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Thursday, 18 October 1956


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - I feel that the remarks of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr.

Ward) have been misinterpreted by both the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) and the Minister for Supply (Mr. Beale). The honorable member -for East Sydney did not attack Western Australian members for going forwards and backwards to and from their homes at week-ends.


Mr Leslie - That is what he meant. T asked him.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No, he did not. He meant nothing of the kind. He merely said that in dealing with the question of costs it might be well to bear in mind the fact that there are some members whose costs in going forwards and backwards to and from their homes at week-ends runs into approximately £90 a week in individual cases. He did not say that that money should not be spent.


Mr Leslie - He mentioned me.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It is not surprising that he should have done so because the honorable member was interjecting continually during his speech.


Mr Leslie - 1 did not interject on thai matter at all.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Well, it sounded like your voice from where I was sitting, and the honorable member for East Sydney did exactly what the honorable member for Moore would do in similar circumstances - he turned round and said that the honorable member for Moore's transport cost £90 a week. And so it does, and nobody criticizes him for that. Nobody criticizes the Government for providing transport for members whose homes are a long way away from Canberra. Neither did the honorable member attack the Government in respect of the use of cars by Ministers.


Mr Beale - Then what was he doing sneering about Ministers?


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - He was not sneering. He was trying to direct attention to the inconsistency of the Minister in refusing to give Senator Amour the right to use a car while the Senate is sitting, and he said, incidentally, that the cost of providing ministerial cars is a big item. But he did not suggest - and 1 am sure that no one would have supported him had he done so - that the cars used by Ministers should be taken from them. When we were in office we had ministerial cars, and 1 would be the last to say, and so would the honorable member for East Sydney be the last to say, that Ministers should not have the use of government cars. Ministers are busy men and must have transport readily available to them so that they will not have to hang around wasting time waiting for other transport. The whole of the honorable member for East Sydney's remarks on these matters has been misinterpreted by the honorable member for Moore and the Minister. All that the honorable member for East Sydney has asked - and it is a plea, and I hope that the Minister's attitude towards Senator Amour will not be hardened by what was clearly a misunderstanding of the remarks of the honorable member - is for some consideration for Senator Amour. It is pitiful to see this man walking about this building. Is it generally realized that Senator Amour is suffering excruciating pain every minute of the day and night and that he is unable to sleep unless he drugs himself? The pain that this unfortunate man is suffering from is really cruel. Anybody who knows the facts of osteomyelitis knows that it is no exaggeration to say that the pain of the sufferer from a bad case of that disease is the most excruciating and cruel pain that could be inflicted on a human being. Senator Amour carries an air cushion with him wherever he goes in order to get some relief whenever he takes his seat, either in the Senate chamber or elsewhere. I do not think the Minister is a hard man.


Mr Edmonds - He is a hard man.


Mr Ian Allan - Why does the senator not resign?


Mr Edmonds - What did you say?


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I must ask honorable members to refrain from interrupting by carrying on a crossfire of interjections.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - 1 must say, speaking from my own experience, that I have never found the Minister to be a hard Minister in respect of the provision of transport, if a good case is put to him. 1 suggest that if the Minister will disregard the bitterness that has crept into this matter because of a misinterpretation by the honorable member for Moore of the remarks of the honorable member for East Sydney, and will look at the case on its merits, and try to remember that this unfortunate man is a war veteran who is suffering excruciating pain-


Mr Beale - I know he is a war veteran, but it would not matter.


Mr Ian Allan - Why does he not resign from the Senate?


Mr Edmonds - You are a mongrel.


Mr Ian Allan - I rise to order, Mr. Speaker, in respect of the interjection from the honorable member for Herbert.


Mr SPEAKER - I did not hear the interjection.


Mr Edmonds - I called the honorable member for Gwydir a mongrel.


Mr SPEAKER - I must ask the honorable member to withdraw that remark.


Mr Edmonds - I withdraw it.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - A precedent has been established. The late Mr. So) Rosevear, who was also a sufferer from this disease, had a car provided for him, and I say that it is to the credit of the various Ministers-


Mr Beale - But he was Speaker of this House.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I know he was Speaker.


Mr Beale - As Speaker, he was in the same position in respect to the provision of transport as a Cabinet Minister.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I know that, but after he was no longer Speaker, he still had a car provided for him because of his physical condition. None of us would like to exchange places with poor Senator Amour. None of us would want to be sitting in a government car if we were compelled to accept the circumstances that Senator Amour has to accept, in order to get the use of such a car. I ask the Minister to reconsider this matter and see whether he cannot agree at least to give this unfortunate senator that right. The Minister quoted £50 or £60 as the estimated cost of providing this facility.


Mr Beale - Between £50 and £60.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That seems to me a little high, because taxi fares are about ls. 3d. a mile. That would work out at about £25. The Minister may find, as is often the case in some capital cities, that it is cheaper to hire a taxi, but I do ask him to reconsider the matter in the light of the representations that both the honorable member for East Sydney and I have made.

I do not, of course, want the cars taken away from the ministerial typists because very often they have to get to their offices quickly, and ought not to have to waste hours in waiting for ordinary public transport. Very often when they arrive at an airport they are not going home. Though it may be late at night, they may still have to do some ministerial work.


Mr Beale - A typist has to take files into the office, lock them up and do all sorts of other things.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Rather than suggest that the cars be taken from the ministerial staffs, I ask that the privilege be extended to private members. The Minister should bear in mind that we are busy people, too.


Mr Beale - We have provided cars after certain hours.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I appreciate that at one time we did not have them at all, and that at least we do now get them before eight o'clock in the morning and after eight o'clock at night, but often private members arriving at airports during the day have to get to their offices in the city quickly so that they may get as much work done as possible. However, I do not wish to put that suggestion in such a way as to prejudice the main claim on behalf of Senator Amour. I do hope that the Minister will forget the acrimony that has crept into this matter, will look at the case again, and will give this unfortunate senator, who is suffering terrible pain, some assistance during the few years that might be left to him.







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