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Tuesday, 9 October 1973
Page: 1783

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Minister for Services and Property) - The honourable member for Isaacs (Mr Hamer) revealed the jealousy and the hatred that honourable members opposite have for the greatest political leader this country has had for generations. As I listened to him speak a few moments ago, wailing about what is wrong with the economy and what is wrong with the administration and what is wrong with the nation, I could not help but think what a tremendous improvement this Government has made in a few months on anything those on the other side did in 23 years of Government.

I refer to the last point mentioned by the honourable member in relation to man hours lost by industrial trouble. How many man hours did those 120,000 unemployed under the Liberal Government lose? How many man hours were lost because the honourable member and his vicious policies sought to make men so economically dependent that they would take any kind of employment? The previous Government wanted a pool of unemployment to lose man hours. Now, when this pool has been removed, the Opposition says that this Government has not done anything.

The honourable member complained about Ministers' advisers. If any government needed advisers it was the one that he supported. He is out of office because he not only had no advice but he also would not take the advice that some people offered to give. This is not a new development. The honourable member knows full well that right at the top level and other places this Government seeks advice from those who have the ability to advise on the great problems confronting the nation.

I was hoping to be able to give honourable members of this Parliament additional staff, but how can I do it for honourable members on the other side when they are complaining about the growth of the Public Service? Would it not be dreadful? I would be criticised by each of them. As I gave them a new research officer or a new secretary they would say: 'My goodness, look how the Public Service is growing'. I did not hear the Opposition complaining about the mammoth staff of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) or the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch) or how they cry and wail every week to the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) to give them additional staff. They say: 'We do not have many members ourselves. We want as many as we can get to help us.' That is the situation. I will stack up the staff of any office bearer on the Opposition side against the staff of any Minister and I will find that the Opposition has twice as many as it ever gave to any member on this side.

Whilst honourable members opposite are clamouring about ministerial staffs they should turn their eyes on to their own leaders, including the Country Party leaders, and they will see not only the staff that they have but also what they are continually demanding from this Government. So why do we hear all this humbug about what the Labor Party is doing in these matters? Honourable members opposite know as well as I do that the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony) and his Deputy are always clamouring for additional staff. If one is talking to the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party he will say that he has a top staff and wants more. The same applies to the Leader of the Opposition. I think that the big fault with them is that they have good staffs but they will not take the advice that is offered. That is precisely what I think the situation is. The honourable member for Isaacs dealt with schools any other items. Does he suggest that the wealthier schools such as Timber Top and Melbourne Grammar should receive the same money as the schools in the poor, depressed areas receive? As I stand here I notice the wealthy individuals who sit opposite. They have never seen a poor man because they do not mix in those circles. They have never seen kids who wanted an education but could not receive it because the former Government preferred to give the money to Timber Top, Melbourne Grammar and all the other wealthier schools instead of to the ones that really needed it. This Government is spreading the wealth of the nation among those who richly deserve to share in it.

Let us look at the 27-man Cabinet and the 93-man Caucus. Do honourable members remember the first and second elevens of the former Government? There were 12 in the first eleven and 12 or 13 in the second eleven, and half of them could not trust each other. They all came from one or two States. The first eleven never consulted anybody. They just walked into the Parliament and said: "This is the policy. Take it or leave it'. The Labor Party is a democratic party. Every member of the Ministry is a member of the Cabinet. There are no first and second elevens on this side of the chamber. They are all equal and they all receive the same pay. Over there I can see the third eleven - the Country Party. Many of them could not get in anywhere. I see one member sitting there looking at me. He has been gazing from that side of the chamber for years and years. Those honourable members have never shifted from that side. When I looked at the first and second elevens I thought how crook these members must be because they could not get into either.

