Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 20 November 1974
Page: 2604

Senator COTTON - I rise to comment briefly and quickly on the point of order. It seems to me that it is highly relevant in a debate on housing finance to discuss the costs and problems of building houses. I suggest that in that area Senator Webster has been helping us greatly.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McAuliffe)- I thank Senator Brown for inviting my attention to standing order 42 1. Having read the standing order I agree with him that Senator Webster has been straying from the Bill. I was inclined to uphold the point of order raised by Senator Brown but the balance was tipped the other way by Senator Cotton who invited my attention to the fact that Senator Webster was speaking about the economics of the building industry. That could have been interpreted in some small way as wandering from the purpose of the Bill. In those circumstances I will not uphold the point of order but I request Senator Webster to devote his attention to the contents of the Bill before the Senate for the remainder of his speech as this is a very important measure and a lot of people are waiting for it to be passed by this chamber.

Senator WEBSTER - I acknowledge that you concede that I was dealing with the economics of the Bill and I regret that some Government senators are not aware of the economic effect -


Senator Webster, please -

Senator WEBSTER -Mr Acting Deputy President, I may be permitted to deal with this Bill as I think fit provided that I deal with this Bill on a basis -

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTOrder! You will deal with the Bill in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Senate as they are interpreted by the Senate. I ask you, particularly as you are Chairman of Committees, to show some respect to the Chair. You will get the full protection of the Chair while I occupy it but I ask you to continue the debate in accordance with the Standing Orders and not in a manner in which you see fit.

Senator WEBSTER -There has not been one word that I have uttered which is not in relation to the housing industry, and if I am pulled up at any stage for debating something other than these housing Bills I will accept the comment. But, as you said, Mr Acting Deputy President, I was dealing with the economics of the housing industry and if Government senators are unable to see that then I plead with them to try to see it. The economics of the housing industry relate directly to the granting of money to the States and to the housing societies. What the Government is doing is creating an enormous loss for employees in the building industry. The quality of life of any nation is reflected in the first instance by the standard of housing and its environment. The living standards of the Australian community depend upon adequate and sufficient housing.

The present Bill makes some attempt to distribute money to various areas where it may be needed. But having encouraged high costs in the industry and a steep rise in the interest rate the Government is now finding that individuals in the industry will not be able to obligate themselves to meet these costs and interest rates in the ensuing months.

Senator BROWN (VICTORIA) - Why do you not--

Senator WEBSTER - Will you please listen, Senator Brown. If you do not listen now you will not understand that individuals, with the level of their salary, will not be able to purchase houses because of the cost of money and the rising cost of houses today. Mr Acting Deputy President, will you allow me to mention land? It is an important component. A government senator interjected and said that developers or land speculators have created some bad thing in the community. The fact is that fewer blocks of housing land are available today than there have been in previous years. The cost may be very high when private enterprise develops land. People do not have to buy the land if they do not want it. There is land at very low cost in Victoria. I could take honourable senators and show them. The price of housing blocks in the Australian Capital Territory, where the Federal Government has had control over land for the last 2 years, ranges from $4,000 to $10,000. I should like to know why under a Labor socialist government the cost of developing a block of land varies so much that one individual may have to pay $10,000 but another may have to pay $4,000.

Senator Button - There is a very simple answer.

Senator WEBSTER - It is a very simple view for very simple people, but it is the fact. I hope the Minister will tell us how the criticism of private enterprise in this matter can be maintained against the experience of socialist government development. The facts are that we must see that there is adequate development of housing in this community. We must see that there is a national pride in the achievement by this community, as was previously the position, of the highest possible rate of home ownership. That rate of home ownership is being lost, because this Government does not want to see home ownership. It wants to see ownership by Government and that will be achieved by Labor socialist philosophy.

Suggest corrections