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Thursday, 25 May 1939

Mr FORDE (Capricornia) .- I hope that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) will not press his motion, because, if it be agreed to, honorable members will be deprived of the opportunity to bring before Ministers urgent matters requiring attention. It is particularly necessary that honorable members should be given that opportunity since Parliament is soon to go into recess for two months, and possibly longer. I take this stand because I know that some members of my own party desire to bring forward urgent matters of public importance. Doubtless, some supporters of the Government are in the same position, and I should be amazed if some members of the Country party do not raise questions of vital importance to the primary producers of Australia. Yesterday, I gave reasons why, in my opinion, it would be unwise to deprive honorable members of the opportunity to discuss three motions on the notice-paper. I realize that I cannot discuss those subjects now, but I stress the wisdom of providing opportunities to acquaint Ministers with matters that have been brought under the notice of honorable members by the electorates. I ask the Prime Minister not to adopt this autocratic attitude so early in his career, but to give opportunities for the fullest discussion of matters of vital importance to the people of Australia. The motion of the right honorable gentleman savours of that inner group dictatorship which we heard condemned by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) last year. I hope that the present Government will not attempt to adopt dictatorial methods, notwithstanding the evidence of a desire on the part of the Prime Minister to have in his own hands the supreme control of the business of Parliament. He should remember that his Government and party do not represent a majority in this Parliament. I protest against this motion, and I hope that other honorable members also will voice their abjection.

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