GOVERNOR'S SPEECH: ADDRESS IN REPLY
Fourth Day's Debate
Debate resumed from 9 March.
The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY
[4.17]: I am delighted to support the motion of the Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti that the Address in Reply be adopted and presented by the whole House to the Governor in reply to the Speech His Excellency made to both Houses of Parliament. I am also delighted to discover that over the past 10 days there was unnecessary speculation in the media about the future of the Governor, that he was possibly to be replaced without the opportunity of serving a further length of time. That speculation has now been firmly and truly laid to rest. As honourable members may be aware, I believe that in due course Australia will become a republic. However, we have not yet reached that stage. While we have a Governor of the status, dedication and fine personality of the present Governor, he should be allowed to continue in office without unnecessary media speculation about who his successor is likely to be. I am pleased that that speculation has been laid to rest.
I turn now to my remarks in reply to the Government's package of legislation and future policy as laid down in the Governor's Speech. The Government's legislative and financial proposals for this year are a mixture of welcome initiatives, bland general statements and, regrettably, inaction. In this International Year of the Family we have the chance to review the very nature of the most basic support unit in society and the way that a government can help families perform their functions of caring and nurturing. The National Council for the International Year of the Family has adopted the theme, "Supporting the many faces of families". This is an acknowledgment of the diversity of family life and the need to promote social justice and responsibility. I wholeheartedly agree with these two principles.
The ability of families to sustain their responsibilities depends on their access to resources and supportive infrastructure. It has always been my belief that the Government has a role in helping to provide this infrastructure. I also agree with the Council of Social Service of New South Wales that the International Year of the Family should not only be about how to make the functions in the family unit stronger, but also about how to assist family members who have been failed by their society. This was referred to at page 29 of the Council of Social Service of New South Wales pre-Budget statement 1993-94. I shall deal first with family services. After much public outcry at the neglect of family support services in last year's Budget I was pleased to hear that the Government has provided additional recurrent funding in this area.
This money is to be directed particularly to families with young children, to ongoing training and a general parent advisory line. I welcome the Government's review of policy and programs that support families. I draw its attention to the need for
an overhaul of the role of preventive services across all programs to ensure that children will not need to come into care and that the problems faced by the disadvantaged will never deteriorate to that extent. All members should be aware that community services have suffered from a failure to maintain cost supplementation, funding cutbacks, freezes, defunding, lack of growth funding, increased fees to users, increased demand for services and increased pressure on all non-government organisations.
One program that has suffered much is home and community care. In the ninth round of HACC funding last year no money was made available to assist providers to develop new services or to support the expansion of existing services. The only small increase in funding was for superannuation payments for home care, cost supplementation for all HACC services and, for the third year in a row, the State Government failed to match Commonwealth funding.
It is all very well for the Government to talk about supporting families, and about initiatives to assist the ageing. However, HACC services, which cater to people with disabilities and to older people, have been under increasing strain over the past two years, with growing numbers of people trying to access such services. It is ironic that older people at the Premier's Forum on Ageing last year stated that increased growth funding to HACC was their highest requirement. I urge the Government to reconsider its position on this program. I will be extremely interested in the outcome of the new Commonwealth-State supported accommodation assistance program which will come into effect from 1 July this year following a national evaluation of SAAP.
I am very concerned about the removal of target groups from the program objective, emphasis on restructuring, proposed performance measures, linking of funding to outcomes, and generally a more interventionist approach. The Council of Social Service of New South Wales, NCOSS, has questioned the viability of this interventionist approach to SAAP. Adequate resources are crucial to making restructuring a success. There must be consultation to ensure that the proposed changes are viable. I call on the Government to ensure that adequate consultation takes place prior to the agreement coming into effect - although I am very well aware there is not much time for that to happen.
I turn next to education. In addressing the Minister's professed commitment to the early years of schooling, I draw attention to the neglect of primary schools within the system and the need for more concrete measures, not merely lip-service. At a forum held last year by the Board of Studies - and it is interesting to reflect on what has happened to the Board of Studies since that time - it was pointed out that, although New South Wales has a K-12 Board of Studies, its operation is more 12-K. The entrenchment of subject centred curricula runs against the integrated nature of primary education. The strengths of primary education should contribute to developments in post primary education.
There is a dearth of early childhood expertise; there is increasing pressure for more formal learning in the early years of schooling when there is a need to recognise the importance of active learning and play in early education. K-6 teachers must schedule an overwhelming number of learning experiences into each week. Finally, the Board of Studies said that reduction in class sizes is needed, particularly in kindergarten. In 1984 the Schools Commission recommended that primary maximum class sizes should be as follows: kindergarten, 15; years 1-2, 20; and years 2-6, 25. However, the current situation has the student-teacher ratio closer to 30. The Minister must address these concerns in a meaningful way.
I welcome the Government's reform of the vocational education and training system, and particularly the Government's attempts to smooth the path between school and work force, or between higher education and training. Many studies have shown that young people want the last years of secondary school devised in a way to help them make the transition not only to higher education but also into the workplace and possible further education in TAFE. However, the majority of students still choose subjects for years 11 and 12 according to criteria for tertiary education.
In a paper delivered to the 1992 Conference of the Australian Economic and Commercial Teachers Association, Richard Sweet found that the present dominance of only one set of criteria for valuing learning in the curriculum of upper secondary schooling suggests a ready explanation for the apparent paradox of increased school retention coinciding with school leavers appearing to have a decreased interest in the major vocational pathways available to them. An additional two years, measured against the criteria valued by higher education, implicitly teaches students to undervalue their ability to actually do something in the real world, and to do this by working as a team with others in a way that is more typically valued in the labour market. Sweet went on to point out that it was common in colonial times to value a range of cognitive, social and practical skills in Australian schools. He stated:
It was only when the new Australian universities brought to the colonies the dominant values of an Oxford or Cambridge classical education that the school curriculum began to focus more narrowly upon areas of knowledge and modes of learning that had fewer points of connection with the real world.
It is essential that more varied ways of valuing learning are recognised by the New South Wales school system. For the sake of all students we cannot perpetuate a system that works only for the academically gifted. I heartily agree with the women's policy statement that was launched late last year, and I look forward to genuine results of adequate funding for all the initiatives that have been outlined by the Premier. The policy development and research activities which have been promised focus on violence against women and the experiences women have in their contacts with the legal system and were outlined in the report which has just been released by
the Australian Law Reform Commission, "Equality Before the Law - Women's Access to the Legal System". Stories abounded in the report about violence against women by their partners and attitudes taken in the judicial system to women alleging violence. In fact, in many instances the judicial system trivialised or disbelieved women's accounts of violence perpetrated against them.
The Australian Law Reform Commission found that many police still fail to see domestic violence as a crime, so obviously further education of police is needed. Some lawyers are not giving accurate advice in domestic violence and family law matters. Insufficient legal aid money is being given to women to fight for custody of their children or for their share of their property. There have been many worthwhile reforms, especially the recent amendments to the domestic violence laws; however, there is only so much that black letter law can do. Education is just as important. Legal remedies are useless if people are unwilling to use them. Unfortunately, there are still women unwilling to report, some police who still do not respond adequately, and there is a gender bias in the legal system, whether conscious or unconscious. I hope that these problems will be addressed in the Government's strategy.
I look forward to the Government finally addressing the major issues of drug security, the handling of complaints against police officers and a comprehensive review of the police discipline system. The issue of drug security is of the utmost importance, because it strikes at the very ability of the public to have confidence that seized drugs are not siphoned off by police. The people of New South Wales have waited long enough for rectification of the current law, which does not require that drugs seized by police be analysed as to weight and chemical composition. The theft of drugs with an estimated value of $20 million from the Federal Police a few years ago and the revelations of drug use by police officers at Frenchs Forest clearly show that we cannot afford to be complacent about the security of drug exhibits.
Breaches of drug security have been brought to the attention of the House by the Hon. E. P. Pickering on many occasions and his assertions were confirmed by the recent ICAC report. I agree with the honourable member that legislation should permit both qualitative and quantitative analysis, that there should be a proper random audit of drugs at the point of destruction, again involving a full qualitative and quantitative analysis. Above all, there is a need for effective civilian oversight of drug audit and drug security. My work on the Joint Select Committee upon Police Administration also led me to the conclusion that the integrity of the internal investigation of police must be improved. That can be done by establishing an independent police internal affairs unit under the control of the State Crime Commission. Honourable members will be aware that the powers available to the State Crime Commission are greater than those available to the police. Those powers include the ability to compel witnesses to give evidence in camera, the ability to compel the production of documents and the power to apply for special search warrants.
