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Wednesday, 4 December 1974
Page: 3130

Senator MARRIOTT (Tasmania) -I second the amendment. I realise that, figuratively speaking, bags are being packed and it is either home for Christmas or to Europe in a Boeing 707. I suppose one could be accused of speaking at the wrong time but I speak because I believe that certain things I am going to say should go on the record. Under a normal government, a government of efficiency and sincerity, a government that works with and not against its own Public Service, we would have had plenty of opportunity as an upper House to debate these taxation measures without hurry. What I am going to say could be said of all the taxation measures arising from the Budget and miniBudgets that have been brought into this Parliament since 17 September. What has happened in respect of the Budgets, the finances and the economy of this country has proved the ineptitude of the Government. It has to my way of thinking, shown that as a government the Australian Government is lazy and in its presentation or in its delay of presentation of legislation to the Parliament it is attempting to be cunning.

Yesterday there was a lot of reporting of the celebrations marking the second year of Labor in government. It was the second year, the third Budget and the second Treasurer. What a recommendation. What an indication of how much at sea this Government is in respect of both Australia and itself. Nobody could deny that the outgoing Treasurer, Mr Crean, is one of the gentlemen of the Parliament. I would be sure that he would not have a critic or an enemy in this Parliament unless it were in the inner Cabinet. Yet, he is being ditched, sent down, because of the state of the economy. Soon after his removal from the office of Treasurer was announced the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) was attacking Treasury officials because he implied that they were either late in providing or kept from him important information regarding the economy. If there was any truth in that the Prime Minister had plenty of time to make inquiries about the state of the economy because throughout the election campaign before 18 May he was continually told about the need to reduce taxation and that the fight was about inflation, but he would not listen. He now finds that the economy is in a mess prior to his leaving us on an overseas trip for 5 weeks without having to face the music from the many unemployed in this country. There is not one newspaper or commentator in this land who has not impressed publicly upon the Prime Minister that his duty at this time is to stay in Australia and not leave it to a new Treasurer, an acting Prime Minister and a Cabinet that does not know where it is going.

Under normal circumstances- things were not normal this year- we would have had the Budget brought down in August and up to mid-October we would have debated Budget legislation and subsequent social legislation. This year, because of the double dissolution- that was the excuse which was given- the Budget was not brought down until 17 September. Instead of the Senate getting in October the real Budget legislation such as taxation measures we have for discussion legislation at a time which many think is the eve of the break-up for the Christmas recess and we are meant to hurry through the legislation. This demonstrates the Government's cunning. It wants us to be silenced. All I will say about this is that I will not be silenced when I believe it is my duty to speak up in criticism ofthe way this country is being run. I hope that the electors of Queensland will- only they will be able to show this on Saturday by their vote; they can speak for the people of Australia; it is a big and healthy State and can speak for the rest of this land- give a hint to the Government that it should either improve its ways or get out and make way for the return of a Liberal government.

I remind the people who sling off at the 23 years of Liberal government that in the last 10 or 12 years of that period the accepted slogan throughout this land by unbiassed people and by unbiassed commentators was that we lived in a happy developing country which the world, our neighbours and friends knew as 'Australia unlimited'. Now it is Australia limited by the fears and worries that beset us. This year will go down in history as the one in which Australia economically has gone down in strength and brought more worries to more people than any year since the great Depression of the 1930s. When the election campaign was on it was interesting to note the 2 themes adopted by the Labor Party in its advertisements, and this was particularly noticeable in Tasmania. One theme was that 'only Snedden will cause unemployment*. Now, unfortunately, it has been shown that the Whitlam Government has been the cause in many respects- this was illustrated by Senator Carrick who preceded me in this debate- of the unemployment situation.

In today's newspapers we read that some time next year interest on housing loans for young people may be reduced 2 per cent or 3 per cent. This is a very long delayed fulfilment of a promise on which hundreds of dollars was spent in advertising that only Labor, only Whitlam, would reduce- not 'could'- housing loan interest for young people. These people have waited and waited and they are now told, before we go home for Christmas, that with interest rates higher than they have ever been before in this country they will have to wait until next year when this Parliament will have before it legislation to reduce interest rates perhaps by 2 per cent or 3 per cent which will still leave the rate of interest for home buyers at a rate higher than it was when this Government came into office 2 years ago.

I want to explain why, in my view, the Opposition is going to allow this legislation to pass. I believe it has been a right decision to say that when the Government's Budget is introduced, its fiscal policy is either accepted or thrown out. I do not believe an Opposition is right to pick and choose as regards what part of a fiscal policy it will let through and what part it will endeavour to block if it can get the numbers. In my view a Budget in the national Parliament either should get through or be thrown out, and it was decided, obviously after much thought, that the Budget should go through. In my view, when the Government realised that it purposely delayed legislation until the close of this session in the hope that we would not show up the criticism that we have and which we know the people feel is right in respect of the history and the misdoings of this Government. I second the amendment to the motion because I believe it puts succinctly what we feel and what the people will show they realise is correct when next they have the opportunity to cast their vote.

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