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Thursday, 7 October 1971
Page: 2074

Mr FOSTER (Sturt) - I was not due to speak in this debate until about 9.20 tonight, so perhaps I will not be able to deliver the type of speech that I had intended to deliver. However, I have heard sufficient to realise that we have been listening to nothing more than a great pack of hypocrites. We heard this afternoon-

Mr Turnbull - I raise a point of order. The term 'a pack of hypocrites' is unparliamentary. I ask that it be withdrawn.


This matter has been raised in this chamber on several occasions, and it has been rule that unless an honourable member is referring to a particular member it is is order.

Mr FOSTER - Thank you, Mr Deputy Chairman. If I had called the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) a hypocrite I would have been out of order, so I will not do that. The first thing that comes to my mind is the type of contribution that has been made in this chamber in the last hour or so relative to the imposition of the wine tax. The honourable member for Murray (Mr Lloyd) got up and said that the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) was going to do something about it. Let us examine the position to see what amount of prodding had to be given to the honourable member for Angas before what the Opposition had said about this measure at approximately this time last year got through to his head. A headline in the Adelaide 'Sunday Mail' of 20th March this year stated: 'MHRs told: Act over wine tax'. It was virtually telling the honourable member for Angas and his colleague, the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes) who is overseas at the present time, to get off their backsides and do something for the industry. A headline in another newspaper stated: 'Crisis looming in wine industry - effect of wine tax'. It appeared in the 'Valley Pioneer', a newspaper which is published in the heart of the electorate of the honourable member for Angas.

Now we see that the honourable member for Angas, only as a political tactic, has placed on the notice paper a motion relating to this wine tax. He purports to show some concern because he is afraid that the Country Party may take his seat from him at the next election. That is why he has placed the motion on the notice paper. The fact is that last year the Government failed to agree to an amendment moved by the Australian Labor Party which referred to the fact that the imposition of this tax would result in the very situation that has occurred in the wine industry. One gets sick and tired of hearing the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin), who has just left this chamber after addressing it, saying as he did in the debate last night, that he was strong, big, hefty, capable and able enough to gel up in this chamber and defy his Party. I have searched through Hansard and I have not been able to find one occasion, on one simple matter, on which the honourable member has failed to vote for the Party to which he belongs. I am asked why do I refer to honourable members opposite as hypocrites. As I said to the honourable member for Murray last night-

Mr Chipp - Have you ever voted against your Party?

Mr FOSTER - No, I have not, but I have not stood up in this Parliament and said that I am going to or that I have done so in the past. That is the difference.

Mr Giles - A point of order, Mr Deputy Chairman. Has the honourable member moved a motion or is he being a hypocrite in this matter?

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Cope) - Order! There is no substance in the point of order.

Mr FOSTER - I should think not. Honourable members opposite will have points of order all right. The honourable member for Mitchell who has just left the chamber had his seat gerrymandered for pre-selec- tion purposes within the framework of the Liberal Party in the last few weeks, changing it to a city electorate from a country electorate so that he would get the block vote from the Liberal Party Executive in New South Wales. Honourable members opposite should not come in here playing the role of honest politicians within their party. They make one sick. Tn the last few minutes available to me I want to refer to the great Country Party and the great white god that led them for years who said initially when he came into this House that he was going to have no truck with the Country Party. I refer to Sir John McEwen. Time after time he told the House what he was going to do about shipping and the tremendous burden it imposes on primary industry.

This morning's Press refers to the experimentation in regard to super bales. It is time that the cockies and the wool growers had a look at this question to ensure that some real benefits will flow to the growers as a result of the introduction of these measures. I have a nice, hefty document here which I had proposed to deal with tonight, but time will not permit me to do so. It was something given in 1966 by that once great gentleman, Sir John McEwen. What he was not going to do for the shippers of Australia is nobody's business. He was going to prevent these freight increases that have gone up by almost 30 per cent in the last 12 months. He was going to see that there were Australian flag ships on the high seas for the benefit of the shippers and for the benefit of the Commonwealth. None of these things has been done. He was going to institute a type of inquiry that would cure the ills. He said that they were a concern of the Government. That is the headline to his speech.

We had reached crisis point way back in 1966, and he was going to cure all the ills of the Government and everybody else, according to what appears under the heading. He also said that shipping services and also the containerisation operations and the benefits that would flow from them were to be completely and absolutely surveyed. He gave the first indication that there would be some rationalisation of shipping. What has the rationalisation of shipping done for the shippers of Australia or for our trade? It has done absolutely nothing. I include the Australian flag ships in some regards. Sir John McEwen said that awareness of the problem was extremely vital. He said that away back in the year 1966, and still the Government has done nothing about it. The other night Government members voted en masse, and by doing so they refused to give any real consideration to the problems of apple growers in Australia.

I see no reason why honourable members from the Government parties should stand up here and criticise the matters that I have just dealt with or purport to support the rural industries - whether they be industries producing apples and pears, wheat, wool or wine - when, by their lack of courage, their lack of common sense or the lack of applying themselves as so called public-spirited people, they have sat quietly in the Party room and have done nothing. Referring back to the honourable member for Angas, it is too late after the Budget comes down and after Cabinet has sat in its concrete vault through the months since June, to come into this place and say: 'I will put a measure on the notice paper that is going to cure the ills for us.' The time for the honourable member for Angas to have acted on behalf of his electors in relation to the imposition and the removal of the wine tax was prior to the autumn recess when he should have ensured that his voice was heard at Cabinet level during the time that Cabinet sat in its concrete vault thinking whether or not there should be an early election. The honourable member is doing no more than pulling a type of cheap political trick through the procedures of this Parliament. It is no more than that.

Mr Giles - I raise a point of order. This time 1 was directly attacked and accused of getting up to a cheap political trick. I object to that. It was a direct remark and I ask the honourable member to withdraw it.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Cope) - It was an unparliamentary remark. I ask the honourable member to withdraw it.

Mr FOSTER - I realise that, having said it, I will withdraw it temporarily. But mark this-

Mr Turnbull - You cannot do that.


Mr FOSTER -I will withdraw it. In doing so 1 will say this to the honourable member for Mallee who says I cannot do this: If the honourable member for Angas is unable to deliver the goods as a result of what he has placed on the notice paper I would feel justified in repeating that remark in this House and applying it perhaps more strongly than I have in the last few moments.

Mr Anthony - You cannot repeat a remark that you have withdrawn.

Mr FOSTER - But I may reintroduce it, for the benefit of the smiling Minister at the table who represents a rural area in Australia that is one of the most poverty stricken in this country. He does nothing about it whatsoever. He runs along to Country Party meetings talking about industrial strikes and the like so that he will not be confronted with the problems within his own interests and within his own Party.

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