In relation to law and justice initiatives, I await the speedy introduction of legislation to prohibit discrimination on the ground of mental illness and HIV status. This initiative was announced in the Governor's Speech last year, so surely it will become a reality soon. I also applaud the Government's apparent embracing of more enlightened justice policies following the gross excesses of the Yabsley era. Although I was most disturbed by the passing of the Government's amendment to the Sentencing Act last year, under which a person could be imprisoned for the remainder of his natural life, I am perhaps more disturbed by the draconian and simplistic law and order policies which have been trumpeted by the Australian Labor Party in the belief that it will win votes in this way.
Mr Carr's back to basics policy platform, with its review of the Crimes Act so that there would be harsher treatment for murderers who plead diminished responsibility on the basis of psychiatric opinion, seeks to overturn centuries of legal tradition. Other Carr proposals such as tougher bail conditions and stringent discipline programs in schools make me think that possibly this ALP policy document had been written by Bronwyn Bishop. Since when has the leader of the Australian Labor Party been to the right of Liberal dries?
Government figures indicate that the farming sector is now experiencing a modest recovery. Farm costs rose just 1.1 per cent in the past two years because of lower interest rates and low inflation. Prices for agricultural produce are also increasing, with wool prices rising by 9 per cent over the quarter. The Government's campaign, farming for the future, could probably be classified as a form of adjustment policy, adjustment as defined by the Industry Commission in 1984 being the numerous ways in which farmers respond to change in the economic, technical and institutional environment. Richard Stayner, senior project director of the rural development centre at the University of New England, pointed out in a recent paper, "Adjustment on family farms", that until now adjustment policy has tended to focus on reducing or offsetting perceived imperfections in markets, particularly the finance market. However, he states:
It is necessary to take a broader perspective on matters that affect adjustment performance.
In particular he argues that it is necessary to pay attention to the characteristics of farms as family businesses and, therefore, take note of family life-cycle factors, the changing demands for family and household income, occupational and lifestyle factors, and the integration of family members into off-farm economy and into farm business planning. He goes on to make the point that farming is so volatile that the categorisation of farmers into categories such as "non-viable", "can be made safe with some help" or "movers and shakers" is of very limited value.
Instead there should be close, integrated attention to the issues of retirement, managerial succession and asset transfer on farms. The revised rural assistance scheme is a step in the right direction in that it goes beyond merely assessing the farmer's immediate financial position to look further into the future. I hope that the Government's program will treat farm adjustment within the framework that recognises regional, social and economic systems.
I eagerly anticipate major reforms to the Building Services Corporation. These reforms have been long promised. The Gyles royal commission, the Dodd inquiry and the Trade Practices Commission have all confirmed complaints that the Building Services Corporation has not served consumers adequately. I have received many letters from distraught home owners over the years informing me how their lives have been destroyed by their inability to have conflicts with errant builders resolved satisfactorily. As Professor Alan Fels said on the release of the Trade Practices Commission report:
Home owners get more consumer protection buying a toaster than in buying or extending their homes.
That was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald
on 21 December 1993. The Dodd inquiry found that the Building Services Corporation was fundamentally flawed in its structure as a one-stop shop responsible for all matters relating to the residential building industry. There is a fundamental conflict between the BSC's functions of industry regulation, dispute resolution, the provision of consumer advice, its role in industry development and the management of the two insurance schemes. On the issue of its dispute resolution, at page 37 of the report, Commissioner Dodd said:
I believe that the integration of the licensing and dispute resolution functions has the potential for abuse. There is opportunity for the process to involve a lack of objectivity and a potential for corruption to emerge.
But on page 5 of the report he said:
There is a lack of transparent processes and an overlap of functions in the current system. This is further compounded by insufficient rights of appeal.
Dodd also had this to say about consumer advice and education being provided by the Building Services Corporation:
The impression I have gained is that in relation to consumer education, the BSC is primarily a reactive organisation and that these projects were developed in isolation and not from a comprehensive, ongoing consumer education program . . . A specific consumer advice service was not established within the BSC until 1992.
That is five years after it replaced the Builders Licensing Board. I am heartened by the fact that the current General Manager of the Building Services Corporation seems to acknowledge the validity of many of these criticisms levelled at the BSC, and I hope that changes will occur soon. I know that already my constituents are very angry and very frustrated that these necessary changes have taken so long. I should now like to turn to the subject of and the problems with the delivery of health care in New South Wales. It is ironic that the Governor's Speech should contain the statement:
My Government is committed to building on the significant gains that have been achieved in delivering a high quality customer focused health service to the people of New South Wales.
It is ironic because of the problems facing Westmead Hospital, the southwestern Sydney hospitals, the Port Macquarie base hospital, Coledale District Hospital, Kiama District Hospital and other hospitals in the south of the State. The Australian Council on Health Care Standards recently downgraded the accreditation for Westmead Hospital from three years to one year because of the conditions in the accident and emergency unit. The council found:
The Unit is inappropriately designed for standard patient care. The receiving room has a resuscitation area with an inadequate screen, leaving it exposed to the seriously ill and surrounding patients.
There are unexpected delays in the unit. Cases were reported where patients were held for 11 and 14 days.
Patients waiting admissions were poorly supervised.
There is a shortage of staff. The medical staff consisted of one director of the adult service with an accident and emergency qualification and five advanced trainees providing 16 hours per day cover. The remaining eight hours were covered by residential medical staff and the ward registrars. There is only one director responsible for administration, clinical supervision and teaching. It has been recommended that one additional staff specialist, four registered nurses and two clerks be appointed.
There is no quality assurance activity on X-ray reporting.
Budgeting between adult and paediatric accident and emergency is untidy and is a source of some conflict.
These are direct quotes from the accreditation report. I believe that inadequate government funding has contributed to these results. There are only 2.8 beds per 1,000 head of population in that area served by Westmead, in comparison with 3.5 beds per thousand head of population generally in New South Wales. Whatever excuses the Minister may wish to advance, a decision to close Parramatta hospital has led to there being only 1,000 beds to serve a population of 33,000 people in western Sydney. It is estimated that 200 more beds are needed if western Sydney is to be adequately serviced. For reasons best known to the Government, it was decided that Westmead Hospital would be both a tertiary referral hospital and a community hospital. This flawed decision has meant that Westmead Hospital cannot look after community patients properly - there is a lack of beds, a lack of staff, a lack of space and a lack of money.
Whatever the Government may believe, even when Liverpool has been upgraded there will still be a need for Mount Druitt and Auburn District hospitals. The health needs of the region are very daunting. Many Asian migrants who have arrived under the family reunion scheme suffer from hepatitis, parasitic infections, carcinoma and tuberculosis. There was a time when migrants suffering from tuberculosis were not accepted by the Australian
health authorities. Apparently this no longer occurs. It would appear that the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is more concerned about intending immigrants who are overweight according to their standards, and they are denied entry.
There has been an increase of hospital patients suffering from hepatitis A and hepatitis B, most noticeably among people west of Parramatta, particularly those coming from the Middle East and north Africa. Medical specialists in the area are aware of the problems and, I am quite certain, have brought them to the attention of the area health authority, but it appears that the Government is ignoring their expert opinion. Problems with emergency services in the Southern Sydney Area Health Service have also been highlighted by a clinical services review. At St George Hospital there is a major problem with exit block. Apparently 10 to 15 patients a day wait a very long time for admission to a ward bed. I quote from the review:
This situation seems to have been compounded by the upgrading and redevelopment of the hospitals inpatient services, the changing demography and epidemiology of the population in the area and by the relative paucity of acute inpatient beds in South Sydney . . . This problem can only be alleviated by implementing strategies that bring about a more appropriate balance in the utilisation of inpatient beds for elective and emergency cases.
