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Wednesday, 23 August 1972
Page: 369

Senator PRIMMER (Victoria) - Firstly, I make some claim to have been misrepresented. I defy either Senator Webster or Senator Jessop to find in the speech I made in the adjournment debate last night any attack whatsoever on the workers.

Senator Jessop - It was the principle

Senator PRIMMER - Just be quiet for a moment and allow me to make my speech. 1 declined to infringe on the benefit that was the honourable senators; so just shut up for a moment, please.

The ACTING PRESIDENT- Order! It is essential that all honourable senators have an opportunity to speak in silence. I ask you, Senator Primmer, not to i>.*e the phrase 'shut up' in the Senate.

Senator PRIMMER - Thank you, Mr Acting President. I was so disturbed about any repercussions that might flow from any speech I made on this matter in the Senate that I deemed it my duty before I spoke to make known to representatives of the Vehicle Builders Employees Federation of Australia in Victoria what I intended to say. I wondered why Senator Webster did not speak after me in the debate last night. Perhaps he did not have sufficient ammunition, or the type of ammunition that I had. Senator Webster appears to me to be typical of the smallminded Country Party representation that is exhibited throughout the Parliaments of this nation. If he wants to attack me personally away from this place he is quite at liberty to do so. But I will stand up to him man to man at any time or in any place. I made no attack whatsoever on craftsmen or technicians in the motor building industry. My attack was purely upon the assembly line - the system that evolves these types of cars. My attack was on the Ford company itself.

Senator Webstermade his attack upon me when I was absent from this place. He made no effort to warn me that he was going to raise this matter, I understand from notes I received on what he said that he made some reference to the company that had carried out investigations into this matter. He suggested that the company had a great deal to do with the investigation of divorces. I happen to have the business card of the company concerned and I notice that amongst the work it does is commercial and industrial investigation and insurance and workers compensation investigation. I understand that it acts in a certain capacity for a semi-government department in Victoria. So, irrespective of what one might like to think about its activities in the field of divorce investigations, it is quite a reputable firm.

A great deal of stress seemed to have been laid by both honourable senators from the other side of the chamber who spoke on this matter on the type of vehicle that 1 drive. I do not know what that has to do with it. I do not think it matters whether I drive a draught horse or a Rolls Royce. I came into the Senate last night to do what I believe was the right thing by some of my constituents in Victoria. Whether I drive a Mercedes or whatever it might be is totally irrelevant to this argument. If sufficient people came to me with complaints about the Mercedes Benz I would be just as capable of and just as vocal in this chamber at tipping the can on that company as I have done to other companies within the last 24 hours. Just let me say that currently I am on speaking terms with the General Manager of Ford who rang me today.

Senator Jessop - I bet that you are not now.

Senator PRIMMER - I am, as a matter of fact.

Senator Cavanagh - You are not on commission terms.

Senator PRIMMER - No. I find it very hard to understand the reasons behind the attack made upon me. I believe that it almost reached the level of a personal attack. In my short time in this Senate I do not think anyone can point the finger at me and say that I have made personal attacks on anyone on the other side of the chamber. In my 15 years of municipal experience this was something upon which I frowned very seriously. I am quite pre pared to talk with any person at any time, but I draw the line when personal vindictiveness is introduced. However, if that is the way honourable senators opposite like to have it I believe that they not only demean themselves but they demean the status of this chamber.

I think that I have said all I want to say on motor cars. We will see how this matter develops. I am only sorry at this point of time that I have not been contacted by the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon). He was the one person from whom I expected to have a telephone call today. I have received several calls from the news media and from people from both sides of this chamber who have complimented me for what I had to say last night. Furthermore, people have come to me with further complaints about motor cars. This has totally convinced me that what I said last night was very close to the mark.

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