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Thursday, 27 June 1946

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member for Warringah has received the call from the Chair, and should be heard in silence. The Minister for Transport has spoken to the clause and the honorable member is entitled to reply without interruption.

Mr SPENDER - It seems to me to be a very important . matter that the public should know upon what the Minister for Transport relies when he says there was a "Brisbane line". I foreshadow ai; amendment which will give the committee an opportunity to ascertain exactly where the honorable gentleman stands. Later I propose to move that clause 3 be postponed as an instruction to the Government to lay on the table of the House all official documents and decisions of the Government upon which the Minister for Transport relies as establishing the existence of a "Brisbane line ".

Mr Ward - Let us have a thorough investigation.

Mr SPENDER - We shall have the documents first; as far as I am concerned the fullest investigation may follow.

Mr Ward - The honorable member is running away.

Mr SPENDER - I have never run away from the Minister, whom I regard as one of the most contemptible persons ever to have held ministerial rank in the Commonwealth Parliament. It is high time that the facts in this case were known. An allegation must be based upon fact.

Mr Ward - Tell us about the release of your brother-in-law who was interned.

Mr SPENDER - It is contemptible for the Minister to make allegations of that sort which he knows to be false. The Minister has said that he wants an inquiry in order to ascertain the facts. Let us have the facts. For the last four years the Minister has been making speech after speech about " the Brisbane line ", until every one of us knows every cliche he is about to utter. There must be documents upon which his statements are based and they must be official documents - they cannot be anything else. Let us have them and let the people know what they contain so that they may know what reliance can be placed on the word of the Minister for Transport.

The CHAIRMAN - A motion has already been made for the postponement of this clause. I therefore suggest that the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) should take the action he proposes on a subsequent clause.

Mr SPENDER - I shall move the postponement of the next clause.

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