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Wednesday, 7 December 1960

Mr UREN (Reid) .- I support the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), the charitable father of this House, said that if we conformed to the Government's wishes we could have a discussion on foreign affairs. Throughout this session he has tried to make us conform. That is the trouble with this Government; it wants the Opposition to conform to all its ways. On the important subject of international affairs, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made a statement but only the Leader of the Opposition has been permitted to speak to reply. The Government will not open the subject to a full discussion by all honorable members at this vital time in international events. The Treasurer says that we want to finish the session by tomorrow. Members of the Opposition are prepared, if necessary, to go on until Christmas and even into the New Year because we do not want to shirk our responsibilities even if honorable members opposite want to go on a holiday.

There are other issues that we have to face up to. The following vital motion appears in the name of the Leader of the Opposition: -

That this House is of opinion that the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review which was established in 1956 and reported to both Houses in 1958 and 1959, should be submitted to the people for their approval.

We know that dire economic conditions exist in this country-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member must not depart from the subjectmatter before the Chair.

Mr UREN - The matter I am speaking of appears on the notice-paper in the name of the Leader of the Opposition. Economic conditions in this country-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! Economic conditions do not come into this debate.

Mr UREN - I say, with due respect, Sir, that this matter appears on the noticepaper in the name of the Leader of the Opposition. His motion appears under the heading of " General Business ", and I think this is one matter which should come forward. Unless we can discuss it we cannot control the dire economic conditions that face us to-day.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member cannot debate that subject; he may make passing reference to it.

Mr UREN - I think I have made my point. The Treasurer knows that unless we face up to these conditions we will not be able to solve the present difficult situation.

We, on this side of the House, are prepared to stay here until Christmas and New Year to debate these matters. We have given a warning. We want to discuss international affairs, because we know that there are difficult circumstances throughout the world; and we want to discuss economic conditions in this country and deal with them in a positive way. But this Government is not prepared to face up to realities. I support the Leader of the Opposition. Government business should not take precedence over general business on Grievance Day. All honorable members on this side of the House want to fight on and do the right thing. Once again this Government is trying to make the Opposition conform to its wishes. In the early hours of this morning we passed vital bills which should have been discussed more fully.

Let us discuss these matters in the normal, sensible way. Let us discuss them at a respectable time, when members can express their views clearly. We should not be discussing them in the early hours of the morning, simply for the reason that some honorable members want to get away on holidays. This Government should face the issues squarely, and arrange for debates to take place at decent hours. We should not have to continue sitting after midnight on any occasion. This Parliament sat well into the early hours of this morning. In fact, dawn was breaking when honorable members were going home.

Mr Harold Holt - Where were you?

Mr UREN - I was in my place, where I should have been. This charitable father of the House says that if we conform we can have a discussion on international affairs. Well, we challenge the Treasurer. We are prepared to stay here until Christmas, and we do not intend to conform, because we are the representatives of the people and we are going to express our views on their behalf.

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