PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2430

THE QUEENSLAND LIBERAL CONVENTION - SPEECH NOTES FOR THE PRIME MINISTER - SUNDAY 13 JUNE 1971

Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/06/1971

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 2430

EIMBA RGOED UNTIL 3. 30 PM lON SUNDAY 13 JUNE
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
TPI-M QUT! 7E'SL'' D LIBE ,? ALCONEV2
SPEECHI NOTES ; POR TEE~ P'. RL? 3 ViINISTEa
SUINTDAY, 13 JUNET, 1971.

GENTLEMEN: THIS IS MY SECOND VISIT TO QUEENSLAND SINCE
I BECAME PRIME MINISTER. I AM GLAD TO BE HERE FOR
TWO PARTICULAR REASONS.
. ONE IS THAT I KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS
FOR THE LEADER OF THE FEDERAL PARLIAMENTARY
LIBERALS TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE ORGANISATION AND
ITS MEMBERS AT STATE LEVEL AS WELL AS FEDERAL
LEVEL. THE OTHER IS THAT THE SUCCESS OF THE
LIBERALS IN QUEENSLAND WILL HAVE A SIGNIFICANT BEARING
ON THE OUTCOME OF THE NEXT FEDERAL ELECTION
LET ME SAY I KNOW WE CAN WIN, BUT I WANT US
TO WIN HANDSOMELY. TO DO THAT WE MUST BE BUSY IN
THE RIGHT WAY AND WE MUST GET BUSY RIGHT AWAY.
THERE IS NO DOUBT WE WILL BE JUDGED BY OUR PERFORMANCE
AND OUR PERFORMANCE WILL DEPEND ON HOW STRONGLY
WE PULL TOGETHER WITH OUR COALITION COLLEAGUES. / 2

SPEAKING FOR THL PARLIAMENTARY PARTY, WANT
TO HAVE A GOOD AND INTIMATE WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITHTHE
PARTY ORGANISATION. BOB SOUTH-EY STRESSED THE
IMPORTANCE OF THIS AT OUR FEDERAL COUNCIL [ N CANBERRA
THE OTHER DAY.
I AGREE WITH-WHAT HE SAID. I DO NOT LOOK AT THE
PARLIAMENTARY PARTY AS A LAW UNTO ITSELF. IT IS BOUND
BY THE PRINCIPLES AND PLATFORM OF THE LIBE:( AL PARTY.
THESE ARE BROAD ENOUGH AND FLEXIBLE ENOUGH FOR THE
PARLIAMENTARY PARTY TO HAVE EL3DW ROOM IN HOW IT APP3LIES
THEM TO SPECIFIC ISSUES.
THE ORGANISATION WOULD NEVER WANT US TO BE
" DUMB, DRIVEN CATTLE", LIKE OUR OPPOSITION, HAVING
LITTLE LATITUDE AND VIRTUALLY NO FREEDOM FROM THE
DICTATORSHIP OF A FEDERAL CONFERENCE. BY THE SAME TOKEN,
1, FOR ONE, DO NOT EXPECT THE PARLIAME~ NTARY PARTY TO
JUST RUN WILD ON THE RANGE.
THEN IT REMAINS ESSENTIALLY A LIBERAL CONCEPT
THAT THE PARLIAMENTARY PARTY HAS SUBSTANTIAL DISCRETION
IN WHAT IT DOES. BUT IT HAS TO USE THAT DISCRETION WISELY,
AND IT ALSO HAS TO SUCCEED.
LIKE BOB SOUTHEY, I BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE TO
LISTEN TO WHAT THE MEMBERS, THE BRANCHES AND THE
COUNCILS HAVE TO SAY. THIS IS ONE AREA WHERE WE MUST
LOOK FOR NEW IDEAS. THIS IS WH-ERE SO MANY OF OUR REFORMS

BEGIN. TIS [ S WHERE THE ROOTS OF OUR SUCCESS OR FAILURE
GO DOWN. TI-EN IT IS UP TO TIHE PARLIAMENTARY PARTY TO
INTERPRET PARTY POLICY IN ITS OWN WAY AND WITH A TIMING
OF ITS OWN CHOOSING WHEN IT COMES TO LEGISLATIVE ACTION.
I BELIEVJE THE PARLIAMENTARY PARTY IS IN GOOD
HEART AND IT WILL BE IN GOOD SHAPE FOR THE NEXT ELECTION.
CO-OPERATION WITH THE STATES
A GOOD DEAL HAS BEEN SAID LATELY ABOUT TI-E
FEDERAL SYSTEM AND I ACKNOWLEIDGE H-ERE THE LEADING
k~ 7 ROLE THE FEDERALS COUNCIL AND THE PARTY ORGANISATION
I-AS PLAYED IN UNDERPINNING IT IN A MODERN CONTEXT.
I BELIEVE IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM.
I RESPECT AND UNDERSTAND THE POSITION AND
RIGHTS OF THE STATES. I DO NOT BELIEVE IN CENTRALISATION
OR IN A CONTRIVED FLOW OF POWER TO THE CENTRE THAT
ERODES TI-E SOVEREIGNTY OF TI-E STATES.
IN SOME MATTERS LIKE NATIONAL ECONOMIC
MANAGEMENT, DEFENCE AND TRADE, THE COMMON WEALTHMUST
HAV'E NATIONAL POWERS, BUT THESE CAN BE H-ELD WITH-OUT
DAMAGE TO THE STATES, GIVEN CO-OPERATION AND GOODWILL
ON BOTH SIDES.

