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Tuesday, 17 November 1959


Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) (Treasurer) - I think that the honorable member for Moreton knows that I am not a harsh man by temperament; nor could the House draw any such conclusion from the manner in which its business has proceeded over the last few years. I hope, Sir, that with the cooperation of honorable members on both sides of the House we shall be able to deal with the remaining legislative programme and the business of the House in an orderly fashion. I think that we all recognize that in a House of more than 120 members it is not practicable for every member to speak on every bill. What is important is that representative viewpoints be expressed and that individual members of the Parliament have some consideration for the rights of other members by addressing themselves as concisely as possible to the matters before us.


Mr Ward - If we cannot get free speech here where can we get it?


Mr HAROLD HOLT - The honorable gentleman is the worst offender in this place against the rights of free speech. If there were 120 members like the honorable member for East Sydney, this Parliament would be unworkable. In fact, there would have been a revolution long ago against the processes of democracy. I can assure the honorable member for Moreton that it is not the intention of the Government to carry on a kind of process of legislation by attrition. There are some major bills, in point of size, awaiting our consideration. However, I am sure that it is the wish of both sides of the House that the benefits - which were announced in the Budget speech in broad terms - to be derived from those bills by members of the Defence Services and the Public Service, and by other employees engaged by the Commonwealth, should come into effect as early as possible. Those measures could be given a somewhat more leisurely consideration in the autumn session, but, for the reason I have given, the Government is hoping that they will be passed in the course of this sessional period. I assure the honorable gentleman again that every consideration will be given to the state of health and mind of members of the Parliament, as well as of those who assist us by carrying out their duties around the House.







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