It was found at St George Hospital that in the morning 28 patients were waiting in a department designed for 20 patients, but by the evening the total number of patients waiting in the department had reached 37. St George Hospital also has major problems with staffing. At night the hospital is staffed only by resident medical officers, which has significant consequences for the reception of major trauma and the early management of all presentations. It has been suggested by the review that there must be 24-hour care with at least a registrar at advanced training level seven days a week. Furthermore, the St George Hospital social worker is currently shared by the emergency department and the division of surgery, but the emergency department needs a full-time social worker.
Other problems identified include an inordinate amount of time spent by medical and nursing staff negotiating the transfer of patients within the hospital and between institutions. There is also a total absence of an integrated unit medical records system. Considering the number of health administrators employed by the Government who are being paid very high salaries - far higher salaries than qualified doctors - if a teaching hospital such as St George Hospital does not have an integrated unit medical records system, something is very wrong with the administration. Sutherland Hospital also has inadequate staffing. The director of the hospital does not have a full-time secretary. There is no triage nurse after hours. How any emergency unit can function without a triage sister is beyond me!
According to the clinical services review the only clerk - that is one clerk - available to receive patients and oversee the waiting room is required to collect case records from the medical records department, which means that frequently the reception area is not staffed. Patients arrive at reception, but no one is there to ask them what they want, or explain to them the proper procedure. They are waiting in a reception area that has no staff on duty. There has also been a reduction of nursing staff full-time equivalents in the emergency department, to the extent that 1.4 FTEs appear to have gone missing.
Major difficulties are also being experienced at Canterbury Hospital. The closure of the Western Suburbs Hospital has led to a 45 per cent increase in ambulance attendances compared with the 1992 workload. Transfers from the emergency department have almost doubled in the past three months, and there has been an increase in the average length of stay within the department. Exit block is also a problem at Canterbury Hospital because of its relatively small complement of in-patient beds. There is also the appalling situation where staff are required to escort patients to St George Hospital from Canterbury Hospital for routine CT scans because Canterbury Hospital does not have any modern radiological equipment. When nurses are not available doctors escort the patients. Can honourable members imagine anything more stupid than that? A doctor who is required to work within the hospital in which he is employed has to take patients to another hospital - admittedly in the same region but a fair distance away - so that they can have scans.
There is a need for a second staff specialist to provide clinical and administrative support to the director and to facilitate the conduct of teaching and research activities. It must not be forgotten that Canterbury Hospital is a teaching hospital. However, the main problem is the threat of closure hanging over Canterbury Hospital. The review team has pointed out that whatever happens 20,000 patients per annum, with more anticipated in the future, will still require emergency medical care. This defined, predominantly ethnic, low socioeconomic population will find it very difficult to obtain this care in other hospitals, as they are unlikely to be able to afford private transport or easily negotiate a deficient public transport system. Staff morale is definitely being affected. I call on the Minister to reconsider his decision to close the hospital when the inner west hospital is built.
Significant problems remain in relation to Port Macquarie base hospital. It is now more than two years since we discovered that the coalition Government was going to break its promise on a new public hospital for the people of Port Macquarie. I spoke out then against the privatisation of public hospitals, and I continue to do so. Equal access to basic health care is one of the fundamental rights of a just society. This fundamental right is being put at risk by the privatisation of the Port Macquarie base hospital. The nature of the population in Port Macquarie highlights the injustice that the coalition Government intends to perpetrate. The age and income level of many people in Port Macquarie means that not only are they more likely to need health care; they will also be less likely to be able to afford private health insurance and private health care.
One of the most disturbing things about the proposed new private hospital is that only 40 per cent of the beds will be for public patients. That means that about 75 per cent of the people in the area will queue for 40 per cent of the beds. In 1992 the Hastings District Hospital had a current surgical booking list of 582. I have been told that the list now stands at 1,000, and that it will increase to 2,000 by the middle of this year - in three months' time. If these figures are correct, the situation must be addressed urgently.
At a recent meeting the people of Port Macquarie called on the Minister to provide forthwith the funds necessary to reduce the waiting list for elective surgery to the level of the State average prior to the commencement of the operation of Port Macquarie Base Hospital Pty Limited and to continue to operate the Hastings District Hospital until that level of waiting is achieved. The Minister was also called upon to account to the citizens of the Hastings as to the quantity of services for public patients contracted to be delivered by Port Macquarie base hospital and to require continuously through the period of the contract that the level of services be maintained so that access for public patients will not involve a waiting period that is longer than the shortest waiting period existing at any one of the peer hospitals for a similar service.
The people of Port Macquarie also called on the Minister to determine forthwith to maintain public control and management of community health services and to provide promised enhancement funding. Finally, they requested that the Minister retain so much of the present site of the Hastings District Hospital as is necessary to house community health services, including the retention of the hydrotherapy pool for public use. I ask the Minister to respond to these demands. That meeting was held more than 10 days ago, and the people of Port Macquarie have had no response in that intervening period.
I have received the results of a survey into people with an intellectual disability living with an aged parent. This survey was carried out by the Eastern Disability Interagency Research Project in July 1993. They found 67 people with an intellectual disability living in the area. They were aged between 35 and 60, and they were living on the pension. Only 6 per cent were employed; 35 per cent had no activity outside the home; 48 per cent attended workshops, outside activity or training; 12 per cent received respite care; 80 per cent needed 24-hour or daily care; and 20 per cent needed some care or support. All these people are still being cared for by their parents, who range in age between 50 years and 79 years. Of the carers, 42 per cent are aged 70 years and over, with 59 per cent living on the pension, 53 per cent receiving support from family or friends, 82 per cent having no information to plan for the future and 70 per cent believing that the Government should provide accommodation for their adult children with intellectual disabilities.
The survey proved beyond doubt that there is an urgent need for group homes. There is an immediate need for three group homes for this one group alone. Many of these families are not known to the Department of Community Services disability services. Unless something is done to deal with the situation, the older carers - those over 70 - will die and these people will have to be placed in crisis care in one of the few respite care beds. I think it would be remarkably shortsighted of the Government to ignore the problem, particularly in view of the improvements in housing options for people with a mental illness and other people with long-term support needs that were promised in the Governor's Speech. There is nothing in the Governor's Speech to suggest that the intellectually disabled will get a look-in with respect to these new housing options.
I draw the attention of the House to the recently released report of the task force on private for profit hostels. The task force was established in April last year by the Minister for Community Services in response to allegations of abuse, exploitation and substandard conditions at the Carynia Oaks licensed hostel near Cooranbong. The hostel, now housing 176 people, is still operating. It is operating under a changed name, but that has not changed the situation. Many of the residents were moved out of the old so-called mental hospital at Morisset in an attempt to get them out of an institution.
I fail to understand what a hostel with 176 people is if it is not an institution. That is not community living; it is going from one form of institutional care to another. It is also going from the Morisset Hospital, where at least the carers were skilled in the care of intellectually disabled people and had been trained to do that sort of a job, into a situation where there is no true control of the management of the hostel or the people who are employed by the licensee. The Burdekin report on mental illness highlighted the appalling nature of conditions in many boarding-houses. Commissioner Burdekin stated:
The evidence presented to the inquiry in all States indicated that the physical conditions in many boarding-houses are depersonalising, depressing and completely unconducive to a dignified, moral life . . . personal hygiene is frequently disgusting.
On the New South Wales licensing system he said:
These principles are excellent - on paper, however it is obvious that in practice they may as well not exist at all. The prevailing conditions in boarding-houses demonstrate that these standards are routinely breached or ignored. One major difficulty is the shortstaffing of licensing and monitoring agencies.
There are now 178 boarding-houses in New South Wales, licensed to accommodate 3,752 residents. Therefore, none of them can be described as group homes. A resident profile survey covering 16 licence services indicated that 65 per cent of all residents are older than 50, 42 per cent are older than 60, and only 3 per cent are younger than 30. Thirty-nine per cent came to their current boarding-house from psychiatric institutions, 6 per cent from a Department of
Community Services disability unit and 24 per cent came from the family home. Forty-four per cent of residents were said to have a psychiatric disability, 28 per cent an intellectual disability and 19 per cent a disability related to substance abuse. Only 2 per cent were said not to have a disability.