OUR INTENTION TO ARRANGE A GROWTH TAX
WITH THE STATES WHICh WE WILL BE DISCUSSING NEXT
WEEK IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE EFFORT WE ARE MAKING
TO MAKE THE FEDERAL SYSTEM WORK MORE EFFECTIVELY.
CANBERRA AND BRISBANE CAN WORK TOGETHER
EFFECTIVELY. THE QUEENSLAND AND COMMONWEALTH
GOVERNMENTS HAVE COME SOME DISTANCE IN OUR RECENT
TALKS ON ABORIGINES AND ON THE INQUIRIES WE AGREED ON
TOGETHER, INTO OIL DRILLING ON THE BARRIER REEF, THE
CROWN OF THORNS STARFISH AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE
REEF AS A TOURIST DESTINATION.
I QUOTE THESE ONLY AS EXAMPLES OF THE
VALUE OF GETTING TOGETHER. THERE IS A HOST OF OTHER
MATTERS AND MANY OF TH'EM WILL BE GIVEN AN AIRING AT
THE PREMIERS' CONFERENCE IN CANBERRA IN THE NEXT
FEW DAYS.
THE RECORD AND THE FUTURE
I THINK THE PROBLEMS WE ARE UP AGAINST AS A
GOVERNMENT ARE THESE:
THE CONTINUING INDUSTRIAL UNREST WHICH IS
COMPOUNDING THE EFFECTS OF INFLATIONARY
PRESSURES ON THE ECONOMY.

( II) THE NEED TO LIMIT SOME OF THE REFORMS WE
WANT TO MAKE BECAUSE WE H4AVE TO WATCH
PUBLIC SPENDING AS AN ANTI-INFLATONARY
MEASURE.
( 111) THERE IS A NEED FOR A POSITIVE DISPLAY OF VITALITY
IN THE ORGANISATION. THE AUSTRALIAN LIKES
TO THINK ABOUT HAVING A CHANGE EVEN WHEN
THINGS ARE GOING RIGHT FOR HIM.
NONE OF THESE PROBLEMS IS BEYOND US. I IKNOW
WE CAN H-ANDLE THEM TO TH4E SATISFACTION OF THE
ELECTORATE, BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE COMPLACENT ABOUT
IT, AND THERE ARE SOME ASPECTS OF THESE PROBLEMS
BEYOND THE AUTHORITY OF GOVERNMENTS.
WE MUST TREAT EACH PROBLEM AS URGENT
AND EACH DAY AS A DAY TO GET SOMETHING MORE DONE.
THE RECORD OF THE LAST THREE MONTHS IS GOOD.
SOME OF MY STAFF WENT THROUGH TH-E LIST
OF ADMINISTRATIVE AND LEGISLATIVE CHANGES TH-E OTHER
DAY AND CAME UP WITH THIRTY OR MORE WORTHWHILE
ACHIEVEMENTS OF A NATIONAL CHARACTER WE HAVE DONE
AS A GOVERNMENT SINCE TE-MIDDLE OF MARCH.

WON'T GO THROUGH TI-EM ALL HEAVEN FORBID
BUT LET ME MENTION TIHREE OR FOUR OF THEM.
FIRST, OUR MEETING WITH THE STATES WHEN WE
AGREED ON SOME EMERGENCY FINANCE TO HELP THEIR
DEFICITS WAS A GOOD BEGINNING. THE ATMOSPHERE WAS
CORDIAL, THOUGH-I RETAIN A HEALTHY RESPECT FOR THE
TOUGHNESS AND SKILLS OF THE PREMIERS.
I HOPE OUR FORTHCOMING MEETING WILL TAKE
PLACE IN THE SAME SPIRIT AND 1 SEE NO REASON WHY IT
SHOULD NOT. THEN THERE WAS SPECIAL ASSISTANCE TO
PENSIONERS TO MEET THE DRAIN ON THEIR RESOURCES
FOLLOWING THE UNEXPECTED RISE IN THE NATIONAL WAGE.
THERE WAS THE DEPARTMENTAL REORGANISATION
IN CANBERRA TO SPEED-UP THE POLICY-MAKING FUNCTIONS
OF GOVERNMENT AND THE CREATION OF A NEW MINISTRY
TO GIVE SPECIAL ATTIN TION TO THE ENVIRONMENT,
ABORIGINES AND THE ARTS.
AND THEN, IN FOREIGN POLLCY, WE BROUGHT UP
INTO OUR FOCUS OUR FUTURE RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA, WITH
THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND JAPAN.

