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Tuesday, 8 November 1938

Mr SCULLIN (Yarra) - I second the motion. I do so because I think that there is a little sportsmanship in this Parliament. The Standing Orders lay down that a statement may be made only by leave. They also provide that leave can be refused, if there is one dissentient voice. 1 desire the opinion of this Parliament to be tested to determine whether one voice speaks for all honorable members of this House. The " Opposition has been extremely fair in allowing the Prime Minister to make a statement by leave.

Mr Brennan - He made two.

Mr SCULLIN - Yes, and the exMinister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) also made two. The Opposition has rights, because this is not a domestic matter. It affects, not only the Government, but also the policy of the country. I appeal to the fairminded honorable members of this House to carry the motion in order to give the Opposition a chance to be heard through one voice as against the four statements already made on the Government side.

Mr. LYONS("Wilmot- Prime Minister) - I am sorry to say that I am amazed at the view expressed by the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin). When he occupied the position that I do now he always insisted-

Mr Scullin - I never did what the Prime Minister lias done.

Mr LYONS - If the right honorable member will look back through the records he will find that when he was Prime Minister he insisted that the allocation of portfolios within his Cabinet was a matter entirely for himself. It was after my statement regarding membership of the Cabinet that the Acting Leader of the Opposition asked leave to make a statement. The right honorable gentleman is not consistent, and he would not himself have granted the request that he is supporting now.

Mr Scullin - I never refused leave to any one to make a statement.

Mr LYONS - Those opposed to the right honorable gentleman when he was Prime Minister never challenged his right to deal as he thought fit with the members of his Cabinet. This is a matter for Cabinet itself, and Cabinet is going to take responsibility for it.

Mr. BEASLEY(West Sydney).I cannot understand the reason for the panic that seems to have set in regarding this matter. Why can it not be handled in a calm and dispassionate way? After all, to-day's proceedings were without precedent in the history of this Parliament, and I think that the Acting Leader of the Opposition is entitled to say a word on the re-allocation of portfolios, the duties that have been entrusted to the various members, and also upon the other changes proposed. The changes are the result of controversy as to whether the Government is faithfully discharging its duties regarding defence. Surely no Government supporters will claim that these matters are the concern of only one side of the House. They concern all sides, and particularly members) of the Opposition parties and the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) is anxious to express his opinion regarding them. I remind the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) that his statement was not confined to the allocation of portfolios. He announced the new Ministry and the duties of the various members, and immediately after that the ex-Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) made a. statement on a very important matter of public policy. He has tendered his resignation on the ground that he believes that, by the system that the Government proposes to introduce

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honorable member cannot debate that matter upon the motion now before the Chair.

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