Residents of boarding-houses are vulnerable to neglect, abuse and exploitation. They are generally unassertive. Only a very small number have social contacts outside the boarding-house. Only a very small proportion have a case worker. The current system of Government intervention is not working. Current licensing provisions do not contain a clear statement of standards that should be offered by boarding-houses. There is no independent monitoring of boarding-houses. Only a small proportion of boarding-house residents have case workers provided by either the Department of Health or the Department of Community Services to monitor their situation. There is a lack of alternative accommodation for residents of a boarding-house that DOCS might otherwise wish to close down. Boarding-house proprietors and staff are not offered training to develop or update their skills, and there has been insufficient co-ordination between licensing and other agencies.
The task force found that the boarding-house industry is fundamentally inconsistent with the principles and applications of the new Disability Services Act in the following ways. Services are dictated by rules and routines rather than by individuals' wishes and needs. Few residents have access to skills development and other day programs. Residents have very little choice in their daily lives and little privacy. Psychotropic medication and practices such as the rationing of cigarettes are often used as control devices. If this happened in another country we would abuse that country for contravention of human rights.
The task force put forward eight major proposals to reform the system. These were: a new set of licensing standards based on a requirement that boarding-houses conform as closely as possible with Disability Services Act principles; a four-year process of transition; an accountable licensing system, which will mean access to protection offered under the Community Services (Complaints, Appeals and Monitoring) Act 1993; a joint enterprise service initiative; a proposal for a system of regional committees with the responsibility for boarding-house residents; an expanded right of entry to ensure reasonable access by local services to boarding-house residents; additional day programs for boarding-house residents; improved referral and admission procedures; and restrictions of size and location.
There is also a very real need to fund alternative housing options. These may be public housing, disability supported accommodation and traditional accommodation funded under the supported accommodation assistance program. Apparently Minister Longley has asked for an interdepartmental committee to look at the implementation of the boarding-house task force report, but my understanding is that the departments involved - health, housing and community services - still cannot even agree on who should co-ordinate the meetings. This ignores the fact that the report was extremely detailed in its recommendations on who should be responsible.
These proposals need to be implemented immediately. They do not need to be sent off to yet another committee, particularly a committee whose members are squabbling among themselves. We cannot allow the human rights of people with disabilities to be sacrificed to bureaucrats. I call on Minister Longley also to give a commitment that mental health services will be developed and planned in conjunction with primary consumers so that different and more appropriate models will be available. I believe that Minister Phillips should give the same commitment. This will need action; lip-service is not enough.
An important area of policy that requires the attention of the Minister and the Government relates to deaths in custody. The February 1994 edition of the serial "Deaths in Custody in Australia" published by the Australian Institute of Criminology shows that while there has been a reduction in the number of Aboriginal deaths in custody flowing from the recommendations of the royal commission, Aborigines are still overrepresented in custody and they are more likely to die in custody. The six Aboriginal deaths in custody in 1992-93 represented 8 per cent of all custody deaths even though Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up only 1.6 per cent of the population. The risk of death to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during 1992-93 was more than 8½ times that of non-Aboriginal prisoners. The risk of death of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in police custody during that same period was six times that of non-Aboriginal people.
Though there has been some implementation of the recommendations of the royal commission, they have not yet been implemented in full. The amendment to the New South Wales Summary Offences Act last year so that people would not be imprisoned for abusive language was welcome. However, Aborigines are still being enmeshed in the justice system. This was highlighted by the Minister's figures in reply to the question I asked yesterday to which he replied today at the end of question time. The release of the coroner's report into the death in custody of Ms Phyllis May late last year revealed that Ms May was kept overnight in a category B station where prisoners were to be detained for only a short period under supervision. The cells were unsafe. They were considered to be below the standards recommended by the royal commission into deaths in custody. There was no justification for taking Ms May there.
She was held because of a practice of transferring sentenced prisoners from corrective services custody into police custody. The renovation of the cells at Macquarie Fields where Ms May
hanged herself has been a priority since 1991. Patrol commanders were required to remove all features from cells that might encourage any suicide attempt. However, at Macquarie Fields no action was taken until after the further tragedy of Ms May hanging herself. I fear that this is the reality of the situation. We know the changes that need to be made to prevent deaths in custody, yet there is still a lack of urgency in implementing these changes, and it appals me. Last year was the International Year for the World's Indigenous People but these issues were still not addressed. Again, this is an area in need of immediate action.
Finally I wish to place on the public record my thanks and admiration for those who fought the bushfires in January this year. I reside in the lower Hunter. Many fires were burning in the State forests surrounding the valley. I was delighted and overwhelmed by the professionalism, determination, community spirit and heroism shown by the people of that valley, the local bush fire brigade and the emergency services. They put themselves on the line in some of the most fearsome conditions that we have ever experienced. They were called to other fires in the area and again went willingly. They were tireless in their efforts and I cannot praise them too highly.
However, the January bushfires highlighted some real deficiencies in firefighting strategies. We have some important lessons to learn. Those lessons must be learned and further discussion must take place in an atmosphere of co-operation and on a non-partisan basis. I hope that the review of fire management in New South Wales and legislation to be considered by a Cabinet subcommittee will prove fruitful, but I trust that when the review has been finalised and presented to Cabinet it will be made available to the Parliament. Were that to occur it would be possible for members to debate what happened. As elected representatives of the people of this State we would have the opportunity to fully understand the findings of the review and to add our voices to those who put submissions to the Cabinet subcommittee so that necessary measures can be taken. Again I urge that that occurs without delay.
The Hon. ELAINE NILE
[5.11]: I am pleased as a member of the Call to Australia group to support the motion for the adoption of the Address in Reply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency Rear Admiral Peter Ross Sinclair, A.C., Governor of New South Wales, which states:
May it Please Your Excellency -
We, Her Majesty's loyal and dutiful subjects, the Members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our thanks for Your Excellency's speech, and to affirm our sincere allegiance to Her Most Gracious Majesty.
We beg to assure Your Excellency that our earnest consideration will be given to the measures to be submitted to us, and that we will faithfully carry out the important duties entrusted to us by the people of New South Wales.
We join Your Excellency in the hope that, under the guidance of Divine Providence, our labours may be so directed as to advance the best interest of all sections of the community.
I think back to the days in 1990 during the aftermath of the Nyngan floods. I had a son serving in the police force in Nyngan at that time and my husband and I visited the town. The Governor also visited Nyngan in his capacity as head of the flood review. Of course, this was at a time prior to his appointment as Governor. The town was absolutely putrid with water rising in the houses and animals left in the streets. The Governor cut through the red tape and got things moving. He gained the admiration of the people of Nyngan. Proceedings are afoot in the Supreme Court seeking damages following those floods. At least the local people, whose families have lived in the area and by the river for a hundred years, knew when the Bogan River was rising, yet some people said that the silly old so-and-sos did not know what they were talking about.
I strongly commend, congratulate and support the Governor of New South Wales, who has performed an excellent job carrying out his duties in the most commendable way, in company with Mrs Sinclair. He deserves reappointment in August 1994 so that he can continue to serve the people of New South Wales for a further four-year term. If no action is taken to reappoint him - although the tradition has been to reappoint previous Governors - it will place the Government in a difficult position because it will give the false and misleading impression that the Governor has failed in his duties.
I also support the tradition in New South Wales of appointing experienced service officers from the army, navy or air force to carry out the duties of Governor. I have with me a list of Governors from the beginning of settlement. The first Governor was Captain Arthur Phillip. He was ably followed by Major Francis Grose, Captain William Paterson, Captain Philip Gidley King, Lieutenant-Colonel George Johnson, Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Foveaux, Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, Major-General Sir Richard Bourke, Lieutenant-Colonel Kenneth Snodgrass, Lieutenant-Colonel John Francis Kempt, through to 1957 with Lieutenant-General Sir John Northcott, Lieutenant-General Sir Eric Winslow Woodward, Sir Kenneth Whistler Street, Sir Arthur Roden Cutler, Air Marshall Sir James Rowland, Rear Admiral Sir David Martin and presently Rear Admiral Peter Ross Sinclair. All other States have had Governors of that calibre. New South Wales Governors carried out their duties with efficiency and dignity whilst maintaining the common touch with the people of New South Wales.
