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Tuesday, 3 May 1932

Mr MARTENS (Herbert) .- With all due respect to the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane), one simple question is at issue: Either the Government submitted its amendments to the Associated Press, or vice versa.

Mr Lane - That is not so.

Mr MARTENS - I say that it is so. With the exception of one word in the amendment to clause 18, the two sets are identical. I believe that the Associated Press and the B class stations are responsible for what has taken place. The letter from which I and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) quoted tonight was written on the 31st March last ; but we are told in it that prior to that date a letter similar in its terms went forward to the Minister. Its date is not stated, but it was certainly despatched before that which honorable members have received. The fact remains that one set of amendments is the exact replica of the other ; that is to say, the amendments that have now been accepted by this Minister who, formerly because of his opposi tion to them, threatened to resign from the Cabinet, and took a week-end to make up his mind whether he would continue in or vacate office, have been suggested by somebody outside of this Parliament. The honorable gentleman now asks us to agree to them without furnishing any information in support of their acceptance. With all due deference to * any other opinion that may be held, the statement of the position by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) is the correct one. The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane) says that we are wrong in that assumption, but does not show wherein we err. The honorable member for Hindmarsh knew these people who came to Canberra, so he had no need to ask who they were; and he is not in the habit of making statements that are not truthful or that cannot be verified.

Mr Makin - The Minister did not deny my assertions.

Mr Lane - There was no need to deny them, because they did not prove anything.

Mr MARTENS - The honorable member did not prove anything. All that he did was to utter a lot of abusive rubbish about honorable members on this side going from one burrow to another. Doubtless he is a good judge of that sort of thing. I challenge the Minister to state exactly why he has adopted his present attitude. I know on what grounds he justified the introduction of the bill, but I cannot understand why he asked the committee to accept this amendment without 'saying one word, good, bad, or indifferent, in regard to it. All that he does is to remain silent while other honorable members say that certain things happened, on certain days.

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