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Thursday, 3 October 1974
Page: 1671

Senator CARRICK (New South Wales) - This Budget ignores totally the great critical issues of the international scene in nations outside our shores and also the serious economic crises at home. In his increasingly infrequent visits to Australia, the Australian Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) has shown a lofty distaste for and monumental ignorance of economic issues. Indeed, he prefers the international jet set to the worries of home. His Deputy, Dr Cairns, in between his frequent ideological pilgrimages to Peking pauses occasionally to tell us of a growing list of Government actions which he says he deplores. He conveniently forgets that he was part of a Cabinet that made those decisions. He murmurs that everything will be all rights. However, the truth of the matter is that 1 80,000 people are likely to be unemployed by the end of this year. But the Minister says that unemployment is not serious. He says this in a week in which the figures suggest that unemployment in September will be shown to have been the highest recorded for that month in any year. Unemployment is not serious in the Minister's eyes. Of course, the nominal Treasurer, the little boy lost, Mr Crean, who is somewhere in the world at this moment is no doubt smiling beatifically and in a somewhat confused state, wondering about it all. In that context and in the context of a very real world in which the energy crisis and the growing food crisis create the greatest peril probably in this century, the Budget is brought down ignoring all of those issues.

A Budget is and must be an instrument which conceives the nature of the problem, both internationally and nationally, at a particular point of time, lt must be part of a symphony orchestra. It should be not the whole orchestra but perhaps the first violinist. It must perceive the grants and loans necessary to be made to the States and to local government. It must look to the nature of the Government's tariff policies. It must look to the Government's monetary policies, to reserve bank policies, and to the whole of its credit policies. In doing that it must reach a conclusion which, in its best estimate, will provide for Australia a society which will grant full gainful employment with rising real wages. That surely is the domestic goal of a Budget. This Budget, of course, does none of these things. The Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and his henchmen have in fact stated that it does not do these things. They have said that it is not in itself an economic instrument. It is not in itself an instrument to solve inflation. Indeed, it will not solve inflation. In fact, it will not solve unemployment, so they say.

They say that it is a socialist instrument. In that they are speaking the truth because built into this Budget- and deliberately built in- are 2 main factors. Built into the Budget is the factor of growing inflation which is apprehended by the Budget at being at least between 20 per cent and 25 per cent. Also built into the Budget is a factor of unemployment which the Budget itself measures as at least 3 per cent. Those are the tolerable figures of the Budget. Apparently they are not to be fought against or deprecated by the Whitlam Labor Government. The Government says: 'Well, we will accept these because they are part of our social program'. The Budget itself says that people will be coming onto the employment market at a rate cf about 3 per cent, but the growth rate will be 2 per cent. In other words, it apprehends a 3 per cent unemployment rate. What a lot of humbug when the Budget contains these resounding words:

The Government is not prepared deliberately to create a level of 4 per cent or 5 per cent, or perhaps even higher unemployment.

But at least the Government did one humane thing. It said that it is prepared to tolerate a level of unemployment at which we get rid of the Minister for Labor and Immigration (Mr Clyde Cameron). He said that his cut-out point is 3 per cent. So one presumes that built into the Budget is a self-destructive instrument for one of the people responsible for the unemployment policies. But the Labor Government has said that as long as it is contained at 3.9 per cent unemployment will be tolerable. These are people who ranted and raved when the former Liberal Government had unemployment at a level of 2 per cent, despite the fact that for most of the 23 years we were in office we had the lowest sustained unemployment rate of any industrialised country in the free world and the lowest sustained inflation rate, which averaged 2.5 per cent. This Government which says that it is the Party of the workers and that it has great humane concern for people, has brought forward a Budget that builds in an inflation rate of at least 20 per cent and an unemployment rate of at least 3 per cent.

Within 3 or 4 days of having brought forward such a Budget, it sets out to aggravate the situation by taking another action. The Government then brought about a 12 per cent devaluation in the Australian dollar, which it did not contemplate at the time of the Budget and which it did not orchestrate into the Budget. What will be the measure of extra inflation as a result of this devaluation? The economists suggest, and the Government does not deny, that the escalation will be of the order of 5 per cent. So are we to have an inflation rate running between 25 per cent and 30 per cent in the year ahead? These are the parameters which the Government itself says are tolerable. Honourable senators who have preceded me in the debate have made the point that this Budget, not being an economic instrument, is designed to be, and stated to be by the Government, a social instrument. In the words of Mr Whitlam, this is the first social democrat government of Australia. Those were the words he used yesterday when addressing the United Nations General Assembly. The Budget Speech states:

The relatively subdued conditions in prospect in the private sector provide the first real opportunity we have had to transfer resources to the public sector.