The duties of the Governor involve many ceremonial events that former servicemen can carry out calmly and coolly because of their service experience and previous responsibilities. The Governor's position is not one to be treated as a reward for party loyalty, or as a measure of female tokenism or even racial tokenism. Those appointed to that high office should also be sincere, genuine supporters of our present constitutional monarchy and uphold and demonstrate that loyalty and allegiance to the Crown as represented by Queen Elizabeth II until such time as the people of Australia, by a majority of
votes and States, vote to remove the Queen and replace her with a republican president - I believe and pray that will never happen.
Support for our constitutional monarchy is increasing throughout Australia among young people, the aged and those from ethnic communities. The Federal Labor Government is to be condemned for its deceptive attempts to bring about creeping republicanism - or slithering republicanism, just like a snake - by scrapping our historic Australian citizenship oath and deleting the words "Almighty God and Queen Elizabeth II". The Labor Party rammed its final disloyal bill through the Senate by only two votes, thanks to the betrayal of the Australian Democrats, known as the fairies at the bottom of the garden, and the woolly-minded greens. The ALP republicans replaced a meaningful oath with a wishy-washy, sentimental sop with no real meaning, no noble sentiment and no sense of history and tradition.
I congratulate two brilliant, courageous, patriotic Australians - Bronwyn Bishop and Tony Abbott. They enthusiastically defend God, Queen, country and our flag. Bronwyn Bishop is a woman and a half and I believe she puts many men in the Liberal Party to shame; that is why they are frightened of her. Their preselection victories show that the power of the trendy group in the Liberal Party has been broken and that further change will occur with Liberal candidates for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. The grass roots members of the Liberal Party will now let their voices be heard in support of our constitutional monarchy, the traditional Australian family, and traditional Christian values. They will totally reject the Young Liberals' support for homosexuals, for so-called same sex marriages, for legalised marijuana and for a republic.
Call to Australia shares the Governor's praise of the excellent efforts of all the firefighting units during the recent bushfire disaster, the efforts of the volunteer bush fire fighting units, the New South Wales fire brigade, the State Emergency Service, the Police Service, and many other volunteers and groups who were magnificent and demonstrated a wonderful community spirit. That incident caused letters to be written to newspaper editors on the North Coast, the South Coast and in the mountains area. People were very hostile about the lack of backburning and control burning, and a lot of the blame was placed on the greenie groups. We were very grateful for the successful efforts of the firefighters as our eldest son, together with his wife and two children, were required to evacuate their home at Winmalee because of the bushfire threat. Thankfully their home was not damaged.
Earlier today there was reference in this Chamber to the media. We were in New Zealand at the time of the bushfires and the media reporting of them was amazing. There were reports that Sydney was burning - "Sydney burns" were the headlines. New Zealanders who had relatives here asked us if Enmore or Strathfield were on fire. The power of the media can cause much heartache, as it did in that situation. I believe that a number of people telephoned Australia from overseas to inquire about the safety of people and property. During the second world war we had a pianola at home and we played all the military marches. We also had the fire brigade march, and I am sure the Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith would remember it. When the parade was held recently through the streets of Sydney and the bands were playing I was disappointed that the fire brigade march had not been brought back to life. The lyrics are beautiful and I will read them into Hansard
, because it really says what those men are:
So here's to those brave men who guard us when the fire alarm is rung
And with a spirit bold, courageous
Without a thought or fear when duty's to be done.
They are never known to fail or falter
Though the task be wrought with danger.
Gallant men, they're heroes
Our stalwart, fearless fire brigade.
Call to Australia shares the Governor's praise of this State's successful effort to win the bid to host the Olympic Games 2000. Everyone associated with the successful bid is to be congratulated, especially the Minister for Transport and Minister for Roads who spearheaded the bid effort. In many ways the Olympic preparations, even before Sydney won the bid, were running parallel with the preparations for Atlanta 1996. I thought it was beautiful to see the headlines in the paper, "Good as gold in Blacktown, the western suburbs". It says here:
Bronzed Aussies in their golden moment . . . Kieran Hansen, Steven Bradbury, Andrew Murtha and Richard Nizielski with their medals yesterday.
When Australia won its historic first Winter Olympics medal yesterday the loudest cheers were on the other side of the world in Sydney's sweltering western suburbs.
Two members of the relay speed skating team, which claimed bronze in the 5000m relay, are from Blacktown Ice Racing Club - in every respect the global opposite of Lillehammer, Norway.
Andrew Murtha and Kieran Hansen learned most of what they know on a tiny patch of ice in Blacktown, which they only had access to a couple of hours a week.
But, according to their celebrating families, their determination drove them to beat the Northern Hemisphere, where many towns have their own ice rink.
"These boys are pure western suburbs - kids with a one-track mind," Helen Hansen, Kieran's mother, said yesterday.
That must have been a thrill because so often the western suburbs have been put down in the media. Yet here we have these young men who took part in international competition and won a medal for Australia. The Governor, when outlining the Fahey-Armstrong Government's future legislative program said:
My Government is committed to improving the services which are available to assist families and communities . . .
The Government is continuing to improve coordination in the provision of these services, and the International Year of the Family provides an excellent opportunity to focus on the importance of the family as the foundation of our Australian community.
On the last occasion that I referred to the importance of family life, the Sydney Morning Herald
attacked me by printing an article on the back page under the heading, "Fred and Elaine reinvent the family". That is the Sydney Morning Herald
for you. We did not invent the family; God the creator invented it. He created the family and we need to remember that for the best results we must follow the maker's instructions. However, we have to ask the question once again: if we do not know what the family is, how can we have a positive year of the family? How can we improve the provision of services for the family? Instead of the year of the family, 1994 is rapidly becoming a year of confusion. What has happened to the year of the family?
The International Year of the Family has been declared by the United Nations in the year of our Lord 1994. The pro-family international organisations lobbied for this special year to acknowledge the importance of the family as the God-given natural and basic unit of society, which is entitled to the support and protection of the State. Unfortunately, their high hopes for the 1994 International Year of the Family have been dashed to the ground by the actions of the United Nations as well as the Australian Government. Instead of promoting the traditional Australian family, they have launched a year of confusion. The United Nations has stated:
The UN policies and programmes affecting the family should seek to avoid promoting implicitly or explicitly a single ideal image of the family - there is no simple view of the family.
During the Australian national summit on the family, in preparation for the International Year of the Family, the Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies declared that there is no longer one thing called "family". Another academic at the summit said:
Whatever group of adults the child identifies with becomes the child's family.
That could be open to a very wide interpretation. Other social workers agreed that any group of people living together is a family. Homosexual groups have launched a campaign for the legal recognition of homosexual, same sex marriages in 1994. They chose "We are family" as the theme for the 1994 gay and lesbian mardi gras and then mocked family life and attacked family moral values. The Family Impact Commission Bill of the Call to Australia Group defines the family as:
An organic unit composed essentially of a man and a woman related by marriage and the children of either or both of them by blood or adoption, whether or not in a wider relationship of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
This is the God ordained unit of the family and its decline over the decade emphasises the imperative to defend, promote and support its growth in our modern society. Call to Australia Group in its fundamental statement of belief clearly declares:
We believe that the family, consisting of those individuals related by blood or marriage, is the foundation social unit of the nation. The family has primary responsibility for the welfare, education and property of its members. Civil Government must respect this sanctity of the family and its unique sphere of authority and it must preserve and promote optimum conditions in which the integrity of the family unit can be maintained.
So far as the institution of marriage goes, again the basic tenets of the Call to Australia Group state:
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught that in the beginning God created mankind - male and female, and meant husband and wife to live together honourably in a lasting, loving, lifelong, faithful relationship. Marriage is a sacred relationship which God ordained for mankind so that the human race might be continued through the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord; and for the mutual help, comfort and companionship both in prosperity and adversity.
There is no question about the sanctity of the marriage relationship. Therefore Call to Australia strongly opposes the tacit approval by the Federal Australian Labor Party, the Australian Democrats, the Greens and the Government of homosexual partnerships, same sex marriages and the recruitment of professed homosexuals into the Australian armed forces with the same rights as heterosexuals, married servicemen or members of Parliament. We particularly oppose the Australian Democrats' policies as recently announced in Capital Q Weekly
on 11 February. The headline in that homosexual newspaper reads, "Democrats launch law reform agenda". I understand the letter "Q" stands for "queer", as in Queer Nation. The article reads:
The Australian Democrats have announced plans to pursue an ambitious agenda for law reform for gay men and lesbians at a federal level over the next 12 months.