The 27-man Ministry decides on matters in accordance with the policy of this Party. Then in accordance with all the democratic practices of government the Ministers submit their proposals and participate in the deliberations. The Labor Party gives the right to every member who is elected to come to this Parliament and who has to. answer to his constituents to have a say in what should or should not be done. Of course, a Cabinet is not infallible. We do not blindly follow anyone who puts up proposals. Members of the Caucus carefuly examine matters that are submitted to them and, as is their right, they have the opportunity to vote. The majority rule prevails. Of course, if honourable members opposite want a system whereby a discarded leader such as Billy McMahon comes in and stands over them telling them what they have to do, good luck to them. But that is not the Labor Party's approach to these problems.

Honourable members opposite referred to the Labor Party sometimes rejecting Cabinet proposals. Would they expect the Cabinet to be right every time? Admittedly, 99 times out of 100 it is right on the ball but occasionally it might miss one. At least these things are done and although somebody may be rebuffed temporarily, that is the democracy of a parliament. I prefer to tell my constituents, as honourable members on this side do, that our Party is one in which every member has an equal say in the policy that is presented to this Parliament. They have a right to adjudicate on decisions that are made and to express their opinions. Consequently decisions are made that have the support of the Party as such. Let me mention to honourable members opposite that there is nothing wrong with the system of Cabinet that we have here. In case they might not think so, let me inform them that in the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada every member of the Ministry is in the Cabinet, and it is about as big as ours. In other parts of the world the same thing applies. Those who follow Whitehall, the House of Commons, the late Sir Winston Churchill and Mr Heath will have their first and second eleven because that is what those who wear the old school tie want. They love to look up to somebody. That is the system the Country Party tries to foist on the Australian people. It is so different on this side of the Parliament.

I just mention these matters in answer to the honourable member. I suggest that the Country Party should consider the Prime Minister's performance and compare what was done in the years it was in office with what has been done in the months that we have been in office. In the 9 months that this Government has been in office its record in social welfare, administration, world affairs and presentation to the Australian people stands unequalled in the annals of this country. Look at honourable members opposite now. 1 have said it before and I say it again. They are like roaring lions in opposition but in government they were quiet as rabbits suffering from myxomatosis. We never got a word out of them when they were in government but since they have been in opposition they have discovered all that is wrong with the nation and all that can be done. Do you know what annoys them? They cannot do anything about it 'because we have a government that will remedy the state of affairs that they created and bring real justice, equality and social and economic security to the people of this country.

The honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) has become the great reformer. He wants extra standing orders. He wants the whole Parliament reformed. On one occasion he wanted the Postmaster-General (Mr Lionel Bowen) to pay SI 0,000 to put a telephone on to some cocky's place in the country. As the Postmaster-General said, it would have been cheaper to buy the farm. This is the kind of case he puts up to a government. Is it any wonder that members of the Country Party are in opposition? I ask the people to judge. Are they not where they ought to be? Why would they be on this side? There is not a thought between them. All they can do is rail and rant about the democracy of the Australian Labor Party, about the prestige of the Prime Minister and about our methods.

Not one member of the Country Party has a vote for anybody in his own party. They are told what to do, and most of the people who tell the Country Party what to do live in Pitt Street, Sydney, or at Darling Point and such places. Members of the Country Party are terribly frustrated because in this Parliament they act as well paid puppets for those people who put them here under the guise of being Country Party supporters.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Armitage) - Order! The Minister will relate his comments to the estimates for the Prime Minister's Department and Cabinet and the estimates for the Department of the Special Minister of State, whom he represents here.

Mr DALY - Mr Deputy Chairman, I may have deviated slightly, but you will agree that what I said was exceedingly interesting. I finish on this note: I am sick and tired of hearing honourable members opposite talking about all that this Government has not done. If I had another 25 minutes to speak I would not be able to tell them a quarter of what the Government has achieved in the months it has been in office. I finish on that note because I think it is important that we should again give those opposite the chance to wail and moan if they will. But let them remember this: This Government will continue along the course it is following, which the great majority of Australian people endorse.

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