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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2331

Senator MILLINER (Queensland) - I am sorry that honourable senators who have taken part in this debate- and Senator Baume in particular- have not referred to the material that has been supplied to them. I know that it is difficult at times for honourable senators to read and comprehend the multitudinous amount of material that is supplied to them. But only recently honourable senators received a publication entitled 'Guidelines for Pilot ProgramAustralian Assistance Plan, October 1974'.

Senator Baume - If you had been listening -

Senator MILLINER - Now, please Senator Baume -

Senator Baume - If you had been in the chamber you would have heard me quote extensively from that document.

Senator MILLINER - If the honourable senator had the document why did he ask the question that he asked tonight? For instance, let me refer to some of the material to which the honourable senator could have referred to find the answers. For instance, paragraph 3.1 states:

The function of Regional Councils is to stimulate interest and activity in the broad field of social development. They should give added impetus to initiatives within their regions to provide a wider range of welfare services and to test innovative programs for service delivery.

This indicates to the honourable senator what the regional councils would be required to do. Another section of the pilot program details future anticipated events during the pilot period. Details of the first event read as follows:

(a)   responsibility for payment of grants will be transferred from Central Office to the Department's State Headquarters in the six State capital cities- the State Headquarters (and eventually the Regional Offices) will be the point of contact with the Department by Regional Councils:

The document goes on to give the details of other future events. In any case, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson really pointed out to the honourable senator, if he had listened to him, what was the situation. It is a pilot study. Again, if the honourable senator refers to the document he will see that paragraph 1.12 (f) states: enabling legislation will be introduced into the Parliament.

This will be done after we have taken all the necessary steps to see that this system is being run efficiently by other people. Senator Greenwood, in his customary form, tries to ridicule anything that anybody says. The fact remains that this is precisely what happened in regard to the Meals on Wheels organisation. Meals on Wheels was established. Very good people in the community gave their voluntary services to that wonderful organisation. After it was established in a pilot study way, legislation was enacted. Honourable senators opposite must know that of their own experience. But because the Australian Government has introduced something on this occasion that some honourable senators opposite do not like personally, they try to denigrate members of the regional councils who voluntarily give their services to this very noble work. They find that everything is wrong with the Plan. These honourable senators remind me of the fellow who goes to the beautiful botanic gardens. He walks around and sees all the wonderful displays of flowers in the gardens. The head gardener says to him: 'What do you think of the gardens?'. The man says: "There is a weed over there'. These honourable senators opposite do not look at the beauty of things. They look for the unnecessary points of view. Of course, that is typical of the attitude of honourable senators opposite when they refer to the trade union movement. If only they knew what the trade union movement had done in the social welfare field they would not be so keen to speak in such a fashion as they do about the trade union movement. Mr Chairman, let me tell you and honourable senators of a wonderful organisation that is established in Queensland today. It was established by an ex-judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Senator Bonner - What would you -

Senator MILLINER - Senator Bonner,you would not know the first thing about it. This organisation was established by an ex-judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland. I trust that I assisted in the establishment of that organisation in the first place. But do honourable senators know who was the first honorary secretary of this organisation? It was the secretary of the Electrical Trades Union, Archie Dawson. The treasurer of the organisation was the secretary of the Federated Furnishing Trade Society of Australasia, Mr Hart. There are many other trade union officials who were interested in assisting that organisation and who still do assist it. But they would receive no credit for that from Senator Greenwood. He is so prejudiced in his outlook against the trade union movement and against trade unionists that he can never see anything good that they may have done for mankind. Let me assure honourable senators that trade unions have done plenty that is to the advantage of: the people of Australia. I refer again to the document to which I referred a while ago entitled .'Guidelines for PilOt Program'. Senator Baume asked how these organisations account for the money. I invite him to look at Appendix H. This form is addressed to the DirectorGeneral, Department of Social Security. The organisation is required to submit its name and state that it accepts the offer in the letter from the Director General of funds for the purposes of the Australian Assistance Plan for social development. Then, the organisation is required, as stated in this letter:

(a)   to provide to the Department of Social Security estimates of expenditure followed by certified progress reports of expenditure, at intervals required by the Department, in order that it may qualify for the continuing receipt of the Australian Government funds;

(b)   to apply the funds for the purposes for which and in accordance with the terms upon which they are respectively provided; and

(c)   in the event that any funds are not required for application or cannot be applied as aforesaid, to refund to your Department such funds as arc not required or capable of application.

