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Thursday, 18 July 1946

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) . - Whenever the Government gets into a spot of bother, -the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) comes to its assistance. As a debater in committee, he is the best that I have ever heard.

Mr Rosevear - That cock will not fight.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! I ask the honorable member to discuss the clause or the amendment.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - The honorable member for Dalley may be out of practice, but I compliment him on his ability to decend from Mr. Speaker's chair to the back benches and to suddenly, accommodate himself to the new conditions. Probably he is getting a little practice for the forthcoming election campaign.

The CHAIRMAN - I ask the honorable member to discuss the clause or the amendment, and not deal with the honorable member for Dalley.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - The honorable member for Dalley dealt with the Opposition.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! The Chair is telling the honorable member what to do.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - I ask you, Mr. Chairman, to inform me whether members of the Labour party have a perfect right to make any statement that they like about the Opposition:

The CHAIRMAN - Order !

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - I am attempting to obtain a ruling from the' Chair. Am I entitled to ask for a ruling ?

The CHAIRMAN - I ask the honorable member to discuss the clause or th<2 amendment.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - Am 1 not entitled to get a ruling from tha Chair?

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member is entitled to ask for a ruling.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - I should like to know whether the Chair rules that supporters of the Government have a perfect right to criticize the Opposition as a body and individually, but the mem' bers of the Opposition have no right to reply to those criticisms.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! The honorable member is completely wrong. I ask him to discuss the clause or the, amendment.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - Now w,. understand the position. It is a strange thing that the honorable member for Dalley should refer to the National Security Regulations of 1939. Anticipating, that they would bc quoted, I brough a copy of them into the chamber. When listening to the honorable member for Dalley, one might be excused for believing that there was a fault in the regulations which the Opposition should have discovered. The volume containing the regulations states that they were still in force on the 1st August, 1944. If the regulations were at fault, as one would understand from comments made during this discussion, surely to heaven the Government had plenty of time to correct it '

Mr Rosevear - j did not say that anything was wrong with the regulations. It is the Opposition that is finding fault.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - I am referring to the amendment which the. Minister has moved. All the strawsplitting and silken thread splitting which that most capable of debaters, the honorable member for Dalley is capable of, cannot alter the salient initial 'statement that he made, namely, that the clause is almost the same as that contained in the regulations. Unfortunately for the honorable member, the clause is not exactly the same as the regulations. I invite the honorable member to compare paragraph a of sub-clause 1 of clause 1.0 with the corresponding paragraph in the regulations, and he will find that there is a salient omission. He will also discover other important omissions that are vital to this discussion. The. honorable gentleman. will also. understand, unless he has ceased to understand, that the National Security Regulations of 1939 were promulgated for war purposes and for nothing else. But this bill will deal with a situation in peace-time. Under those regulations, the Government took control, not only of primary produce including wheat, but also of houses, factories, transport and labour. Would the honorable member for Dalley contend that because the Labour Government conscripted labour in war-time, it should continue to do so in peace-time? Already, the Labour Government and the Labour party have decided that conscription for military service shall .not operate in peace-time. It operated in war-time, and one of the most "delicious" debates that I have over participated in was on that very- subject. The honorable member said that be would agree to grower-control but not to grower-dictation.

Mr Rosevear - Hear, hear!

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - Would the honorable member agree to dictatorship by the. unions, or must the unions be placed in a different category from primary producers?

Mr Rosevear - There is no dictation in the Arbitration Court.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - There is in the unions. As the honorable member for Indi pointed out, this bill is designed to control the sale of wheat in peace-time. I do not know what the sequelto it was, but I remember a controversy which was started by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) regarding the alleged sale of wheat at 4s.11d. a bushel for the manufacture of dog biscuits.

Mr Abbott - That was ordered by the Minister.

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