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Wednesday, 4 December 1974
Page: 3121

Senator CAVANAGH (South AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - in reply- I am grateful to the Opposition for its support of this Bill and, despite what possibly may have been unnecessary delay in speaking to it for a reasonably speedy passage. I thank Senator Carrick for his statements about what the BUI seeks to do and about the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) who is responsible for the Bill. Nowhere have we seen or heard any complaint about the Bill. I think we all realise that Senator Carrick is quite a brilliant orator and very persuasive. He even persuaded me. I do not think anyone can claim that a pile of papers 3 feet high is needed for the purpose of getting a loan from the Government. It may have been an exaggeration for the purpose of demonstrating a point. Much less voluminous paper work should be necessary. Of course all this has no relation to the Bill.

The Bill, as Senator Carrick pointed out, seeks to do 3 things. Two of these are consultation with the States and agreement with the States. The third is to ensure that when the agreement is reached it is filed here. Because this is the type of action that Senator Carrick wants of this Government he condemned the Government's action in other aspects because we are not doing the same thing. He went on to refer to the philosophy of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam)- what he said in a Fabian lecture and what he said in his book on Labor and the Constitution in which he says that there must be more control. I think thatSenator Gietzelt replied to this when he said that we have introduced a lot of legislation for the purpose of improving the standard of living of the Australian community. At times when it has been found that there have been many mistakes and faults in areas under State control we have had to come in and impose conditions on the States. This Bill does not do that. As Senator Carrick said, even if the Minister desired to do that he has not got the power to do so. Therefore, there is no disagreement about this Bill at all.

The only opposition to this Bill related to clause 7(3), and the Opposition in the other place sought to amend the clause. The clause required the States to provide to the Minister the information that he desired in relation to programs. As I said, the Opposition in the other place objected to this clause. I think that the Minister would have been justified in keeping it in the Bill- at least he had the power to do so- but graciously he said that in this matter there will be full co-operation with the States and he agreed to the Opposition's request to take that provision out of the Bill. He demonstrated his cooperation. I believe that the Opposition in the other place agreed that the Minister should have the information which he required submitted to him.

The only other point I make- I do not want to make politics out of this- is that it grieves Senator Carrick to think that a Bill with which he wholeheartedly agrees, which he propagates and which he says should be followed by other Bills, is the product of this Government. He tries to detract from that somewhat by saying: 'We thought of it. We planned it in 1972. The McMahon Government set up DURD and it turned into the Cities Commission'. That was possibly so, and I do not want to take away any credit that may be due to the McMahon Government. But the Liberal-Country Party Government had 23 years in which to set up this department and it did so only in 1972.

We have seen the concentration of population in the cities and the creation of sub-standard living conditions. This Government is acting and it is determined to act to deal with this problem. It has introduced this Bill which provides for complete co-operation with the States. We are prepared to back it up financially for the purpose of developing this program. At least give us credit for that. Although, by agreeing to this Bill, it could be suggested that the Opposition is giving some credit to this Government, the Opposition is not opposing the Bill. I thank the Opposition for its assistance in getting the Bill through the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

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