Date: 13 May 1993
Before the High Court sent me packing I had been asking honourable
members on both sides of the House why they were so addicted to
free trade policies and a fictitious level playing field. In this,
the 37th, Parliament it seems this addiction is still with us
I direct my question to the Prime Minister. Notwithstanding the
claims of the Prime Minister and the Treasurer to the contrary,
most observers are of the opinion that the budget is regressive
Does the reaction of Labor Party members indicate a widening gulf
between the rank and file and the inner sanctum of the cabinet?
Can the Prime Minister explain to the House how it is that he and
the Treasurer could produce a budget so unpopular with the rank
and file of the parliamentary party, the true believers and the
Finally, does the Prime Minister accept the proposition that this
was a budget designed to appease financial markets and that, as
Kenneth Davidson argued in the Age last Saturday, the Commonwealth
has abdicated its responsibility for unemployment?
The Prime Minister went on to say: There are remedies. He can always
apply to come back, but it is a big question whether we would ever
have him. Firstly, I wish to make it clear that, contrary to the
Prime Minister's implication, I have never been a member of the
Labor Party and therefore, by definition, I could not apply to come
Secondly, the Prime Minister's accusation that I am a fink needs
to be corrected. To describe me as a fink as in a contemptible or
undesirable person is a matter of opinion to which the Prime Minister
is entitled. To describe me as a fink as in a strike-breaker or
blackleg is an assertion of fact which is totally unfounded. I wish
to go on record that, as a teacher unionist, I never once blacklegged
on my comrades.
Mr CLEARY (Wills)
It has been a grand morning for the rewriting of history. It seems
that honourable members from both sides of the House have burnt
the midnight oil searching through their history texts. Honourable
members on my right have tearfully looked back to good old Bob,
once called Pig Iron Bob as he loaded the bullets for the Japanese
prior to the Second World War. He, we are told, is the coalition's
saviour. What a joke!
Here we have the rabid free traders harking back to the good old
protectionist days of Black Jack McEwen and the Anglophile Menzies
who, when the economy was going through a tough trot, slipped in
import quotas to protect Australian industry from imports. Are opposition
members trying to tell the House that they are now great supporters
of protectionism rather than free trade? Are we to expect a private
member's bill supporting increased tariffs and the resumption of
Mr CLEARY (Wills) (1.10 p.m.)
Those who have read just a modicum of Australian history or heard
a few stories around the kitchen table would be aware of the role
of the British empire in the war that left 60,000 Australian soldiers
dead and 137,000 wounded between 1914 and 1918. Anyone with such
knowledge would have been more than a little confused by the latest
foray of the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) into military history,
GATT and free trade in his now famous victory speech at Villers-Bretonneux.
There was me believing Australian soldiers were thinking only of
England when they rushed off to Europe to defend the cherished British
Empire of the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Tim Fischer). I never
thought to tell my history students that those who fought in the
trenches were really defending the French in the knowledge that,
80 years later, their sacrifice would be a key bargaining chip in
Australia's push for a pure international free trade regime.
Mr CLEARY (Wills)
I read with great disappointment in today's press comments attributed
to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Gareth Evans) in relation
to the proposed visit to Australia by the President of Sinn Fein,
Mr Gerry Adams.
In demanding that Adams publicly renounce the use of violence,
the minister displays a very poor understanding of the historical
circumstances which have produced the republican movement. Such
statements also misrepresent the nature and source of violence in
Northern Ireland. The minister of course did not bother to ask Prince
Charles whether he would renounce the use of terror by the armed
forces in Northern Ireland.
My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Many in this House
welcome official statements which indicate the government's commitment
to the achievement of a sovereign, independent Australia. The Prime
Minister himself has consistently accused the coalition of tugging
the forelock on such matters.
In this context, why did the Prime Minister allow the foreign
minister to flag the imposition of visa conditions on any proposed
visit by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams which shows duplicity on the
issue of violence in Northern Ireland and simply mirrors the confrontationist
approach of the British government? Furthermore, how does he respond
to those who argue that the government's position on East Timor,
like its position on Gerry Adams, shows a distinct lack of independence?