WE ALSO JOINED TUE ORGANISAT ION FOR ECONOMIC
CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT.
OTHER ACTIVITIES COVERED NEW LEGISLATION
ON LAW AND ORDER, A REVIEW OF THE ARBITRATION SYSTEM,
SPECIAL AID FOR OUR HARD-PRESSED RURAL INDUSTRIES AND
PLANS FOR A NEW PROGRAMME FOR PAPUA-NEW GUINEA TO
GIVE IT AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE ITS OWN CHOICE OF A DATE
FOR INTERNAL SELF-GOVERNMENT.
I WOULD LIKE TO ADD HERE A FEW WORDS ON THE
AID WE ARE GIVING TO REFUGEES FROM EAST PAKISTAN IN INDIA.
TI-IS IS THE SCENE OF A GREAT HUMAN TRAGEDY.
OUR RESPONSE AS A GOVERNMENT WAS IMMEDIATE.
THE FIRST COMMITMENT OF HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN
AID WAS CONSIDERED EVEN BEFORE THE ENORMITY OF THE
DISASTER WAS FULLY KNOWN OR ANY APPEALS HAD BE EN MADE.
WE DOUBLED THAT COMMITMENT AS THE DISASTER
GREW IN SIZE. THE CRITICISM WE HAVE HAD IS UNFAIR AND
BASED ON LI. TTLE KNOWLEDGE.

MY GOVERNMENT CONSIIDERED THAT TO BE EFFECTIVE
WE HAD TO SEND THE AID THAT INDIA WANTED AND SEND
IT WHERE THAT COUNTRY WANTED IT SENT. IT WOULD HAVE
BEEN ABSURD TO HAVE SENT SUPPLIES OF VACCINE, FOOD AND
SHELTER MATERIALS OFF INTO THE BLUE. THAT WOULD HAVE
ONLY ADDED TO THE PROBLEMS OF THE LOCAL PEOPLE.
IT IS DIFFICULT TO WAIT EVEN A SHORT WHILE
WHEN EMOTIONS AND SYMPATHIES ARE RUNNING HIGH FOR
SOMETHING TO BE DONE AT ONCE, BUT IN TERMS OF REAL
HELP WE DID WHAT WAS RIGHT.
I DON'T THINK ANY AUSTRALIANS NEED FEEL ASHAMED
OF THEIR GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO THE CRY FOR HELP
DFROM OUR FELLOW MEMBER OF THE COMMONWEALTH.
BEFORE I CLOSE ONE COMMENT ABOUT THE
FUTURE. IF WE CAN CONTAIN INFLATION AND THIS IS A
REALLY SERIOUS PROBLEM THEN I AM CONFIDENT WE CAN
KEEP UP A GROWTH RATE OF OVER FIVE PER CENT IN OUR
GNP EACH YEAR, AND GIVEN MORE FREEDOM FROM THE PROBLEMS
I HAVE ALREADY MENTIONED WE COULD EVEN DO MUCH BETTER
THAN THAT.

BUT LET US NOT TIINK ONLY IN TERMS OF
STATISTICS. TH-EY ARE DULL AND INHUMAN THINGS. LET UIS
THINK RATHER IN TERMS OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE WE WANT
FOR OURSELVES AND OUR CH-ILDREN.
EACH ONE OF US HAS HIS OWN DEFINITION. IT
IS BOUND UP WITH-HOW WE LIVE, WHERE WE LIVE, WHAT WE
DO AND WHAT IS THE MEASURE OF OUR SATISFACTION AND
HAPPINESS AS INDIVIDUALS IN A DEMO0CRATIC SOCIETY.
GOVERNMENTS CAN THINK OF TI-E PROBLEMS OF
LIVING IN TERMS OF URBAN PLANNING, OF PROTECTING THE
ENVIRONMENT, CONTR~ OLL~ ING POLLUTION, HELPINGTHl-OSE IN
NEED, ENCOURAGING THE ARTS.
BUT IN THE FINAL RESULT IT IS THE WAY THE INDIVIDUAL
RESPONDL'S, THE PART HE PLAYS IN ALL I HIS TH-AT MAKES UP TH-l
QUALITY OF AUSTRALIAN LIFE.
AND I THINK( THE FREEDOMS THAT GO WITH LIBERALISM
AND WITH A FREE ENTERPRISE SOCIETY ARE THE ONES THAT
ALLOW US TO MAK( E OUR QUALITY OF LIFE GOOD, REAL AND LASTING.
I AM SURE OF THIS THE FUTURE OF QUEENSLAND, NO
LESS THAN THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIA, LIES IN THE HANDS OF THE
LIBERAL-MINDED, CONTROL-FREE PEOPLE IN OUR SOCIETY.
TH-AT IS HOW IT HAS BEEN FOR TWENTY-ONE YEARS OR
MORE. LET US KEEP~ IT THAT WAY. I TH-ANK( YOU.

Transcript 2430