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Wednesday, 29 August 1973
Page: 592


Mr RIORDAN (Phillip) - The capacity to enjoy life and to achieve human happiness must be the only legitimate test of any social order. When I listen to some of the speeches made by honourable members opposite I wonder whether that is even a cursory concern or a mild passing consideration of some of them. All too frequently they appear to be concerned and believe that we should be overly concerned only with the figures on a balance sheet, with the amounts of money shown on both sides of the ledger. Do they really look intelligently at what life is all about? On this side of the House we are more concerned with the rights of human beings, their capacity to enjoy life and their ability to take their place in society.

In the time of the last generation medical costs have zoomed. They have become far too high in the community with every prospect that they will go higher. There is a direct relationship between the life style that has been developed over the last 20 years or so and increases in medical costs. Sometimes these expenses are referred to as health costs or the cost of health in our community. In fact they are the costs of poor health, the costs of trying to correct illnesses rather than the cost of achieving good health. A study undertaken recently by a task force in the United States of America for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare has found that coronary disease is directly attributable to the work style and mode of living. Yet we did not hear a word in 23 years of LiberalCountry Party rule about that link. We have not seen a single scrap of evidence of any attempt made to attack the problem.

There is a direct relationship between work dissatisfaction and heart disease. We have heard nothing of employee frustration and the frustration of citizens, together with the almost frightening increase in the incidence of heart disease in the community. Leisure time is becoming more important and will become even more important. We have achieved increased leisure time and will achieve even more, therefore putting more pressure on the productive capacity of employees and on the community to produce more goods and services. I believe that in this setting the work done by the Minister for Tourism and Recreation (Mr Stewart) so far and the outline of the program that he has put before this House have not received due recognition.

Holidays and travel are very commendable if the population can afford to enjoy them. It is not of much use saying to a worker who works at pressure all the year: 'You may have three or four weeks annual vacation but you cannot enjoy it. You must continue in your second job. You cannot (take your family away to a new environment during that period because your wife cannot get her holidays at the same time'. That is the type of society which was developed by honourable members opposite who have attacked the Budget that the Treasurer (Mr Crean) brought into this House a week ago. They brought about an economic system which demands that a family unit have at least 2 incomes. If there are not 2 incomes, the choice is between the principal bread winner having a second job or subjecting his children to privation.

Those are the plain facts. This new progressive and far-sighted government is being attacked after about 8 months in office for not having cured all the ills created during 23 years of Liberal-Country Party laissez faire government. I wonder whether the term 'government' is deserved by those people who occupied the majority seats in this House for so long. It was misgovernment. lt was leadership by the leaderless. The present Government is concerned about recreation at all levels and about satisfying all needs. Its concern, as has been illustrated in the Budget, is to provide the means to organise methods of recreation for our much maligned youth who will serve this country well in the years to come. We are concerned to provide for them sporting facilities and the means by which their art and craft may be developed.

This Government is also concerned to provide recreation for the adult population which is presently working to produce the goods and services required by the whole community. I remind honourable members opposite that but for the people who work by the sweat of their brow, who use their hands and brains in production, there would be no goods and services the distribution of which is argued about. The problem must be looked at in its totality, at the partnership in enterprise of employee, professional management and investor. It must be recognised that each section needs rest and recreation from the particular labour that it undertakes. This Government will attempt to provide the necessary facilities. It has already shown how it will set about that task.

What of the aged in our community who have built this society, who have provided the goods and services in the past? In the past 20 years they have been told: 'We will pay you a pittance which we call a pension. That is all we will do for you. Our concern for you is to give you enough to keep you in a state of existence and then we will forget about you.' The Labor Government is determined to make life livable for the people who have built this nation. It will provide the means for them to have recreation and to perform selfsatisfying tasks in the community. It is not simply a question of finding grounds and buildings in which to house the facilities. It is a matter of providing the organisation and the management to allow these things to be developed.

Much has to be done in the work place. For far too long it has been regarded as the preserve of management, trade unions and investors to slug it out on the floor of the work place and to find a solution the best way they can. Concepts of job enrichment, employee participation, sharing of responsibility and profitability in industry have merely been words to the government of the last generation. That has come to an abrupt end. Australia now has a Government that cares - a government that is concerned about people. I was interested to hear the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) state earlier tonight that electoral reform will be introduced into this Parliament and that there will be concern to ensure that there is one vote one value. When this is achieved, during the life of this Parliament, perhaps we will see a bi-partisan approach to the concept that the majority should elect the Government and that the Government should govern in the interests of the total population and not just minority sectional interests. The one thing that highlights and distinguishes the Whitlam Government from its predecessor is that it is a Government that is concerned with all of the people whether they be one-year old babies or 98-year old pensioners.







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