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Tuesday, 6 March 1973
Page: 256

Mr DOYLE (Lilley) - J listened this afternoon while the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) made reference to what occurred following the 1972 Federal elections. The reference he made concerned the necessity for the newly elected Government to take action which apparently is somewhat unprecedented. Perhaps I should feel a little guilty because the reason that the Labor Government could not function properly was that the electorate I represent was the last in Australia to provide a result following that election. When that result was made known, the Labor Party was successful in the electorate of Lilley by the margin of 35 votes.

I place on record my thanks to the people of Lilley who supported the Labor Party and recorded a vote for me on the occasion of that election. I referred to the somewhat small majority, but 1 hastily add that one receives encouragement from many sources and I was particularly encouraged, following the election, when the new Leader of the House (Mr Daly), in his own inimitable fashion, took me aside in a friendly way and assured me that if 1 worked hard in my electorate, looked after the people and attended my duties 1 should have no trouble in doubling that majority. I am confident that when the people of Australia realise - I know they have done so to a great degree even at present - the progressive type of policy that the Labor Party in office will be pursuing in future, at the next Federal election there will be an avalanche of support for this Government. I say that because the people of this nation are progressive in their attitude. No longer can they accept the type of policies to which they had been subjected over the years. They want change and they want this nation to really go forward and the vehicle for progress in this day and age is an Australian Labor Party Government.

I also place on record my appreciation of the support that was given to me by people within my electorate during the campaign - people who worked on behalf of the Labor Party and who sought as their only reward the return of a Labor Party government. These people worked tirelessly in my electorate and I appreciated their action very much. I am particularly fortunate in entering Parliament at a time when the Government is taking a new involvement in a whole range of social policies which have particular reference to an electorate such as mine. I will work in this Parliament and in my electorate as a member of a government which is pledged to work for equal opportunity in education for Australian children; greater employment opportunities; a better deal for pensioners; a real attack on poverty; a proud and progressive Australia a vote for the 18-year-olds in the community and recognition of the status and rights of the Aboriginal people.

I repeat that I am proud to be a member of this Government. My one regret is that the State of Queensland did not return more Government supporters in the elections last year. The Australian Labor Party had excellent candidates. They were dedicated men who would have made excellent contributions to this Parliament and to its functions. I believe the reason for more members not being returned from Queensland to this side of the House was the type of campaign which was entered into by the opponents of the Labor Party, particularly the type of campaign and the attacks which were made on the Australian Labor Party's progressive health policy. On this occasion, of course, full-page newspaper advertisements, pamphlets, radio programs and all the different means of communicating with people were used to mislead and to falsely represent the Australian Labor Party's policies.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It was a shame.

Mr DOYLE - It certainly was a shame. It was with pleasure that I listened to the speech of His Excellency the Governor-General setting out the progressive plans for the future of Australia and dealing with health insurance - a policy which this Government is pledged to introduce on behalf of the people of the nation. I was particularly pleased to hear the Governor-General say that the overriding consideration must be the welfare of the patient. Our opponents in Queensland claimed that the Australian Labor Party in government at the Federal level would destroy Queensland's free hospital scheme.

This scheme was introduced in Queensland by a State Labor government and it was introduced despite the bitter opposition of Conservatives in government here at that particular time. This happened about a quarter of a century ago. Under a Labor government this free hospital scheme was properly maintained, was run efficiently and it provided not only hospital treatment for the people of Queensland but also medical treatment in the outpatients section of the Brisbane public hospital and Queensland's public hospital. But after 15± years of Country Liberal-Party Government at State level in Queensland and after 23 years of Liberal-Country Party Government at the Federal level, the free hospital scheme so proudly introduced by an Australian Labor Party government has come in for criticism, not necessarily from Labor Party people but from other people within the community. For instance, the 'Australian' newspaper recently ran a series of articles dealing with the hospital and health scheme in Queensland. The heading of one of the series of articles which appeared in the Brisbane section of that newspaper is 'Black List Silences the Doctors'. The article reads:

The threat of a Health Department 'black list' hangs over Queensland doctors and nurses who complain about the Slate's health system.

Anyone who pries into the system as I did encounters this medical wall of silence.

Medical personnel either refuse to be quoted in tear of their jobs, or the braver of them speak, but insist on anonymity.

The existence of the departmental 'black list' was confirmed by outspoken Liberal doctor-politician Dr Arthur Crawford, MLA.

Dr Crawford,a Wickham Terrace surgeon, has incensed some of his fellow Liberals in State Parliament with his fearless comments on Queensland's health system.

The next part of the article should be of interest to everybody in Queensland. Questions should be asked and action taken to have something done at State level in respect of this. The article continues:

Inferior intravenous equipment and antibiotics were being imported from overseas for Queensland hospitals because they were cheap, Dr Crawford said.

The State Stores Board calls tenders in Queensland. If a drug representative presents a new drug he will be asked not whether it is efficient, but what it costs, Dr Crawford said.

