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Wednesday, 15 May 1957

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - I object to the bill for the reasons stated already by my colleagues. I am certain that there is nothing dishonest about the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) - in fact, he might be a little bit too honest. It is possible that if a man is too honest he is liable to be blind to the dishonesty of those who surround him. It seems to me that this honorable gentleman on the opposite side of the table has been so blinded, because if one examines the constitution of the Legislative Council in New Guinea, one finds that, of the 29 members, only three are elected. In addition to the seventeen who are nominated directly by the Government, three are described, in paragraph (f) of section 36 of the principal act as " three other non-official members ". The Minister cannot deny that there is nothing to prevent a government from appointing a representative of Bulolo Gold Dredging Limited as one of those three; a second one could be a representative of Carpenter's Shipping and Trading Company, and the third could be a representative of Burns Philp and Company Limited.

Mr Hasluck - And they could all be honorable.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is so, and they could all be dishonorable also. The Minister would not know because, being so honorable himself he would be blind to the dishonorable actions of those who surround him. That is the trouble. The Minister is so naive in regard to the activities of these snide business people, that they could put it all over him and he would not know it was happening.

Mr Haworth - Would the honorable member set a snide to catch a snide?

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Surely the honorable member is not suggesting that the Minister is snide. He is so naive that he would not know when he was surrounded by crooks. The seventeen members appointed by the Government to the Legislative Council could be a team of crooks who would uphold the decisions of their colleagues on the Council by acting under this new proposal to decide whether or not these other crooks were suitable people to hold positions on it. Is it likely that if such a situation should arise they would be silly enough to let a supreme court judge have any say in the matter? Under this proposal they have the say. They are the ones who determine whether a Supreme Court judge has any say in the matter. It is obvious, therefore, that if ever we have the kind of corruption in New Guinea that we have had in some departments, and the kind that other governments have had-

Mr Hasluck - And which occurred in New Guinea under the previous government!

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I do not know about that, but if it has happened before, that presents a stronger case than ever for seeing that it does not happen again in New Guinea. I am sure the Minister did not think this idea out himself. Or did he? He obviously did not. He just gives a silly smile, which clearly indicates that he did not think it out himself. The draftsmen would not do it because they are fairly capable men. Left to their own resources, they would not do a silly thing like this. I have no doubt that this clause has been drafted by the draftsmen on instructions from the Minister, who himself is acting on instructions from somebody else. Who instructed the Minister to instruct the draftsmen to draw up such a silly clause as this?

Mr Hasluck - You are indulging in fairy tales.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The Minister has not yet given any reasonable or acceptable answer to the House to satisfy the Opposition that there is any justification whatever for allowing the Legislative Council or the advisory body to determine whether or not there is something shady going on within the council. The Minister says that this Parliament has power to deter mine such questions. That is not so. When in South Australia, Senator Vardon was declared elected and eventually his- place was taken over by Senator O'Loghlin, the Senate had no power to declare whether Senator Vardon or Senator O'Loghlin should represent South Australia. It had to be determined by the High Court, and as it turned out Mr. Justice Barton decided in a way that was contrary to the action which the Parliament itself had taken.

All I ask the Minister to do on this occasion is to sink his pride for once and adopt the policy of trying to be right rather than consistent. I know that it would take a great deal of courage for him to get up and publicly admit that he does not know anything about the clause the House is debating. It would take a great deal of courage for him to admit that he is the mere plaything of some interested party up in New Guinea, or the tool of the parliamentary draftsmen. It is obvious that if the Minister is not one he is the other. The Parliament would think more of the Minister-

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