The socialist policy of the Government is to transfer massive resources to the public sector away from the private sector. That is its stated aim. Lest anyone should misunderstand the magnitude of this ideological policy, let me give some idea of the growth rate of spending in the public sector over the last decade. In the fiscal year 1964-65, when the Budget was brought down by a Liberal-Country Party Government, public sector spending amounted to $4.4 billion. Seven years passed and in 1971-72 public sector spending in the Budget grew by less than $4 billion to $8.3 billion. So in those 7 years the growth was less than $4 billion. But in the 3 years to this Budget for 1974-75, public sector spending has grown by $8 billion. So it has grown by $8 billion in 3 years as against $4 billion in 7 years. Almost the whole of that growth in public sector expenditure has occurred in the 2 years that the Labor Government has been in office. That demonstrates in a nutshell the transfer to the public sector of human resources to further democratic socialism. Those figures should be understood by all.

This Government says that it has cut taxation in the Budget, but its Budget papers show that the intake of pay-as-you-earn personal income tax budgeted for in this financial year will increase by 45 per cent to 46 per cent. That is a much higher percentage increase than has ever been dreamed of before. There will be almost a 50 per cent increase in income tax in this year in which the Government has allegedly cut taxation. Those people who have analysed the taxation scales have said that, allowing for the nominal cuts in taxation and taking into consideration the growth of wages which is predicted at 22.5 per cent this year but which will more likely be 26 per cent, the average wage earner will find himself in a tax scale which will increase his income tax payments by 10 per cent. What a strange world it is. In its national husbandry, this Federal Government can increase- in fact double- national expenditure at this enormous rate in 3 years. It is increasing its own spending by 33 per cent this year and throttling down the handouts to the States to 10.4 per cent of gross national income so forcing the States to impose all sorts of regressive taxation. On the one hand, a government which says that it will cut taxes has deliberately forced all States to impose regressive taxes which can only penalise the small people.

We heard the humbug of the PostmasterGeneral (Senator Bishop) last night. He talked about the removal of radio and television licence fees to help the little people. But on the other hand, this Government slugs the little person with every regressive tax that we can think of. We also heard the humbug of the same Minister who said that the Government has kept its promises. Of course, we had to remind him- he had forgotten- of the old fashioned promise that the Labor Government would remove the means test by stages and that this year it would adjust it so that people 70 years of age and over might obtain a pension without a means test. The Labor Government says now that it cannot afford to do this. But it can afford to spend millions of dollars on art works. I see that it is buying two more works of art. One is a statue, no doubt symbolic of the migratory habits pf the Government's Ministers, called 'Birds in Space' and the other delightful one, which is costing $696,000, is called 'House under Construction'. No government with a sense of honour, on a day when the building societies in New South Wales increased interest rates by 2 per cent, would announce that it was to pay $696,000 for a painting called 'House under Construction'.

Senator Wriedt - What is your qualification to make a judgment?

Senator CARRICK -I will tell the Minister what my qualification is: I am here and interested to be here to look after those millions of Australians who are seeking to buy a home through a building society at reasonable interest rates. I am interested in this: This morning the building societies stated that they are to increase interest rates by 2 per cent and stated that it is no good for people to try to extend the time for their repayments. They have stated that if people tried to do this, they will have to extend the period from 25 years to 50 years. This will cost people $7 a week extra and since June it will cost an extra $60 a month for a person to pay for the same house. This has happened under a Government that has deliberately created these interest rates and a Government whose Deputy Prime Minister said 3 days ago: 'We are going to lower the interest rates in future'. Today he will have to say that nobody has told him of this and that it is a wrong policy, that is, if we can catch him before he leaves for Peking. Will he say that nobody told him that in the course of this year the price of paying off a home has increased by $60 a month? The Minister for Agriculture (Senator Wriedt) has asked me for my qualifications. I will give him my measurement of his Government: His Government has now suddenly discovered that restraint in spending is the important thing, that we ought to restrain our spending -

Senator Wriedt - Tell us about your qualifications in regard to works of art, because you were speaking on them.