The party has pledged to examine all legislation dealing with de facto relationships with a view to including same-sex couples, draft federal anti-discrimination legislation to outlaw gay-related discrimination, and draft an amendment to propose racial vilification legislation to include gay men and lesbians.
In addition, it will review its policy on gay men and lesbians. The Democrats are the only major political party to have such a policy.
These plans follow from the first meeting of the party's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Committee held three weeks ago by teleconference with State representatives of the Australian Council for Lesbian and Gay Rights (ACLGR) several states, during which the agenda was endorsed.
National spokesperson for ACLGR, Carole Ruthchild, said that she was unsure of who the Australian Democrats originally consulted over its gay and lesbian policy but that she welcomed the initiative, including moves to introduce Federal anti-vilification laws.
"I don't know how likely we are to get it, certainly not in the short-term, but it is something we have supported in NSW".
The plans come two months after the successful passage of an amendment to the Government's industrial relations legislation which outlaws gay-related discrimination in the workplace. The committee's Convener, Joseph O'Reilly, said this year being the International Year of the Family provides the Democrats with "a great opportunity" to push for the recognition of same-sex couples in law.
An article from another issue of the same magazine dated 11 February 1994 is headed "Moore pushes ahead with a transsexual bill". I assume most heterosexual people would not read these magazines and would not know the political agenda of those in Parliament. This article reads:
The seventeen month ordeal of getting homosexual anti-vilification legislation through the New South Wales Parliament last year has not deterred Independent MP for Bligh, Clover Moore, from proceeding with plans to move a further amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act.
Moore and the Leader of the Democrats in the Upper House, Elisabeth Kirkby MLC, will next week meet with Attorney-General, John Hannaford, in an attempt to persuade the Government to include "transgender status" in the prohibited grounds for discrimination when it reviews the Act this year.
Moore told Capital Q that if the Government does not agree, she and Kirkby will move a private member's bill and lobby for support in a similar way she did for her vilification legislation last year. She said her plans were in response to a ministerial committee on HIV/AIDS-related discrimination, of which she is a member, which last year "strongly recommended" that tranys be included in the Act.
Moore believes Hannaford may agree to "let it slip through as a minor government amendment" but expects the protests "might even be more extreme" than the hostility over her anti-vilification bill because "this is a more marginalised group". However, she said she is ready to fight the "unreasonable and unnecessary homophobia" seen in Parliament last year because "tranys are a small group in the community who require protection".
Moore's proposal is supported by the AIDS Council of NSW, the Anti Violence Project and the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, which, together with the Transgender Liberation Coalition, will this week ask other community organisations, state MPs and the shadow Attorney-General, Paul Whelan, to support her plans.
Sometimes all the Call to Australia group gets set up for in the media is sex, whether it be homosexuality or whatever. Call to Australia believes that sex is a beautiful thing, it is a gift of God and sex within marriage makes the world go round. Call to Australia believes that God has established laws of sexual morality for the well being of society, prohibiting pornography, adultery, incest, homosexuality, paedophilia and other sexual aberrations which debase man as well as defile and pollute our nation. This includes transsexualism as well as transvestitism. Call to Australia promotes the correct use of the God-given gift of sex within the fidelity of the marriage relationship and actively rejects the perversions rampant within our society which are promoted by the media, films, television and pornographic videos and magazines. Call to Australia is pro-life and is opposed to abortion on demand.
Honourable members have heard a great deal about children's rights. Call to Australia believes that parents should have rights. We believe that parents, not the civil government, have the primary responsibility before God for child rearing and the education of their children according to the dictates of their consciences, with the sole ability to chose what kind of education they want for their children. Therefore, Call to Australia encourages all legislation that supports the ability of parents to choose the form of education and educational institution most appropriate for their children, including Christian schools or home schooling.
Call to Australia supports the traditional family because it is clearly presented in the Bible, God's holy word, as the only basic natural unit in God's creative purposes for planet Earth. Jesus Christ himself emphasised the importance of this first family in Matthew's gospel by this repetition of the key phrase, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh". When a man leaves his parents, he cleaves to his wife, the two become one and they commence a new family.
Obviously the Ten Commandments are directed at the support and the protection of the family when they forbid adultery and require all children to honour their mother and father. Because we have dropped all the values of the Ten Commandments parents are literally being bashed as well. Some Christians, through a misplaced sense of compassion, say we can no longer speak of the traditional family in case we antagonise a male and female couple living in sin - de facto relationships as they are called today - or those male homosexuals living together, or an unmarried single mother. However, it is vital that we hold up the traditional family as God's vision for the family, for without a vision the people will perish. Because we live in a sinful world, some will fall short of God's vision, God's plan for the family. Nevertheless, we must hold up the family model as the God-given basis of society for future generations of children.
Even the child of a single unmarried mother needs to know what he or she should strive for when it is time to leave and cleave. This can be done with compassion and support for the single unmarried mother, who is usually suffering in the new poverty class in Australia. Our Australian children need to know God's plan for the family and be encouraged to strive to achieve it as adults with God's help. Every Australian child has a God-given basic human right to have the love and care of a female mother and a male father, who will serve as role models. The daughter will see her mother as the primary child carer, the primary nurturer and supporter, loved by her husband. That does not sit very well, of course, with the feminists today, but it is something that is natural; it is inbuilt.
The son will see his father as his role model, carrying out his God-given role of primary provider and protector of his family. I cannot remember in what connection I heard today that in other societies the mother gives the food to the father and child and she goes without. In my day, I would give food to my husband and my children and I would go without. That used to be the way it was in society. A mother would do anything to protect her children and keep her children healthy, but today the whole thing has been reversed. The woman is suffering, whereas in my generation the woman was the one who cared and the father was the one who went out and did the hard physical work, as men who work on the land would know. May God help our society to reject the rebellious proposals to legalise so-called same sex marriage and so-called homosexual marriages. May God help us to support and defend the family - the very building blocks, the foundation, of our society.
It is very pleasing that the Premier, the Hon. John Fahey, has announced his plans to conduct a family impact analysis of all future Government legislation and budgets. However, it is a great pity that, at the same time, he commends the immoral, offensive, blasphemous, anti-family, homosexual and lesbian mardi gras parade. He cannot have it both ways. The commendations were published in the obscene mardi gras program. They came not only from Mr Fahey but also from Mr Keating, Mr Carr, Dr Hewson and others. Members only saw the pages with the photos. Had they turned the pages of that magazine many would have been shocked.
The Premier should spell out the details of his family impact analysis. How will it be conducted? Who will do it? What questions will be asked? How will it be made public? We urge the Government to support the Call to Australia Family Impact Commission Bill which will put the family impact process on a solid foundation. We gave notice of our Family Impact Commission Bill some time ago. We have copies here for anyone who is interested. Our Call to Australia Family Impact Commission Bill states that all Government legislation and budgets should be tested and assessed by the following family impact analysis.
First, does this proposal reduce family per capita take-home pay after tax? If the answer is yes, it should be reconsidered. Second, does this policy reinforce the stability of the home and particularly the marital commitment that holds the home together? If the answer is yes, it should be retained. Third, does this bill strengthen or erode the authority of the home and specifically the rights of the parents in the education, nurture and supervision of their children? If it erodes, it should be reconsidered. Fourth, does this bill help the family perform its function? If it helps the family, it should be retained. Fifth, what message does this program send to the public concerning the status of the family? If negative, it should be reconsidered. Sixth, what message does it send to children and young people concerning their behaviour, their personal responsibility, and the norms of our society? If negative, it should be reconsidered. Seventh, can this Government activity be carried out by a lower level of government, for example local government or the family? Can it be performed by voluntary, private, and or church institutions rather than government departments? If the answer is yes, transfer the function. Eighth, family impact analysis must always keep a fair and just balance between the needs of families and the needs of others.
