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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 1858

Senator CARRICK (New South Wales) - What a shambles this Government is. Until 2 minutes ago in this Senate the Government that accepts the responsibility of governing this country was represented by only one Minister and no back benchers until Senator Keeffe came in.

Senator Cavanagh - Because they would have had to sit and listen to Senator Webster make a speech for about the eighth time.

Senator CARRICK - Senator Cavanaghin the past has demonstrated that he understands the principles of Parliament. Will he now, cynically in order to take a quick trick, run away from those principles? Does he say to this Parliament and the people of Australia that it is not the duty of members of his Government to be in this chamber and that it is not the duty of his Government to keep the numbers in this Parliament? All the slick interjections we hear today cannot wipe out the appeal to high principle that he made when in Opposition. The people of Australia should know that the Labor senators are rarely, if ever, in this chamber. They are, of course, at the behest of their masters, in Caucus. This Government is in a total shambles. The business of this Senate from minute to minute, from hour to hour, is in total and abject disorder. No one can tell what the next business will be in this chamber.

The business is in disorder because the Executive government and the Government Party are in disorder. The democratic concept has been raped by the Australian Labor Party, and no other word will satisfy. There is today no executive government, no Cabinet government, under the Westminster concept in Australia. The Executive Government of the Labor Party has sold out and abdicated to Caucus. This is the very destruction of the Westminster system, and

I have said so before in this Parliament. If an Executive reaches a decision in private and upon a majority voting for it, under the Westminister system all within that Executive are compelled to secrecy and solidarity and to implement it. The idea that they, who have taken a Cabinet oath of solidarity and secrecy, can run from Executive government into Caucus and lobby amongst their fellow members to reverse a decision taken in Cabinet is the very destruction of Parliament. We are seeing today decisions made by Cabinet being reversed and destroyed. It is not good enough for Senator Willesee to seek to be tricky and clever today by saying: 'We reversed a decision. Is not the reversal good when we reverse a decision so as to restore aid to the gold mining industry'? The fact is that the Executive Government -

Senator Cavanagh - Mr Deputy President,I rise to order. On the score of relevancy -

Senator Webster - You cannot take it today, can you?

Senator Cavanagh - We have heard both Senator Webster and Senator Carrick make the same speech about 8 times, and we are sick of it. Are we debating a Bill on the Labor Party? Has Senator Carrick said one word about any one of the 6 Bills now before the Senate? I ask that he get back to somewhere near the subject matter of the Bills. I have here a team of advisers to advise me. They are not experts on the operations of the Labor Party and cannot help on that.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse)- The point of order is taken on the relevancy of what is being said. I trust that Senator Carrick will connect his remarks to the Bills that are being debated in this cognate debate.

Senator CARRICK - They are absolutely relevant. I have said that Executive decisions that are made, including decisions to raise revenueand these are revenue Bills- are altered by Caucus. Mr Deputy President, nothing could be more relevant, and the response to what I have said proves that the soft spot was touched. Let me deal with these Bills. Not only are the Senate and the Business of the Senate, in terms of order of business, including the order in which these Bills are called on, a shambles- I think that comment is relevant- but the Cabinet system of government is a shambles because decisions made in relation to budgeting which, by tradition, are enshrined in the Budget and carried out, are now being dismantled and altered during the sitting weeks of Parliament.

Senator Websterhas rightly referred to the fact that these Bills are revenue raising Bills which cut right at the heart of progressive taxation. The Labor Party has, as part of its platform, the support for progressive taxation and. the rejection of regressive taxation. It said the people of Australia: 'Elect us and there will be no increases in taxes. We do not need any increase in taxes'. I need not demonstrate the relevancy of this statement. These Bills, step by step, are the skeletons of broken promises of the Labor Party. They are in direct defiance of the mandate which it was given. Worse than that, over the years the Labor Party has lived a sham. It has posed as the Party of the little man- the Party of the lower and lower-middle income earners- and has said that it would do nothing to hurt them and everything to help them. The whole thrust of this Budget is against the little person. Its whole aim and its whole drive are to hit the little person. Who is hit most by the imposition of an excise? Who is hit most when the sales tax on cigarettes, alcohol, petrol, oil and all the little pleasures is increased? Only the little, man, because the richer man can afford to pay. Who is hurt most when the Labor Party increases interest rates? It posed as a low tax, low interest rate Party. Taxes and interest rates are now the highest they have been in the history of Australia. This method of revenue raising is quite disastrous.

The Government says that it is in favour of maintaining full employment for the people of Australia, of keeping people in the jobs of" their choice and of keeping them where they have spent their years and have established themselves. Yet the Government has introduced general tariff cuts which will, in the months i ahead, disturb, on its own admission, tens of thousands of people who will be put out of the textile industry, the leather industry and the electronics industry. The only answer given by the Government is that it is only structural unemployment and that the Government will shift these workers. Recently Mr Whitlam made an illuminating statement. He said that he did not think that unemployment was as important as inflation. Little pockets of unemployment are occurring already in all country towns now that the Government has cut back the unemployment relief which was maintaining full employment in the country. What a strange kind of government it is that inveighs against multi-nationals- what an ugly word the Government has made thatand then proceeds, by tariff cuts, to destroy Australian industries and to force Australian people to buy goods from multi-national and foreignnational companies which are established and maintained wholly overseas. What kind of hypocrisy is it when a government imputes these things? I hope that I will never again hear this corruption of talk about multi-nationals. Every time the Government drives an Australian company out of business and every time it says that, by tariff cuts, it prefers to buy overseas than to buy in Australia it is making itself the mendicant client of multi-nationals and foreign-nationals. It is selling out to foreign companies.

Let us get this matter perfectly straight. The propaganda which was put out to bait the people is now reacting against the Government. I have never heard so much nonsense in my life as has been spoken recently. The Government, through this revenue raising, is trying to take money from people in the private sector and punish people in the private sector so that it can have its orgies in the public sector. That is the very simple solution. It wants a prices power not merely to control prices but to control the whole private sector, to control the charges which State governments and local governments can levy and to control wages. As the Prime Minister said, and most lawyers agree, prices include wages. The Government wants these powers so that it can reach out and congeal the private sector, control it and stultify it so that the public sector can grow. What we are seeing today is a series of Bills which is aimed at eroding the poor and at inflating the socialist rich. What we are seeing today is part of doctrinaire socialism which is creating the 14 per cent rate of inflation in Australia, which is preventing people from buying their homes and which is creating the scarcities, which Senator Cavanagh acknowledges, in housing which are hitting many people.

I say that this Government is now a shambles because of its broken pre-election promises, its policies, its failures to uphold its platform and its propaganda which is now exposed at every level by the jingoistic words which have been mouthed. How now for our narrow jingoistic socialism when we are selling out to great industries overseas? After all, this is the basis of the Labor Party's economic policy.

Debate (on motion by Senator O'Byrne) adjourned. .

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