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Friday, 28 June 1946

Mr McEWEN (Indi) .- I am concerned with the consequences of this proposal insofar as they will affect the functioning, of this free, democratic, assembly. Any proposal which may limit the rights or opportunities of the elected representatives of the people requires the most careful consideration. Some of the greatest issues in British parliamentary history, concerned not matters pf policy but the rights of the Parliament itself. The Government must not attempt to force, through the chamber hurriedly an innovation, such as this bill proposes,, unquestionably, it will limit in a not unimportant way the opportunities of the representatives of the people here.

Mr Calwell - The Senate has already considered the bill.

Mr McEWEN - What is the significance of the Minister's interjection ?

Mr Calwell - All the matters which honorable members are now raising were thoroughly considered in the Senate.

Mr McEWEN - On the very point which I am discussing, the Minister for Information (Mr.Cal well) reveals his mind. He would impair the rights and opportunities of this House, of which he should be one of the guardians, merely because the Senate has already agreed to the bill. That fact should not influence us.

Mr Pollard - The Senate should be abolished.

Mr McEWEN - The abolition of the Senate is a plank of the platform of the Labour party, but the party has always lacked the courage to implement that policy. There is not the slightest doubt that many of the fascists opposite personally believe that the Parliament of the Commonwealth should be abolished. There are no greater authoritarians than the really dyed-in-the-wool socialists.

Mr Calwell - Colonel Campbell was a member of the honorable gentleman's party.

Mr McEWEN - Thank God, the Minister for Immigration is not.

Mr Calwell - I would not be found dead in it.

Mr McEWEN - I could guarantee that.

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