Senator CARRICK -No. The Government says that it ought not to restrain spending on works of art but that it should deny the pensioners. It says that it should tell every person who has a child at school that it is going to reduce the taxation concession from $400 a year to $ 1 50 a year for every child at State school or an independent school because there must be restraint. Then, the Minister goes into these extraordinary flights of fancy and asks me: 'What are your qualifications?' My measurement is a quaint one. It is for human concern in the face of a Government that could not keep its promise on increasing age pensions, which could not keep its promise in relation to education, which could not keep its promise in relation to pre-school care. It can cut the amount of expenditure in its Budget but it can afford to buy these works of art. I simply ask: What are its values? It is no use talking to me about whether I am a judge of art. Profoundly, I am not.

Senator Wriedt - You have got a lot to say about it.

Senator CARRICK -No, what I have said is very simple. I have said that it is not a question of whether a particular object is worth a certain amount. It is a question of whether we will get our priorities straight in terms of this Budget and in terms of the real world in which people are starving and in which the need to spend more money on food and drugs for them is clamant. I asked the other day whether we wanted the people of the Third World to look at us and say that our judgment of the real problems of the world was such that we were willing to spend tens of millions of dollars on art and virtually nothing on drugs and foodstuffs for the people of North Africa and elsewhere. What are my standards of judgment? I think they are the standards of judgment of the ordinary people of Australia and not the standards of this bacchanalian Labor Party which is so out of touch with reality.

Let us look at the situation as it is. This budget has been presented in a period in which the share market is at its disastrous worst, in which great firms are collapsing, in which bankruptcies are rising steadily, in which the textile industry, the clothing industry, the footwear industry, the electronics industry, the automotive industry and now this morning the furniture manufacturing industry are all saying that they are at a point of crisis. The Deputy Prime Minister says that unemployment is not serious, that things are all right. He says: 'We will restructure them'. What kind of socialist inflexibility of mind is that that the Labor Government thinks it can deny the right to ordinary people to do the jobs of their choice at the place of their choice? The Labor Party uses the excuse that because it wants to introduce some ideological restructuring, it can offer these people a job somewhere else. What was the case we heard about? Women were to paint some public building in Hobart as an alternative form of employment. Is this the kind of socialist nonsense that we must accept? Is this the kind of dream world in which honourable senators opposite live? The simple fact is that the same Deputy Prime Minister who says that there is nothing serious in the unemployment situation is the Minister responsible for the 25 per cent across-the-board cut in tariffs. He cannot deny this. No government using any common sense or with an understanding of tariffs could possibly introduce an across-the-board cut in tariffs. By definition, tariffs are a discriminatory instrument to help one industry and to cut back another one. Nobody had ever thought of implementing a tariff cut of 25 per cent across-the-board. This Government, by so doing, has decided that the textile industry, the clothing industry, the footwear industry, the electronics industry, the furnishing industry and now substantially, the automotive industry, ought to go out of business.

For my edification I recently looked at what was contained in Hansard in the 1960s when a former government was working upon increasing the Australian content in the automotive industry. Who were the loudest in saying that we must get the content of our manufacturing in this industry up to 95 or 98 per cent? The members of the Australian Labor Party were the loudest in saying this. Who are the people who in today's newspapers are reported to be talking about dismantling the Leyland Motor Corporation of Australia Ltd? Mr Whitlam helped it along with a gratuitous remark. He said: 'Do you think that we ought to help this industry? Everybody knows what is wrong with it. Its car is a dud '. What a remark for a responsible Prime Minister to make. What a remark that is from a responsible Prime Minister.

At this moment we have a Government which says that it was responsible for getting Australian content up by setting up at the very least an assembly line in Australia for foreign manufactured goods. It is a Government which ranted and raved in this place about foreign ownership and foreign investment until, of course, Dr J. F. Cairns in a fine flight of fancy 3 days ago said: 'I do not think there is anything wrong with multinationals at all. When I deal with them I find them good to deal with- better than the others. ' Suddenly all this wickedness that was talked of does not exist. But all the inveigling against foreign ownership in Australia, an ownership which provided Australian employment, is offset by the fact that the Government's tariff policy transferred the workmanship to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and to Asia generally where the capital was foreign owned, where the factory was foreign owned and where every employee was a foreigner. That was good enough for the Whitlam Government and that is what the textile people in Tasmania should talk about. These are the people, the Government supporters- they are talkative now- who said they had a concern for the ordinary individual.

Australia is a country whose great wealth comes from 2 main sources which are not labour intensive- agriculture, which provides some 50 per cent of our export earnings, and the minerals industry. The 2 industries that provide our great wealth do not provide substantial employment. My memory is that agriculture provides some 8 per cent of employment. It is the duty of an Australian Government to ensure that there are in Australia sufficient industries of a labour intensive nature to provide employment, the employment of his choice, for every Australian. To do so we must have some arbitration of the kind of industries we have. Clearly there are industries that, for defence purposes, are necessary. Surely the electronics industry is one of those.