Mr CLEARY (Wills)--(7.29 p.m.)
What a pathetic exhibition we have seen in the parliament from
the honourable member for O'Connor (Mr Tuckey) and the honourable
member for Stirling (Mr Cameron) in relation to Carmen Lawrence
and whatever else tickled their fancy. We had the decrepit character
from Western Australia, the honourable member for O'Connor, calling
Carmen Lawrence a murderer last week.
Now we have the honourable member for Stirling sanctimoniously
asking members on the other side of the House to withdraw comments
made about him while he uses parliamentary privilege to engage in
a typically vicious attack on another member's character in the
standard coward's castle. The words `dishonest', `immoral' and `self-centred'
rolled off the tongue....
Mr CLEARY (Wills)
It would be remiss of me not to give the House a bit of a resume
of the thoughts of the great Bronwyn Bishop--certainly they do not
rival the thoughts of the great Chairman Mao.
Her thoughts were reported in the Sunday Sun. Mrs Bishop got quite
an extensive little run in the paper and I have never read more
twaddle in my life. Bronwyn Bishop tells us that the big problem
with Australia is workers. The trade unions are the problem. That
is why there is unemployment. Unemployment is due to trade unions.
Of course, Kelty is a mongrel. He should never have got his finger
into this regional economic task force.
It is funny, is it not? Everyone in the House has been spruiking
about regional economic development--the National Party is hot to
trot on it; it came from the Labor side--but not Bronny Bishop,
the next leader of the Liberal Party. She has not got a clue.
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Violence Against Women
Mr CLEARY--I also have a question for the Attorney-General. Despite
the offerings of former broadcaster Terry Lane and filmmaker Don
Parham on the issue of violence against women, feminists continue
to argue that the criminal justice system is biased against women.
Contrary to the Victorian Law Reform Commission's 1989 finding
that there was no gender bias in the law of provocation, critics,
including myself, believe, as Dr Adrian Howe of La Trobe University
said: The commission suffered from its singular failure to address
the key issues raised by feminist analysts as well as from a faulty
empirical study. Given your government's expressed concern for the
rights of women, will you guarantee to put the issue of the defence
of provocation, including its gender biased interpretation by some
judges, on the agenda at the next meeting of state and federal attorneys-general?
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS Fitzroy Football Club
Mr CLEARY (Wills)
I concur with the comments of my learned Independent comrade the
honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Mack) about the preparedness
of the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) to spend money in Sydney. Down
in Melbourne we are starting to wonder whether this is a government
for--dare I say it--the New South Wales Right and the Sydneysiders
or a government for the whole of Australia.
We will have our airport sold to fund the Badgerys Creek airport,
and we are not too happy about that. Honourable members might be
aware that, at my behest, the Fitzroy Football Club--a club which
I do not barrack for; I barrack for Carlton and, unfortunately,
since John Elliott took over Carlton it has been very hard to barrack
for it--moved its training quarters to the Coburg city oval, in
the middle of what used to be Labor territory.
Our big problem is how to fund this manoeuvre and how to refurbish
the Coburg football ground when there is no money for regional economic
Mr CLEARY (Wills) (2.54 p.m.)
Mr Deputy Speaker, I certainly feel for your having to sit there
and listen to the kind of waffle that the honourable member for
O'Connor (Mr Tuckey) has just gone on with. He was allocated 20
minutes to speak but you will notice that he spoke for only 15 minutes
because he had nothing to say.
Mr Tuckey--Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. I was asked
to speak for only 10 minutes so this donkey could speak for 10 minutes
before question time. It is outrageous for him to say that. I wanted
to speak for another 20 minutes, you flea.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hollis)--Order! The honourable member for
O'Connor will withdraw that word. Mr Tuckey--I withdraw my comment
that he is a flea, but that is what makes other people scratch.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER--That is all you have to do. Now sit down.
I thank the member's party for giving him only 10 minutes. What
his party should have done was give its last 20 speakers only 10
minutes. What a lot of drivel we have heard. We thought the Human
Rights (Sexual Conduct) Bill was about what consenting adults could
do in private sexually, but we found out it was about female circumcision,
abortion and incest