This section of the series of articles refers to an attack on the Queensland health system, not by the Labor Party but by a member of the Liberal Party in the Queensland State Government. Many of the ladies listening in

Queensland this evening would have read the article which dealt with the obstetrics section of the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital. The article states that a shortage of beds is looming in Queensland. Anyone investigating this allegation must wonder how any conscientious government could attack the sound proposal put forward by the Australian Labor Party in the election campaign preceding the last Federal election. I quote briefly from this article, which reads:

By the end of next year, the facilities at the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital will not be enough to cope with women having babies, according to a specialist obstetrician al the hospital.

The hospital was rapidly approaching a crisis in the provision of obstetrics beds. lt is the only Government-provided obstetrics hospital in Brisbane and the Government has no plans to build another, the obstetrician said.

Even if it did, it takes 10 years to bring a hospital from the planning stage to completion. In the meantime, the women of Brisbane are in for a rough time.

This is typical of articles which appeared in the 'Australian' newspaper. Unfortunately these articles appeared not before the federal election but following it. They expose the Country Liberal Party Government in Queensland and the way that it has allowed a health and hospital scheme, which was introduced in 1946, and which served the people of Brisbane very well, to deteriorate.

Several matters mentioned in the GovernorGeneral's Speech are of specific interest to Queenslanders. I was somewhat astounded to hear the honourable member for Petrie (Mv Cooke) say in effect that there was nothing in the Governor-General's Speech which meant much to Australians. I wondered whether he listened to, read or heard about the Governor.General's Speech delivered in 1969. Tt represented the programme of the previous Federal Government. I am told that it took His Excellency one minute to read that speech.

Mr Riordan - There was not much in it.

Mr DOYLE - There could not have been much in it. I was particularly interested to hear His Excellency the Governor-General refer to a proposal which would be welcomed by the people of Brisbane, namely, the Federal Government's foreshadowed action to implement, in co-operation with the States, a major program to improve public transport. I was astounded to hear the honourable member for Petrie make some caustic comments about this proposal. Coming from Brisbane he should know that in 1947 a State Labor government tabled a report, which was adopted in 1950, which dealt with the electrification of the Brisbane railway system. When the Labor Government left State office in Queensland in 1957 tracks had been laid, buildings had been provided and the electrification of the Brisbane railway system was well on the way. But the incoming government, which took office in 1957, did not take long - I think a matter of about one year - to shelve the plan and to stop the work which the Labor Government had commenced.

The city of Brisbane, its business people, its work force, its suburban residents and the proper progress of its development have been seriously disadvantaged as a result of this retrograde step. It really amazes me that a member coming from the Brisbane area should attack something that the Federal Labor Government is trying to do on behalf of the people of Brisbane. I point out that at the time when the Labor Government in Queensland made a decision to go ahead with the electrification scheme the cost would have been slightly more than $5m. I believe that the figure now is $60m or more.

At the last Queensland State election the Labor Party promised that if re-elected it would go ahead with the electrification scheme. By a strange coincidence on the night following the election speech delivered by the Leader of the Australian Labor Party in Queensland, the Deputy Leader of the Queensland State Government, delivering his policy speech, promised the people of Queensland that a transport commission would be established and that work would be commenced on the electrification of the Brisbane railway system. To my knowledge nothing was done until quite recently, when a report was made indicating that this Federal Government would make finance available in order that proper public transport might be provided for the residents of Brisbane.

One might inquire why the Brisbane people have not applied pressure on the State Government with a view to having something done to improve the transport system. Of course, something was done by the Queensland Government. It had 2 reports prepared in the interim period by an American firm of consultants, Wilbur Smith and Associates. The first report, which was introduced in 1965, advised the Government and the people of Queensland that steps should be taken to provide freeways and to improve private transport facilities in Brisbane. Apparently Mr Wilbur Smith, an American, did not learn from the American experience that by providing additional roadways and freeways the cities become jammed with traffic hold-ups, that the air becomes polluted and that the environment suffers. That proposal was contained in the first report.

In 1970 the second report was handed down. In this report Mr Wilbur Smith and his firm recommended that public transport should be improved in Brisbane. That appeared to be a direct contradiction of the findings of his earlier report. It appears that until the Federal Government makes finance available to Queensland nothing will be done in regard to improving the transport system in Brisbane. I was particularly pleased to hear the Governor-General make reference to the Government's belief that industrial confidence requires industrial co-operation and that the Government will take steps to promote cooperation and reduce confrontation. How any reasonable person with a sense of responsibility is able to advance arguments in opposition to such a proposal is beyond comprehension.

It is in the industrial relations field that the Labor Government differs most from the previous Government. Before I resume my seat I would like to say that I believe that the Government has a good attitude towards industrial relations. I believe that if people in the work force want to enjoy the benefits that are gained from trade union activities and the work that is put into industry on behalf of workers, they should belong to unions. I believe that the great majority of Australian people subscribe to this view. I confidently believe that the people of Australia will support the Labor Government in its industrial policy and that when that policy is put into operation true industrial peace will be brought to Australia.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Mackellar)Order!Before I call the honourable member for Darling Downs I remind the House that this is the honourable member's maiden speech. I ask that the usual courtesies be extended. I call the honourable member for Darling Downs.

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