Of course, defence is a non-event for a government which, having promised an amount of 3.2 per cent of gross national product, cut defence expenditure to 2.6 per cent, according to the Minister's announcement last night. That was the action of a government which said there will be no threat for 15 years. But the speech writer who wrote Mr Whitlam 's speech for the United Nations was not told that and Mr Whitlam now sees the possibility of world conflagration within the next 2 years. Why in the name of goodness does the Government not have an interdepartmental committee to co-ordinate his speech writing? Here we have the cutting down of the electronics industries, the textile industries--

Senator Milliner - What did he say?

Senator CARRICK -I will give the honourable senator a copy of the Prime Minister's speech and if he can read he can read it to his edification. He will see that if he goes to where it was delivered he will learn more than he would learn from the Australian Prime Minister in the Parliament of Australia. Why do I have to pick up a newspaper today and learn that 'Whitlam Toes the Arab Line'? Why do the people of Australia have to learn from a Press conference in America what were the negotiations between the Shah of Iran and this Government? What is the explanation? Are we going to align ourselves in our economic and fiscal policies with the Arab world? It would be well if someone told us. It would be well if we had a debate on these matters. But there it is. And again I ask: Why? The article in this newspaper goes on to say that this is in opposition to the American and British policies in terms of world currency. The simple situation is that Australia is a country with 70,000 factories employing an average of 22 persons a factory. Non-clothing textile factories number 1 ,500 and they employ about 74,000 people. The clothing factories number 7,000 and employ 1 12,000 people. Then there are the glassware, footwear, electronics and furniture factories and these are the factories that are being closed down day by day.

The Budget managed in a real world to avoid mention at all of the energy crisis and any mention of the massive and perilous consequences that are likely to flow from the international currency problems. It managed to ignore anything to do with the real food and disease problems of the underprivileged countries, problems that are being pronounced day by day as more perilous. The statesmen of the world- President Ford is one- have talked about doomsday in relation to the combination of these problems. And what has Australia done? It has shut itself up in a cocoon. Where is the Government's energy policy? When we struggle to find what the energy policy of Mr Connor is we learn that apparently he proposes to put a mill in the Northern Territorya government one- and to stack up and stockpile yellow cake uranium until 1977. Let us hope that the world is stable and around in 1 977. Of course, by then the energy crisis will have been met. Our duty to provide to the world uranium, black coal and other fuels and foods is totally ignored in the Budget. Where is there any statement of our attitude to the currency crisis?

I said in this House some days ago that the total amount of money available for surplus trade reserves runs to about $160 billion in a year. Today, with the quadrupled oil price, oil is taking $120 billion of that $160 billion. It is destroying the whole concept of international monetary negotiations and therefore is bringing the world to the peril of war. But nothing is said; nothing is done. Yet we learn from a Press conference that there have been some talks with the Shah of Iran and that there will be some nation to nation deals. Presumably Iran and other countries will have some share investment in our own minerals, in our own resources. This is the atmosphere in which this Budget has been brought forward. This is the atmosphere in which the building industry has collapsed and the rate of building has been reduced by 60 to 70 per cent. By every test there is a crisis. It is not for me to look down a long nose and predict unemployment but certainly unemployment will run to 3 or 4 per cent or more.

Why is this being done? We look very simply for our answer to the Prime Minister when he was Leader of the Australian Labor Party just before the 1972 election and he gave a Fabian lecture. The whole text of his lecture was: 'People say that if Labor got in there would be no radical changes; there would only be gradual changes. ' He went on to say: 'I reject that. A Labor Government in its first 3 years of office will bring about radical changes. It will change the face of society.' He said: 'Some feel that the Australian people are too conservative to accept radical change. I reject these views. ' He then laid down the blueprint to change the face of Australia, to use his own words, to that of a democratic socialist country, a country in which the public sector is increased more and more, as is shown by the figures I have given. But lest it be thought that I am taking the views of only one person, Dr J. F. Cairns says that the system is wrong and that the cure is to change the system and bring about a socialist country. Mr Hawke, who was somewhat frenzied in his recent appearance on 'Monday Conference' because the realities of life are pressing upon him, said the same thing- the system is wrong and socialism is the cure for this. A newcomer to this chamber, Senator Button gave us some enlightenment- no doubt it was an early pre-selection speech for the Victorian when he said, according to a report in Tuesday's 'Australian', that industrial unrest, power struggles and militancy now being experienced in Australia are healthy signs. He then went on to say:

We should work toward the position of Yugoslavia where workers elect the management and run the company.

