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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 4462

Mr CORBETT (Maranoa) - It is not often that one hears of a person coming from Queensland complaining about the finest State in Australia, the best governed State in Australia, a State which has a Government which has been returned constantly and a State in which the percentage of the Labor vote fell at the last election. Those facts alone would refute many of the arguments that the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Doyle) put forward. Tonight I wish to support my colleague, the honourable member for Darling Downs (Mr McVeigh), in his defence of a very successful company which has been operating for many years in the capital of the Darling Downs, the garden city of Queensland, Toowoomba. Toowoomba Foundry Pty Ltd has been a very successful company. Let me assure you, Mr Speaker, and let me advise those ignorant people who do not know that the volume of production of farming implements depends a good deal on the world markets and the prosperity of primary industry.

In my electorate of Maranoa, which honourable members opposite may have heard about, the biggest town is Dalby. The largest employer of labour there is a firm called Napier Brothers Ltd. It was on the verge of folding when Mr L. F. Diplock, the then State member for the area, took charge at a meeting which was held there when the company was thinking of winding up. That company would have folded. It was producing farming implements. It has just managed to keep going, by struggling along and by not paying dividends for a year of two. It earned an export award for Queensland. It has done a grand job. When Mr Diplock was Chairman of Directors of that company, he told me that if he were to consider the expansion of Napier Brothers and if he were to consider only the interests of the shareholders in that company, it would have to move to Brisbane. Because of his loyalty to the company and to the area in which it was founded, he said that he had no intention of doing that.

This attitude indicates the shallowness of the charge made by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) against a company which is contributing as much as any company in the rural areas of Queensland or in the provincial cities of Queensland towards decentralisation. I refer to Toowoomba Foundry. We know the problems created by over crowded cities. Mr Speaker, as the member for Sydney, which you so ably represent, would be well aware of the great problem of pollution. The Government has tried very hard to distribute the population by setting up growth centres. The Government has adopted a pretty hopeless sort of approach to what is a good idea. Nevertheless, there- is a recognition by the Government - at least let me give it credit for that - of the need to have the population of Australia distributed more evenly. If one company in Queensland has contributed more than any other to decentralisation, surely it must be the Toowoomba Foundry. I support what my colleague, the honourable member for Darling Downs, has said about that company.

Let me turn for a moment to the work of the Premier of Queensland. He has been denigrated by Labor members throughout the Commonwealth, not the least of whom is the Prime Minister. We have heard threats that Queensland would not get its just desserts because of the courage and determination of the Premier of Queensland to put up a fight for the preservation of State rights in that State. Those of us who live there - surely the honourable member for Lilley should be one of them and the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Keogh), whom I heard attempting to make some interjection, should be another - ought to realise the need to preserve State rights. Mr Speaker, I know that you are the member for Sydney, and that is where you live. I appreciate that your electorate has the problems which apply to electorates in city areas. You do your best to serve the electorate in your capacity as member. But at the same time one of the great problems in Australia is the Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne axis. We should encourage the development of the States other than New South Wales and Victoria. I have no objection - as an Australian I welcome it - to the progress and development which is being made in those States, but we certainly need to have the States other than the 2 major States developed to their maximum capacity. There are companies which I believe are doing something towards achieving that end. I believe that the Prime Minister today reached a low level in his condemnation of companies which have had to battle against great difficulties to maintain viability to serve the community that they serve, and I condemn completely his attack on the Toowoomba Foundry.

I want to make one other point this evening about a very topical subject - the increased rate of crimes of violence. This matter is disturbing many people throughout the Commonwealth. I am pleased to see the Minister for Secondary Industry (Mr Enderby) in the chamber, as he represents the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Murphy). I believe that there is a need for an Australia wide examination of this problem. There has been an increase in crimes of violence, as I know only too well. It is an unfortunate fact that it is only when these crimes get close, when you see them happening in your own area, that you begin to realise the great scourge coming over this country. - 1 am concerned about this matter because of the finding of a victim in my own area of Maranoa. A few days ago I received the following telegram from the VicePresident of the Queensland Country Party in that area:

In view of the increase in the incidents of murder and rape in this country and in particular the terrible crime committed at Collarenebri last Wednesday - this area beseaches you and the Federal Government to introduce penalties suitable for this type of crime and we remind you of the very unprotected position of women in isolated country areas.

Mr Morrison - Why do you not try out your wonderful Government in Queensland? This has nothing to do with the Federal Government.

Mr CORBETT - The Minister says that it has nothing to do with the Federal Government. If he does not know that the Federal Government controls the Australian Capital Territory it is nearly time that he did. Again if he does not know that the Federal Govern ment can give a lead to the Ministers of Justice throughout Australia in an effort at coordination - the Government is always talking about that - and if he does not know that some responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Ministry in this Federal Parliament to try to do something about that which is concerning so many people throughout the Commonwealth, it is nearly time that he did. The Minister has made an admission, when I think it would have been very wise for him to have kept silent and not interjected. I believe there is no harm at all in this Federal Government's giving a lead in something that will protect the citizens of this country. I expected better from a Minister of this Government.

I believe there is a need for some action and I appeal to the Minister representing the Attorney-General, if the Minister for Science has no sympathy for this matter, to consider the possibility of having some discussion with the Attorney-General with the object of seeing whether it is possible to have some consultation between the Ministers of Justice in the States. They could examine, as the Queensland Government is going to examine, the penalties for crimes of violence and have a look at the possibility of deterrents, because it is in that area that the greatest service can be rendered to the Australian people. It is not just because a vicious crime was committed in the northern part of New South Wales, the State represented in part by the Minister for Science, and the body of the victim was found in southern Queensland. I believe that it is necessary that we look at this matter from the national point of view.

I believe that every government in Australia should have concern about trying to provide some sort of deterrent, if possible. I know it is not an easy matter, but it does not excuse us for not taking some action. I hope that the Federal Government itself takes part in discussions on this matter. I refer briefly to the State of Queensland, the State which has been castigated this evening. The Queensland Government is appointing 5 Government members to report and recommend on the growing incidence of violent crime and pack rape. Contrary to the attitude taken by the Minister for Science, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) yesterday criticised the Government for not utilising the abilities of Opposition members through the use of all party committees of inquiry. This is a very different attitude from that taken by the Minister for Science tonight.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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