What safeguards additional to those do honourable senators want from a voluntary organisation? There are others if honourable senators would bother to look. If honourable senators read precisely what the work of the organisations is they Will find that information in the document. I refer now to the scathing criticism of some of the people who have volunteered their services for the regional councils. Honourable senators know these things, but in order to try to denigrate the work of the Australian Government they elect not to make known what they should disclose. I shall make the information known to the chamber now. Mr Chipp, in another place, asked the Minister for Social Security (Mr Hayden):

Who are the members of the Rockhampton Social Welfare Development Planning Council, and what organisations do they represent?

Do honourable senators opposite ever read? Do they know what is going on around them? The Minister answered. I want honourable senators opposite to take really serious notice of the personnel of the Rockhampton Social Welfare Development Planning Council and the organisations which they represent. The first is Canon R. Philp, who is a member of the Anglican Diocesan Social Responsibilities Committee. The second is Dr A. Appleton. He is the director of the Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education. The third is Mrs M. Nott who is an occupational therapist with the Department of Community Medicine. Mr John Provan is a medical supervisor at the Rockhampton Base Hospital. Sister Anne-Marie is a social worker and director of the Catholic Social Welfare Centre. She is a senior counsellor of the Queensland Marriage Guidance Council, Rockhampton Centre. Mr D. Jamieson is a director of the Social Security Department, Rockhampton. Mr P. Braddey is a solicitor. Perhaps if he were a barrister that might impress Senator Greenwood more. Mr G. Edminstone is liaison officer, Department of Aboriginal and Island Affairs and Mrs P. Power is a member of the Queensland Marriage Guidance Council.

I ask honourable senators opposite to compare the work of those people in the community with what they are advocating tonight. They are suggesting that local councillors should do this very important work which is asked of regional councils. Who do honourable senators opposite think would be better equipped to do this work? The local councillor who, in the main, is a part dme councillor running his own business or working, or people of the calibre of those I have mentioned who understand what is required of them? Senator Greenwood would say that we should give this job to local councillors. Did you ever hear anything so absurd in all your born days? It is of no use saying that we do not know these things. I repeat that they are in Hansard.

I now turn to members of the Townsville Welfare Council and the organisations which they represent. They are: Mr P. Doughtry, Marriage Counselling Centre; Mrs J. Innes-Reid, Townsville General Hospital and the City Council- the City Council has been invited to attend; Dr I. Atkinson, Townsville General Hospital and the City Council; Mrs M. Campbell, Senior Citizens Welfare Association; Mr B. Leakey, St. Vincent de Paul Society; Mrs A. Butler, student counsellor; Miss M. Gindhart, St Raphael's College, James Cook University; Mr M. Reynolds, Specific Learning Difficulties Association; Mr A. Spance, Crippled Childrens Society; Miss G. Gorman, Department of Social Security; Miss D. Wilson, Community Health Services; Dr J. Mayo, Department of Economics, James Cook University; and Major J. Patterson, Community Services Organisation Section of the Army.

Do any of those persons sound as if they are Communists, trying to weave their way into all the organisations which are set up to the advantage of people of Australia? I ask: Where is the Communist in there? Senator Greenwood is the one who raises the Communist bogey all the way. Let him now say which of those people are Communists. If those representatives were to come from the trade union movement, that is the first thing he would say. On behalf of my colleagues in the trade union movement I express my keen disappointment that Senator Greenwood and others on the opposite side of the chamber have attempted to smear this legislation. They know that it is to the advantage of the people of Australia. They know the calibre of the people who have been asked to work on these regional councils. But that does not satisfy the honourable senators. Because the Australian Government has had sufficient initiative to do something of this nature they condemn the Government on that ground alone. The Honourable senators should be positively ashamed of themselves for ever suggesting that the people whose names I have read out tonight and who are acting in an honorary capacity should be the subject of any scrutiny by honourable senators opposite or by people like them.

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