That statement proves beyond doubt that there is no sense of humour in the Labor Party. Does anyone really believe that Yugoslavia is a democratic socialist country? The world knows that it is notoriously a communist, totalitarian country. The Labor Government could not or would not send its Australian representatives to visit Australian citizens who were held in gaol for 6 months and then executed. We are to follow the pattern of Yugoslavia.

Senator Milliner - That is totally untrue, as has been proven.

Senator CARRICK - What I state has been proven to be true. On the floor of the Senate the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) announced that he was wrong when he said that these people had been killed in action; they had in fact been held in gaol for the best part of a year and then had been taken out and executed. He admitted that our people did not know they were there and had not visited them. Apparently the same difficulty occurred with Ermolenko in Australia. This is the kind of nonsense that is being advocated.

This is not a Budget of social reform which increases benefits, but one which restructures the power base of socialism. There is much talk of the increase- in nominal figures- of 78 per cent in education. Honourable senators opposite should remind themselves that in the year before that with which they are comparing there were benefits from the Karmel Committee report for only half a year and some other benefits for a third of a year. Therefore, they are comparing half a year with a full year. They should tell themselves that every education department in Australia has said that construction costs and salary increases in Australia this year will be approximately 40 per cent. So taken together there is not a penny extra to jingle in the whole education system, and the Government is talking about increases. The building program is in ruins and is disastrous. This Budget produced nominal figures showing a 33 per cent increase in public sector spending. That is an incredible increase at a time at which the private sector should have been stimulated.

It can be rightly said that the basis of what I have said has been negative, destructive and analytical of the Labor Party. That was the purpose of analysing the Budget. But one should look towards constructive things. The task at this moment is to give stimulus to the private sectorthat three-quarters of the Australian community which creates employment, and generates production and wealth. If you want to solve this problem you must enlarge and create wealth in order to distribute wealth. You cannot solve a problem simply by sharing little bits equally in this situation. The Budget is totally silent on any stimulus to take up employment. The manufacturing policy of this Government is in shambles. Can anyone tell me what the manufacturing policy is? What industries does this Government aim to sustain? Does this Government want a textile industry, a footwear industry, a clothing industry and an automotive industry? If so, why is it doing the things that it is doing? My Party is emphatic that in a country that demands labourintensive industries it is our duty to sustain industries by proper tariff walls which are sufficient to sustain them, so people can have gainfull employment of their choice, so we can buy Australian footwear and Australian electronics and so we can, to the largest extent possible, be selfsustaining both in peace and in peril. It is against that background that this whole Budget is utterly silent. There is literally no policy at all in this Budget.

The rural sector is in an incredible situation. This Government has railed and said that the rural sector was getting it better than ever before. We face a year in which costs will rise by at least 20 per cent and earnings will fall by at least 25 per cent. In general, rural industry faces a serious crisis, heavy indebtedness to the banks and finance houses and a rising pressure of costs. More than 70 per cent of all costs incurred in rural industries are incurred off the farms- in the cities, in freight rates, water, power and rates. What has this Government done? It has removed entirely all the incentives to the rural industries and said that they can swim alone. The basis has been that this Government has actively incited the militant trade unions to further militancy. Mr Whitlam says that the trade unions have never been in better hands, although Mr Hawke thinks that Mr Mundey is a bit naughty. But the federal bodies of the Seamens' Union of Australia, the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, the Ship Painters and Dockers Union, the Australian Railways Union and the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union are communist controlled. The AMWU has 65 full time communist officials. Mr Hawke says that he does not like Mr Mundey and what he says. But Mr Hawke has his power base as President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions because of Mr Carmichael, Mr Halfpenny, Mr Elliot V. Elliott and Mr Owens, all of" whom are of the same communist ideology as Mr Mundey. Mr Whitlam says that the trade unions have never been in better hands. The community is being held to ransom, not by decent trade unionists. I make the point that if I were working for a wage as a unionist, as I have done, I would be seeking more and more nominal wages to try to catch up with the inflation that this Government has created. I make no comment at all upon the decent unionists. I make the comment about the militant communist and pro-communist leaders who are seeking, for their ideological reasons, to destroy the system. I conclude by saying that this Budget -

Senator Milliner - You are kicking the can again.

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