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Wednesday, 24 May 1939


Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) . - I also appeal to the Government to permit private members' business to be discussed in the usual way to-morrow. The opportunity afforded honorable members on private members' day to acquaint members of the Government of their convictions on certain matters should be preserved to them. But not only do honorable members wish to inform members of the Cabinet of their' opinions; Cabinet Ministers should be equally desirous of hearing what honorable members have to say. Private members' day is a parliamentary institution that should be treated with great respect. I am not deeply interested in any of the private members' business listed for consideration to-morrow, except that involved in the motion of the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), but that is so important as to require consideration by ail honorable members regardless of their party affiliations. It would be regrettable if, through an error of judgment, the Government forced a decision on the motion now before us, which might afterwards put it in a false light and lend colour to an accusation that it effectively prevented the House of Representatives from considering the vitally important subject of the amendment of the Repatriation Act.

Therefore, I say with nothing but the kindliest of feelings that the Government will be well advised to defer the motion until after to-morrow.

Mr.clark (Darling) [5.25]. - I join with, other honorable members in protesting against the Government's proposal to encroach upon the rights of private members to-morrow. As has been pointed out by other honorable members, to-morrow is the last day set aside for the discussion of private members' business before the budget session, and, if this motion is carried, will be the last opportunity for honorable members to bring forward matters of vital concern to the electors. The Ministry represents a minority party. The majority of the members of this House have no say in the policy adopted by the Government, and therefore their rights in the Parliament itself should not be filched from them in the manner contemplated. The right of the Parliament to govern should be maintained. On the notice-paper are private motions of great interest to honorable members. Not only those motions, but also other matters, can be discussed on private members' day. The Government should not so early in its life establish the precedent of taking away the rights of private members; on the contrary it should demonstrate its willingness to adhere to the established practice of the House by giving precedence to the business of private members on every third Thursday.

Mr.brennan (Batman) [5.28].- If all of the speeches which I have delivered in opposition to motions of this kind over the last 25 years were printed together I would stand convicted of wearisome reiteration, because I am conscious of the fact that in these circumstances one speech must appear very much like another. Actually I think that the reasons in support of my opposition are cumulative in character; they are stronger to-day because the abuse is graver to-day than ever it has been in the past. It is a little trying to one's patience in these days to hear the various champions of democracy declaring what must be done to preserve democracies from the evil influences, which, according to them are corrupting the totalitarian states. I have pointed out before, and I ask leave to point out again, that it is the practice of succeeding governments in this Commonwealth, to invade the democratic principle, arid, as far as possible, subvert the influence of

Parliament. The authority of the Executive remains unchallenged and unchallengeable. Its work goes on whether Parliament sits or does not sit. In fact, Parliament is an embarrassment to the Executive,' and I am rather inclined to think that it is especially embarrassing to the present Government. But that is no reason why Parliament should not sit. The reason for this motion is declared to be that it is desired that Parliament should rise on the 9th June. Why, we have scarcely met! We have scarcely got over the spirit of restlessness and excitement attached to the installation of this new Government before we have what I might describe as a temporary dissolution in sight on the 9th June.


Mr Gander - We hardly know the new Ministers.







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