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Wednesday, 23 November 1938


Mr HOLLOWAY (Melbourne Ports) . - I join in the protest voiced by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) and supported by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde), first, because of the policy of the Government during the last year or so of continually chopping and changing about the business-sheet from one day to another. The business-sheet is printed, and honorable members expect that it will be adhered to, and that an opportunity will be given to them to discuss the items appearing on it, only to find that it is being constantly altered to meet tho whims of the Government. This practice prevents honorable members from, getting down seriously to their work. It is a state of affairs that has been brought about largely by the intimidation tactics adopted by one party opposite which, for the moment, holds the balance of power. Unless the Opposition makes some protest against a continuance of this kind of thing, it will be trodden underfoot. When members of the Labour party yesterday sought to discuss the very important problem of unemployment, they were accused of wasting the time of the House. As every honorable member knows, the time limit for the discussion of an adjournment motion is fixed by the Standing Orders, and the debate must conclude within two hours after its commencement. Therefore, an adjournment motion results in comparatively small interference with the business of the House. The reasons prompting the Deputy Leader of the Opposition yesterday in bringing forward his adjournment motion are the same reasons that now actuate the Government, that is, the question of urgency. I feel, I am sure, that no honorable member on this side of the House desires to delay the passage of a measure that will help the wheat industry, and this protest would not have been made against the introduction of a bill to that end if the Government had not taken up a miserable and narrow attitude in respect of the adjournment motion yesterday. The real reason why the Opposition wanted to discuss that matter yesterday was-


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member is not in order in dealing with that matter.


Mr HOLLOWAY - I say that our reason for opposing the motion " That progress be reported " was-


Mr SPEAKER - Nor is the honorable member in order in dealing with that question. It has already been decided in committee.


Mr HOLLOWAY - The Deputy Leader of the Opposition brought forward his motion . for the adjournment of the House yesterday because he felt that, as the sittings of the House are so shortly to conclude, no other opportunity would be available to him. I remember that the Opposition was subjected to a good deal of criticism last year because it asked the Government in the dying hours of the sittings on the eve of Christmas to provide work for the unemployed. By the time the matter was disposed of, there was no time for the unemployed to get even a fortnight's work before the festive season "started.

A second reason why I join in' this protest is because, in my opinion, it is foolish and ridiculous to ask honorable members to hurry this legislation through. The necessity for haste in this matter is an indictment of the Government itself which should not continue to occupy the treasury bench. The Minister for Commerce said that this legislation must be rushed through because the State governments, the millers, growers, bankers and everybody associated with the wheat industry, in fact, everybody who gets a rake-off and farms the real wheat-farmer, are so vitally concerned in it, and the wheat-growers will not be able to get the assistance they require. Surely, if that is the real position, all this talk that has "taken place in the last three or four years about the Government re-establishing confidence in public opinion is so much nonsense. I cannot accept that as a real reason for the urgency of this bill. The Minister for Commerce frequently gives us lectures about the necessity for the adoption of scientific methods in Government affairs. He has also suggested that the Cabinet should consider itself as a kind of board of directors, and make long-range plans to give effect to Government policy. Yet the honorable gentleman is now seeking to interfere in the most casual way with the orderly progress of business. I strongly protest against his action.







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