again. I like to read the Mercury from front to back because my name might be mentioned in it somewhere. Goodluck is reported a lot. In today's Mercury, Paul Marsden, a representative of the pensioners union in Tasmania, said that the pensioners-plural-agree with the assets test. What a sheer turnaround that was. I have nothing against Mr Marsden. He is not a bad fellow who is trying to do a job, representing the pensioners, with very little money, et cetera. We have to be fair about it, but he said pensioners-plural-agree with the assets test. They do not agree with it. My colleagues on the opposite side of the chamber know that the pensioners do not agree with it. The pensioners in New South Wales do not agree with it. Mr Wran does not agree with it.

I do not want to get stuck into Senator Grimes but I refer to a very fine speech by Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle on 9 May 1979. I would like everybody to listen to this. Where is the honourable member for Lowe (Mr Maher)? He should come into the chamber tonight. He won the Lowe by-election because of what Sir Phillip Lynch said about the reintroduction of an assets test for pensioners over 70 years of age. That statement resulted in our being labelled penny- pinching, as being the worst people in the world and being mean and terrible towards the pensioners. But that is all forgotten now and the honourable member for Lowe is starting to get a bit of a rub-off in Sydney because his constituents have homes worth $120,000 and they are starting to complain. But he was elected. He strutted the streets of Lowe during the last election saying: 'I am for the pensioners, et cetera. The honourable member is not a bad fellow. He was elected, but he was elected on that basis. One has to face the music. My colleagues and I face the music every day. The honourable member for Lowe went around saying: 'We would not introduce such a test. That terrible Sir Phillip Lynch'. As a consequence, he was elected. I return to Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle's speech. I would like everyone to listen intently because this is terribly important. Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle said on 9 May 1979:

Senator Grimes speculated about the concern that those who are over 70 may have with regard to future increases in their pension. Knowing they have a basic free of income test pension at over 70 . . .

Rightly, those over 70 should receive a free of income test pension. The trouble is that many of these young fellows in this Parliament do not know what it is like to be old, to be 70 or over. They do not understand that as soon as we start to talk about means testing and assets the pensioners get extremely worried. Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle continued:

Knowing they have a basic free of income test pension at over 70 at the standard rate-that was the rate before the increases of last year-they are probably not as concerned about that aspect. They know that they have that regardless of their income. Pensioners must be concerned to know that it is the policy of the Australian Labor Party to introduce a means test on the over 70 pensions.

Senator Grimes said 'Nonsense!' That is what he said on 9 May 1979.

I know that Australia has an aging population and I know that we have to look after our elderly. I know that we have to do it in a respectable way but it is the way that honourable members opposite go about it that I object to. I have a very good memory. When I was involved in the half-yearly indexation I was scorned because I had a point of view about our being mean, et cetera. The pensioners, including Mr Marsden and the Tasmanian pensioners union said that half-yearly indexation should be reintroduced. Anybody who talked about assets testing and means testing was considered to be worst, most contemptible person. When we get back into government we should learn by what the Labor Party has done. We should get involved with the media, we should get involved in social security and we should put people in the right places to say the right things at the right time. Honourable members opposite do it and when we are in a fight we have to fight just as hard as the other person. That is what is wrong with us. We do not fight hard enough. Honourable members opposite fought us on the floor of the House, if honourable members remember rightly, and we lost. But now the boot is on the other foot and honourable members opposite are starting to get worried about it. Anyway, we will win out in the long run.

The other matter to which I refer tonight relates to Mr Justice Michael Kirby. I would not say anything in this House that I would not say outside but I get a little sick of people trying to ram down my throat what they believe the family structure should be and certain sex information about children, et cetera. It is about time we all started to question it. Today I placed on the Notice Paper some very important questions which I am quite prepared to ask outside.

Mr Cohen —You are sex obsessed, that is the problem with you. You ought to see a psychiatrist. You have a real problem.

Mr GOODLUCK —No, I am not sexist. The Notice Paper reads:

Mr Goodluck: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General- Has the Attorney-General's attention been drawn to comments allegedly made by the chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission, Mr Justice Michael Kirby, reported in The Australian on 11 November 1983, (a) concerning the question of whether children aged 10 having sex together should be legally and socially recognised as a matter of genuine community debate and (b) that a survey has shown that 22% of children aged between 11 and 14 engage in regular sexual activity.

We all know that it is rot, yet we allow this fellow to say those sorts of things and we do not question it. I say to honourable members that we should question those sorts of things because people are starting to think it is the norm. People are starting to think that 22 per cent of children have those sorts of relations. We know that it is not true, yet this fellow was painted to me as an authority in a debate with Wendy McCarthy.

Mr Hicks —How does he know?

Mr GOODLUCK —Yes, how does he know? He does not know. Yet all over Australia--

Mr Barry Jones —How do you know it is not true?

Mr GOODLUCK —Most of us know that it is not true, yet this fellow is reported in every newspaper in Australia and has his views made known.

Mr Steedman —Is that what you are worried about? You get as much publicity as you want.

Mr GOODLUCK —I get just as much publicity as he, but in a different way. What I say is valid. My question continues:

Has the Attorney-General's attention been drawn to alleged comments by Justice Kirby when he launched a book edited by Mrs Wendy McCarthy teaching about sex; if so, does he agree with those comments.

When Mr Justice Kirby launched the book--

Mr Cohen —Have you ever met Mrs McCarthy?

Mr GOODLUCK —I do not want to meet the lady. I have a point of view. She has a point of view. But she is not expressing the view of the people that I represent . Therefore, I believe I had a right to question her. I said that I did not agree with that book. So I had the book analysed by several people.

Mr Barry Jones —Somebody who could read?

Mr GOODLUCK —Yes. The Minister organised today an Australian enterprise workshop . The Minister is always throwing mud at Tasmania. Does he know that Tasmania won it? There is the man who won it, Mr Michael Greig. We won. We are as smart as the Minister, and he should remember that.