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Wednesday, 2 May 1973
Page: 1610

Mr GILES (Angas) - lt is nol my habit to speak on the third reading of a Bill and 1 do not intend to take more than 2 minutes of the time of the House now. In spite of the generosity of the Minister for Housing (Mr Les Johnson) in relation to matters we have already referred to on this side of the House, there were one or 2 uncharitable things mentioned to which I should refer. I refer to where the Minister speculated - I think that was the word he used - about the previous Government's attitudes to measures that 1 can describe only as reform measures. One cannot blame the Minister for talking about reform measures but I do blame him for speculating why these measures were not introduced in the past. In answer to this insinuation I make 2 very brief points.

Firstly, it is not wildly inaccurate to say that measures to be taken this year and measures which can be taken next year will owe their potential to the fact that previous governments have put the economy in such a state that these actions are possible, and to ignore that fact or to glide easily over it is not an honest attitude to take. I trust that in this nation there will always be progress and that as the economy strengthens from year to year further reform and other social service measures will be possible. I ask the Minister to take some cognisance of that fact in future because I regard it, quite frankly, as fair comment.

The second point may not be so patently obvious or so patently fair. Any increase in the maximum loan, such as is provided in the Defence Service Homes Bill brought forward by the Minister, is appreciable and is acknoledged as such by the Opposition. But let us be quite clear and say that by the time this legislation is next examined or amended this increase will appear as one of a very paltry nature. Expenditure by this Government has been of such an order that the value of the increased loan after 2 years will be very little. I think we will find that in 3 years' time, if I am any judge of trends in the movement of the Australian dollar today, this increase will amount to nothing and its benefit will have been destroyed. So before people idly stand in this House and fire arrows at previous governments and imply that they had a poor record in these matters, they should consider at least these 2 matters which I believe to be valid considerations.

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