As the Government prepares its legislation it should implement these family principles as a guide: first, all welfare policies must stress the integrity and preservation of the family unit. The family should be the prime provider or channel of welfare. Family household tax or welfare supplements should recognise this, taking into account the number of people in the family, including members of the extended family. Second, all programs must respect family values and foster right behaviour. Third, the Government should not facilitate or endorse any sort of sexual behaviour except that of normal husband-wife relationships. Marriage should have preferential treatment relative to other types of relationships. Fourth, parents should be held responsible at law for their children regardless of divorce, remarriage, separation or casual conception. Fifth, housing assistance should be replaced by housing vouchers.
Sixth, programs should be expanded to help families purchase public housing. Seventh, mortgage interest on the family home should be tax deductible. Eighth, schools should consider that they are acting on behalf of the parents in the education process. This is why I feel strongly about the latest Federal program for primary school children. Ninth, curriculum materials should not undermine family values but should reinforce the principles and ideals most parents strive to impart to their children. Tenth, there should be progressive reduction in taxation for families with child dependants, and no tax "marriage penalty".
Call to Australia is pleased that pro-family statements by Mr Fahey have also been echoed by other political leaders, including Mr John Howard with his strong consistent support for split family taxation to assist single-income families. The present Federal taxation system discriminates against the single-income family, especially where the mother puts her child care duties first. We are disappointed that Dr Hewson with Mr Peacock and the Liberal wets oppose split taxation and do not want to be seen as supporting the traditional family. However, we are pleased that the Queensland Premier, Mr Wayne Goss, has had a Damascus Road conversion to the traditional family. Mr Goss wrote in the Daily Telegraph Mirror
of 16 February 1994:
This is the International Year of the Family, during which we can reflect on issues relating to the family and, more generally, Australia. A great deal has been said about the importance of the family and the need to promote policies that incorporate core family values. However, some basics do not change: the notion of family generally and, in particular, the traditional family, remain fundamentally important to our community and our future. So I would argue strongly that we not overlook the average, everyday family. Let us not forget there are a lot of them and they deserve a central place in the scheme of things. We should not as a society ever be defensive, patronising, or afraid to stand up for such families. The family unit remains basic to the structure of our society. There is no threat to the family, other than it being ignored. That is why the International Year of the Family should reaffirm a commitment to it.
On a more general theme, I would like to seek to ensure that we retain and preserve our Australian identity and not let it be mashed by a mixture of political correctness and imported American social values. This disease of political correctness, which has crossed the Pacific and is lapping our shores must be nipped in the bud. At best it is a trendy nonsense. At worst, it generates inequity at the expense of the majority of the people. Let us hope that Australians are starting to realise that political correctness is just another fad.
That was a quotation from remarks made by Mr Wayne Goss, an ALP Premier. He should be congratulated. And what are some of the more ridiculous examples of this so-called politically correct
fad in Australia - PC? Fear of reinforcing our traditional sex roles has led to this new PC jargon. Manhole is person hole or access hole; chairman is chairperson, or as somebody said the other day, "The Chair will do this" or, "The Chair will do that". Fisherman has now become fisherperson. Sodomites first became homosexual, and now gay is the in word. AIDS was originally GRID - Gay Related Immune Deficiency - until they forced the medical profession to change it from GRID to AIDS, and now AIDS to HIV to conceal it from being recognised as mainly a homosexual disease.
Radical groups can control all the mass media and force them to accept new media guidelines to promote anti-family propaganda. The mass media in Australia, especially the "Sydney Morning Homosexual", have adopted this four-step plan of power through intimidation as proposed by homosexual activists - Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill - that is his name - in their article The Overhauling of Straight America
. This is the way to do it. It is being done. And it is being carried out beautifully in Sydney. It has been done in San Francisco and now it is happening here. The four steps of the plan are as follows. First, desensitisation - "To desensitise the public is to help it view homosexuality with indifference instead of with keen emotion". Second, portray gays as victims - "In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to assume the role of protector". Third, give protectors a just cause - "Our campaign should not demand direct support for homosexual practices, but should instead take anti-discrimination as its theme". A bill doing exactly that was recently introduced by the Government and passed by the Parliament. Fourth, make victimisers look bad - "To be blunt . . . they must be vilified. The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes whose secondary traits disgust middle America. These images might include the Ku Klux Klan demanding that gays be burned alive or castrated . . ."
All this has been done in America. We will give members a copy of this if any would like it. The Sydney Morning Herald
gave a clear-cut example of this strategy in its editorial of 5 March 1994, which praised the gay mardi gras and compared it with the mardi gras in Rio and the one in New Orleans, neither of which is a blatant promotion of the homosexual and lesbian lifestyle. The Sydney Morning Herald
"Sydney's Mardi Gras, After All"
The same is true of the world's other great Mardi Gras in Rio and New Orleans. And like those festivals, the Mardi Gras is fast becoming as much the celebration of a city as anything else.
The Sydney gay mardi gras is not the same as the mardi gras in Rio or New Orleans. The Call to Australia group commends Mr Tim Fisher, the Federal Leader of the National Party, for his strong support of family life, the traditional family unit and his criticism of the so-called gay mardi gras. It is pleasing that 90 Federal members of Parliament and Senators and more than 25 New South Wales members of Parliament condemned the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for screening the mardi gras on Sunday night at 8.30 p.m. Some wanted it screened later, others did not want it screened at all. We had it copied. At the end it was said that a more provocative three-hour version will be available from the ABC. On screen it showed only what it thought should be shown.
The Call to Australia group commends the RSL, especially the RSL National President, Major General William "Digger" James, for support of the traditional family. Major General James said in the Daily Telegraph Mirror
on 14 February, "The year of the family is being hijacked by political folly, deceit and expediency". An article headed "RSL in blast at family erosion" stated:
Major General James, speaking at a ceremony to mark the 52nd anniversary of the fall of Singapore, said Australia's war heroes had died to uphold traditional family values. "The concept of the family for which they died was that of a man and woman married to each other - and their children", he said. "It does not include two males or two females living together, as now endorsed by government policy".
Major General James said after the ceremony that he had had great hope that some of the problems confronting the traditional Australian family would be addressed in the Year of the Family. But Federal Government funding appeared to be directed to marginal groups that could erode the traditional family unit even more. Instead of government policy encouraging parents to look after children at home, funding was going to child care. This was diminishing the recognition of parents who stayed home to raise their children. Street kids were receiving youth allowances rather than being reunited with their parents.
Major General James said that the Federal Government was being badly advised to sponsor the concept of a family, which was any group of people living together. "This concept is being promoted with all the sad and misguided fervour of the ideology which promoted political correctness", he said. "This is very different to the meaning of family. It is folly for which our nation may well pay dearly".
Like many other pro-family supporters, I strongly resent the regular pontificating articles written by Jim McClelland in the "Sydney Morning Homosexual". He upholds the current politically correct ideology. I am certain he will deeply resent my views and will continue his campaign against the traditional family and traditional Christian values, especially after his article on 5 March. Jim McClelland defends the Murphy easy divorce law - more correctly named the family destruction law. He claims the Call to Australia group's support for the traditional family is unreal and reactionary. The other day I was reading a book that shows how much the leadership in parties has changed. The article said:
When changes occurred in the Menzies Government days to bring in easy divorce, the Deputy Leader of the ALP Opposition, A. A. Caldwell, said, "I refuse to help to raise the palsied arm of this Government as it seeks to bestow a benediction on promiscuity. I refuse to join the Attorney-General in giving some sort of smelly, secular sanctification to barnyard mentality".
We certainly do not have leaders like him today. Jim McClelland stated:
An important factor in women choosing to seek paid employment is that they do not want to be enslaved to their house.
He conveniently overlooks the fact that two-thirds, 66 per cent, of women work only because they are forced to by economic necessity. Another feminist anti-family journalist in the "Sydney Morning Homosexual" is Adel Horin, who regularly promotes her politically intolerant views, as does Beatrice Faust. She acknowledges that the average young woman scorns feminist demonstrations, but states that feminism is not only in the streets, it is in the networks, for example, Women's Electoral Lobby, WEL - how true! Obviously, the battlegrounds of competing ideologies are our schools from playgroup, pre-school to university. Dame Leonie Kramer, Chancellor of Sydney University, rightly put her finger on the basic problem when, in the Sydney Morning Herald
of 2 March in an article entitled "Trainee teachers poor quality, Kramer warns", she stated:
"Selection has to do with things other than marks at the HSC", Dame Leonie said. "It has to do with general disposition and other qualities people bring to bear on their teaching".
