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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr FORBES (Barker) .- Mr. Temporary Chairman-

Mr Uren - This will be brilliant.

Mr FORBES - I thank the honorable member for the publicity. I want to say that despite what the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) said about the attitude of the Opposition in this case being dictated by the excitement and the normal cut and thrust of parliamentary debate he, having said that, did not act accordingly. His was a considered statement. Whatever the Opposition says; whatever hyprocrisy it introduces into the debate; whatever it claims to be its attitude to this matter, it knows, as every honorable member in this chamber knows, that its attitude is determined by the desire to make political capital out of this measure. Every honorable member knows that every word that has been uttered by Opposition members in this hypocritical vein has been uttered-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! I ask the honorable member not to use the word " hypocrisy ".

Mr FORBES - Very well, Mr. Temporary Chairman. Every argument that has been used in this way has the effect of reflecting on the judiciary of this country. I can imagine how the minds of Opposition members work. They say, " The judges are few in number; they are the tall poppies in the higher income bracket; they are fair game."


Order! The honorable member should speak to the clause.

Mr FORBES - I have said enough to indicate my view of the Opposition's attitude to this measure. I refer particularly to the attitude of the honorable mmeber for Macquarie when he raised the retrospectivity content in the bill in relation to pensions and other matters. I am sure that he, and every member of the Opposition, knows that that is absolute nonsense and poppycock and that it is a deliberate attempt to drag down the judiciary of this country. They say, "The judges are the tall poppies; they are fair game ".

Mr Whitlam - Mr. Temporary Chairman, I require the honorable member for Barker to withdraw the concluding sentences of his speech. He said that members of the Opposition knew that when they said certain things they were reflecting on the judiciary. He also stated that that was our deliberate intent. I refrained from objecting when he stated that what we said had the effect of reflecting on the judiciary because he was not thereby implying any motive to us, but when he said that we knew that what we were saying had that effect, and that we said those things with deliberate intent, he became offensive to us. We require those remarks to be withdrawn.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Do you believe that he imputed an improper motive?

Mr Whitlam - Yes. Nothing that we said is a reflection on the judges. We have before us a bill for an act to do certain things. This is the Commonwealth Parliament, and we are entitled to criticize this measure, but in doing so we are not criticizing the judges, who have not sought this amendment.


Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition considers that the remarks of the honorable member for Barker impute improper motives to him, and I ask the honorable member to withdraw them.

Mr FORBES - Very well, I withdraw those remarks and substitute in their place this statement: The effect of the attitude that has been adopted by the Opposition in this debate is to denigrate and lower the status of the judiciary of this country. Because I believe the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to be an intelligent man - I would not say that about some of his colleagues - I was tempted to strike the attitude that I took. However, I withdraw the imputation of improper motive and change my view that intelligence was reflected in the attitude of the honorable members concerned. I have nothing further to say.

Mr Chaney - Mr. Temporary Chairman, I desire to make a personal explanation.


Order! Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Chaney - Yes. The honorable member for Macquarie said that I had stated that we would not get the kind of judges we wanted unless we paid them high salaries. I said no such thing. I said that it is about time that this Parliament, which has the necessary power, legislated to give them the salaries to which they are entitled. That is something totally different.

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