She called for universities to consider selecting trainee teachers using an interview that tested for personal qualities as well as academic ability.
"What are their ethical views, for example? What are the ethics of teaching? Do they understand them? Do they think there are certain values you need to have if you are going to be a successful teacher?"
People left teaching because of the "gap between what they have been trained to do and what they actually have to do", she said, and called for a mentor system to help teachers through their early years.
"I think there's a problem about young people who are trained and may be inadequately selected, who are then pitched into a large high school which has very serious social problems.
"What have they learnt which enables them to deal with that, and if they go into a big high school, who looks after them? A busy principal who very often might not have time to deal with them".
One million children experience conflicting pressures in our schools. They have to deal with poorly trained teachers with confused ethical values. They have to cope with politically correct education courses such as the new AIDS course for primary schools, "Friends for Life", prepared and distributed by the Federal health department in late 1993. The kit, supposedly to stop the spread of AIDS, instead promotes promiscuity and undermines moral values. On page 53 it tells children of six to 11, "You need to avoid risks - use umbrella or gum boots when raining, hat or sun screen lotion when sunny, or a condom when having sex" Once again, we are confronted with the CCC - the politically correct Canberra condom conspiracy. The other PC area of activity is pornography and violence. Because the left-wing are experts in censorship, it is constantly raised as a red herring when the harmful effects of pornography are raised.
Honourable members need to remember the all-embracing 1984 style of censorship in left-wing communist and socialist regimes, forcing people to conform not only in their actions but their lifestyles and very thought processes. I challenge left wing supporters or defenders of pornography to prove there is no casual link between pornography and the increase in sexual offences, rape and violent offences. The onus is on them, not us, to prove the connection, especially as the evidence is overwhelming. Let me relate the recent attempted rape of a six-year-old girl reported in the Daily Telegraph Mirror
on 5 March:
A six-year-old girl who was the victim of a schoolboy who tried to rape her after watching computer porn in the classroom cannot bear even her mother to see her without clothes.
"Four months after the attack, she seemed ashamed of her own body", her mother said yesterday.
For her daughter it would be too late, but there now has to be a clampdown on computer filth, she said.
"These terrible things should be banned", she said.
"For all we know, they could have blighted my daughter for ever. The pathetic punishment handed to this boy, no, he is not a boy, he is a teenager, will soon be over. My daughter may carry this with her for the rest of her life".
The 13-year-old boy, who is known to his victim, struck on a November afternoon 400 yards from the girl's council home in Wrexham.
He told her what he was going to do, assaulted her, then ran off leaving her screaming in the bushes.
He admitted attempted rape and was given a two-year supervision order, with 90 days of specified activities.
In the wake of the murder in Britain of two-year-old James Bulger, of which two boys, both aged 10, were convicted, psychiatrists speak of the difficulty some children have in distinguishing between fantasy and reality. The number of boys under 16 who are convicted of sexual offences in the United Kingdom stands at 1,300 a year and those who work with disturbed teenagers are convinced that pornography is playing a part. When the 13-year-old appeared at Wrexham Youth Court earlier this week, it emerged that he had watched a computer disk taken to school by a friend. He had an unhealthy interest in pornographic pictures stored on disks and in magazines, the court heard. Local MP, Labour's Dr John Marek, is calling for an international approach to changing the law on pornographic computer disks. He said, "It is apparently legal to use British Telecom lines to transmit pornography on to computer disks".
The current plan to bring in anti-discrimination laws to protect persons who are HIV positive will have to be reviewed because of new scientific evidence from the United States of America. This evidence shows that it will be necessary to protect the community as a public health measure, especially
where HIV positive people and AIDS carriers want to work in sensitive areas, such as nursing, medicine, surgery and any other area involving skin contact. I refer to an article which was published in the Australian
on 12 February 1994. The article was headed "HIV May be Caught from Skin, Study Finds". It stated:
Evidence indicating the AIDS virus HIV may be transmitted by skin contact has appeared in the British medical publication, The Lancet.
A study by Californian researchers found patients suffering both HIV and herpes infection had massive HIV viral loads in skin cells infected with herpes.
Since herpes occurs in about a third of the population, the discovery has raised concern this may present a new route for HIV infection, especially from oral sex, kissing and possibly skin-to-skin contact.
Professor Madeleine Heng of the University of California, Los Angeles, said HIV normally used a molecule on the helper T-cells to invade the body's immune system but had difficulty invading other types of cell.
It appears that the herpes virus, HSV, somehow enabled the HIV to invade skin cells and produce large amounts of infected viral particles. The team warned that there was now an obvious risk of people infected with herpes and HIV transmitting HIV to partners during oral sex. They recommended increased use of anti-herpes drugs on AIDS patients, both to decrease the risk and improve their survival. Professor Peter McDonald of the Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia, said it had been known for some time that people with genital herpes were much more likely to suffer HIV and to spread it. It now appears that ordinary herpes, or cold sores, can also assist transmission.
This means that anyone with active herpes lesions, or cold sores, should be very careful about having contact with other people, as they can potentially transmit or receive HIV. Professor McDonald said that the obvious implication was that all those infected with HIV should be tested for herpes and treated to prevent active lesions. He said, "It will cause reassessment of the safety of oral sex, because the presence of herpes lesions in the mouth is likely to increase the risk of transmission". That is exactly what the kit I referred to earlier said with respect to oral sex. We know that kissing transfers herpes; that is how many people get cold sores. So if a person with HIV and herpes kisses another with a cold sore there might be a risk of transmission. Professor Gordon Ada of the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra said it was clear from the United States study that herpes would greatly ease the uptake of HIV into skin cells.
However, in spite of all these PC activists in the media and politics, the family is surviving and winning. God will not allow it to fail. The Australian family's report revealed a very positive picture. It said that nine out of 10 Australians, 88.2 per cent, live in families; almost 4.8 million household families had at least two family members living together in 1992; there were 1.8 million families with at least one child aged between 0 and 11 years; 92 per cent of Australians chose marriage; only 8 per cent chose de facto relationships. Finally, in spite of the gay mardi gras and media hype, only 1 per cent of the Australian population is homosexual - 99 per cent are heterosexual. Baroness Margaret Thatcher - I know that a lot of the ladies in this Chamber will love this - summed up the basic issues when Opposition leader in the United Kingdom - policies which enabled her to win three national elections. She said:
The decline of contemporary thought has been hastened by the misty phantom of socialism. Socialism has created the illusion of quenching people's thirst for justice. Socialism has lulled their conscience into thinking that the steamroller which is about to flatten them is a blessing in disguise.
We must become aware of the way in which in our daily lives our own thinking may have become affected, become tainted, without our ever realising it, by the ceaseless flood of socialist and pseudo-socialist propaganda to which we have all been exposed for so long.
. . . you have constantly to assert that people have a moral responsibility which they must accept. Moral in the widest sense of the term. Moral responsibility for their own actions. We must exorcise the idea that if you do something wrong it is not your fault but the fault of society around.
. . . the encouragement of variety and individual choice, the provision of fair incentives and rewards for skill and hard work, the maintenance of effective barriers against the excessive power of the State and a belief in the wide distribution of individual private property, . . . they are certainly what I am trying to defend.
Let our children grow tall - and some grow taller than others, if they have it let them do so. We must build a society in which each citizen can develop his full potential, both for his own benefit and for the community as a whole; in which originality, skill, energy and thrift are rewarded; in which we encourage, rather than restrict the variety and richness of human nature.
We have, to a more intense degree than many other countries, a combination of rising prices, falling output and unemployment. And we have a sense of losing our way. The problem is not a technical one. It is one of the life and death of the national spirit. We are in the midst of a struggle for human dignity.
It is not my job, nor the job of any politician, to offer people salvation. It is part of my political faith that people must save themselves. Many of our troubles are due to the fact that our people turn to politicians for everything.
I conclude by quoting psalm 11, verse 3:
For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
Today, as a result of different ideologies, the foundations of our country are being destroyed. What can the righteous do? The righteous who believe in God's values must rise up and tell the Fahey Government and the Opposition exactly what they think and how they feel about family values, family life, education and all the other important issues in this State.
Debate adjourned on motion by the Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann.